The arrowroot plant, Maranta arundinacea, can be found in the warm and sunny climate of Central America, South America, and the West Indies and has been used for food and medicine for thousands of years. The powder found in stores is produced using various tropical tubers, including the arrowroot plant and has a wide variety of culinary uses including creating lightness in gluten-free baking and thickening soups and sauces. Look in a health food store or your local grocery store in the health food section for arrowroot powder. Although it is the same ingredient, it may also be sold as arrowroot flour and arrowroot starch depending on the company.
Flavor and Texture of Arrowroot Powder
When dried and ground, arrowroot is white and has a similar feeling to cornstarch. This thickening agent makes for a smart addition to sauces as it produces a glossy and clear finish without any additional flavor. Be sure to add arrowroot powder towards the end of a cook as higher heats can cause it to break down resulting in a thin sauce. Arrowroot thickens between 185°F and 206°F.
Storage and Usage of Arrowroot Powder
Store your arrowroot powder in a glass jar or airtight container in a cool, dark spot to keep it fresh. This ingredient has a long shelf life, but for maximum effectiveness, use it within three years.
When substituting arrowroot powder in place of cornstarch, use two teaspoons to every 1tablespoon of cornstarch. For wheat flour, use one teaspoon of arrowroot for every 1 tablespoon of flour.
Try using arrowroot in place of cornstarch for a crispy coating on chicken like in our Lighter Sweet and Sour Chicken. Or make the conversion from cornstarch and use it to thicken jams, jellies, and sauces such as our Fruit Sauces.