Arrowroot and Kudzu – What’s the Difference?

Arrowroot and Kudzu – What’s the Difference?

arrowroot_powderWhat’s the difference between arrowroot and kuzu. I know they are both thickeners and gelling agents. But can these items always be interchanged?

Arrowroot is a powdered starch made from a tropical tuber of the same name. Arrowroot is similar to cornstarch in appearance but once cooked it is clear and shiny rather than cloudy and translucent. 

Kuzu is a high quality starch made from the root of the kudzu plant that grows wild in the mountains of Japan and in the southern region of the U.S. Kuzu is more expensive than arrowroot and is reputed to strengthen the digestive tract.

Both can be used interchangeably for thickening liquids, sauces, gravies, etc. by dissolving it in a small amount of cool liquid. I suggest having both in your kitchen.

Dissolved in cool water, usually 1 tablespoon per arrowroot/kuzu to 2 tablespoons liquid, mix well, then stir slowly into whatever sauce etc. you are cooking. You will see the liquid start to thicken, continue to stir and let cook for at least about five minutes.

I find if you fail to mix the arrowroot well, it can have a chalky aftertaste. So, make sure you mix it well, and stir it in slowly and thoroughly while cooking.

Ann Gentry

Author: Ann Gentry

Ann Gentry is a chef, restaurateur, food educator and visionary. She opened Real Food Daily in Los Angeles 1993, a totally vegan and organic restaurant that has since spawned another in West Hollywood. Please visit Real Food Daily to find out more about this truly unique restaurant and to learn more about Ann Gentry.

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