I made a trip to Penzey’s today because I needed some Arrowroot. Tina and I had just gotten done eating at The Dragon Inn by the Overland Park farmer’s market (review to follow) where I noticed how thick the sauce for the Szechwan Broccoli and the hot and sour soup was. Because I am a total food geek, it reminded me that I was out of Arrowroot so I headed into the spice store.
Arrowroot is magnificent stuff. It is potent when fresh (it keeps its potency for about 6 months) and it is flavorless from the moment it touches the sauce. This makes it better than most flour-based thickeners because there is no time required to cook out the wheaty, earthy taste common with rouxes (although I’d still use a roux when I need the flavor that comes from cooking fat and flour) and flour-slurries.
Try some for yourself, but start slow with one tablespoon at a time.
- Mix the tablespoon of arrowroot with 1/2 cup of cold water. (Always add cold slurry to hot liquid or hot slurry to cold liquid.)
- Mix until the arrowroot is dissolved.
- Add the cold slurry to the hot sauce and stir until the arrowroot is fully incorporated. Watch in amazement as the sauce thickens.
Prologue: At Penzey’s I bought the 3.5 oz container, which should allow me to thicken about 6 months of soups, stocks, sauces, or the Mississippi River.