The starchy product of a tropical tuber of the same name. The rootstalks are dried and ground into a very fine powder. Arrowroot is used as a thickening agent for puddings, sauces and other cooked foods, and is more easily digested than wheat flour. Its thickening power is about twice that of wheat flour. Arrowroot is absolutely tasteless and becomes clear when cooked. Unlike cornstarch, it doesn't impart a chalky taste when undercooked. It should be mixed with a cold liquid before being heated or added to hot mixtures. Some British and early American cookie recipes call for arrowroot flour, which is the same product. Arrowroot can be found in supermarkets, natural food stores and Asian markets. Fresh arrowroot, also called fung quat, can sometimes be found in specialty produce markets. It's a misshapen vegetable that can range in size from 1 to 6 inches in diameter. When cooked, it has a nutty, slightly sweet flavor and soft mealy texture.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.
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