Perhaps you've glanced at it in the baking aisle. Or came across it in a recipe. Then asked yourself, what on earth is arrowroot powder?
This powdery white substance is a thickening agent that has been used for centuries in the Caribbean and parts of South America. It dates back to pre-Colombian times and is naturally vegan and gluten–free.
What is arrowroot powder exactly?
Arrowroot powder is extracted from tropicals tubers, mainly a plant called Maranta arundinaceal. It is a great replacement for corn starch and is ideal for thickening soups, stews and sauces such as gravy.
Its name is derived from the Arawaks, an indigenous Caribbean tribe, who used the plant to treat wounds from poisoned arrows.
Should you use arrowroot powder?
Whether or not you opt for using arrowroot powder simply depends on your cooking style.
Are you vegan? Do you eat gluten–free? Are you fascinated by new ingredients or would like to avoid genetically modified corn? Then give arrowroot powder a try.
How to Use Arrowroot Powder
Treat arrowroot powder the same way you would corn starch. Just dissolve the powder in a bit of cold liquid before adding to hot dishes and mix well. If using in pie fillings just mix it into the fruit.
Keep in mind that arrowroot powder doesn't blend well with dairy.
Also, it will lose it's thickening properties if overheated. To avoid this simply add the arrowroot towards the end of the cooking process and remove the pot from the heat once it's thickened to your liking.
Arrowroot Powder vs. Corn starch
Wondering how arrowroot powder compares to corn starch?
In this video food editor Melissa Roberts from GourmetMagazine breaks it all down for you. You'll even learn about a third thickening agent called beurre manié, a traditional French paste made from butter and flour. Take a look: