This starch is derived from the root of a tropical plant, a large perennial herb found in rainforest habitats. It is cultivated for a starch obtained from the rhizomes (rootstock), which is also called arrowroot. The plant is naturalized in Florida, but it is chiefly cultivated in the West Indies (Jamaica and St. Vincent), Australia, Southeast Asia, and South and East Africa.
Uses: As a thickener and is known for its great clarity. Great for thickening fruit, dessert sauces, and oriental sauces.
Arrowroot is used as an ingredient in biscuits, puddings, jellies, cakes, hot sauces, etc., and also with beef tea, milk or veal broth, noodles in Korean and Vietnamese cuisine.
Arrowroot makes clear, shimmering fruit gels and prevents ice crystals from forming in homemade ice cream. It can also be used as a thickener for acidic foods, such as Asian sweet and sour sauce. It is invaluable in cooking when you wish to have a clear, thickened sauce, for example, a fruit sauce. It will not make the sauce go cloudy, as for example will cornstarch, flour or other starchy thickening agents.
The lack of gluten in arrowroot flour makes it useful as a replacement for wheat flour in baking. Like other pure starches, however, arrowroot is almost pure carbohydrate and devoid of protein, thus it does not equal wheat flour nutritionally.
Arrowroot thickens at a lower temperature than does flour or cornstarch, is not weakened by acidic ingredients, has a more neutral taste, and is not affected by freezing. It doesn't mix well with dairy, forming a slimy mixture. It is recommended to mix arrowroot with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid. The mixture should be heated only until the mixture thickens and removed immediately to prevent the mixture from thinning. Overheating tends to break down arrowroot's thickening property. Substitute two teaspoons of arrowroot for one tablespoon of cornstarch, or one teaspoon of arrowroot for one tablespoon of wheat flour.