Spotlight Spice: Arrowroot Powder
Arrowroot Powder is a white, tasteless powder which comes from the root of the tropical arrowroot plant. It’s commonly used as a thickener for sauces, stews, gravies, and jellies. But why? Well, unlike cornstarch, arrowroot powder does not have a taste and will leave your sauces, stews, and jellies clear and glossy – not cloudy. It’s also tough enough to stand up to acidic ingredients – like citrus – and can tolerate freezing, both cases where cornstarch fails.
When using as a thickener, you’ll want to use about a teaspoon of arrowroot powder for every tablespoon you would have used of cornstarch or flour. Make a slurry by combining the arrowroot powder with cool liquid, then add the mixture to your sauce, soup, or gravy…otherwise you’ll have a clumpy mess. Yuck!
Prolonged exposure to high heat will cause arrowroot powder to lose its thickening oomph – so it’s best to add toward the end of cooking. Also, we don’t recommend using it with dairy-based soups and sauces, as the combination creates an awkward, slimy texture.
Beyond thickening, arrowroot powder is popular in baking – especially for those observing a gluten or grain-free diet. It helps to lighten up the texture when using alternative flowers (like almond flour). In roasting and frying, the addition of arrowroot powder will add a nice crunch to your finished recipe. Try it with fries, tofu, or fried chicken.
If you’ve not used it before, pick up a jar and give it a try. It’s a versatile ingredient with a long shelf life – you can’t go wrong!