Asian cooks use many interesting flours and starches to impart just the right texture to foods. This the latest one that I tried. The white granules are made from fresh water chestnuts that are ground and then dried. Sold in 8- ounce paper boxes at Chinese markets, the starch is usually labeled "Water Chestnut Flour." The starch is not soft and fine like other starches, but instead is rather chalky feeling and tasting. Pound the little bits in a mortar and pestle before mixing it with other ingredients, or it may not blend in well.
What can you do with water chestnut flour? It thickens just like other starches, such as cornstarch and tapioca starch. However, it imparts a crisper coating for deep frying. I read about this starch in a Susanna Foo cookbook and had to give it a try. I was aiming to create a very crispy deep-fried duck. It does work so next time you're at a Chinese market, head for the flour and starch aisle and look for water chestnut starch.
If you're familiar with this starch -- how do you use it?