Do you need a thickener to make your meal tastier? We have a solution. In this article, you’ll find out how to make your soup, pie filling, or sauce creamy and thick. Not all thickeners provide the same result, and that’s why you need to choose smartly. These solutions will make your meal more structured and way much better.
In many cuisines, the flour represents the great thickener. The reasons are numerous here. Flour is a great asset in French cuisine, and they use a combination of flour and fat, which is very effective for making soups and sauces. If you cook them lightly, you’ll remove the flour taste, and the food tastes better at the end. On the other hand, if you cook the flour and the fat for longer, you’ll make a dark roux that is ideal for stews.
Using flour is also effective when you dredge stew meats in flour because it makes the liquid thicker as you cook the meat. As a result, your meal will be much tastier. You can also use flour in stews, gravies, and dairy-based sauces, as the flour thickens the structure of the meal and it does not lose its thickening power even if you simmer the meal for longer.
How to use flour
If you want to get the best thickening from flour, use a twice larger quantity than cornstarch. Flour requires more quantity than cornstarch, and it is best to use all-purpose flour since it has more starch content than whole-wheat flour.
You must be careful when you use cornstarch for your meal. It is a completely pure starch that combines good with the liquid, but you must know the right proportions. Add equal parts cold liquid and cornstarch when you want to make a slurry. After that, you are good to cook the meal for a short time, because longer cooking will break down the cornstarch and your meal will be full of unwanted particles. Therefore, avoid long cooking and do not use acid ingredients, like lemon, tomatoes, or vinegar, since the sauce can lose the consistency.
How to use cornstarch
To make the right substitution, use half of the portion than the flour portion and add it to the meal. Make sure that you don’t freeze the meal made with cornstarch, because it may become spongy.
As root starch from a West Indian plant, the arrowroot has become a great substitution for thickeners. It is a gluten-free option that is better than cornstarch in many ways. Unlike cornstarch, you can cook with arrowroot even if you add acidic ingredients to your meal, and you can also freeze the food at the end. Similar to the cornstarch, you must make a slurry before adding the arrowroot, but the cooking process could be much shorter. When all these characteristics combine, the arrowroot creates a very pleasant texture and silky mouthfeel.
How to use arrowroot
Use the equal portion as the cornstarch when you add the arrowroot to your meal.
When you ground the flax seeds into a powder, you get a very fine texture that is full of fibers. Thanks to the high content of fibers, flax seeds represent the great thickening substance. It burns very fast, and you can cook the roux for less than one minute to get the thickening power. When combined with water, it creates a gel, which is ideal for smoothies.
How to use flax seeds
To make a good substitution in a roux, use the double quantity of flax seeds when comparing to flour, or take half of the portion of flax seeds when comparing to cornstarch quantity. Flax seeds are grittier than cornstarch, and that’s why half of the quantity will be quite enough.