I have a lovely recipe (for stir-fried tofu) that uses arrowroot as its thickener. This is easy to use, and adds a nice subtle flavour of its own to the dish. However, I am now living somewhere where I can't find any - what would you recommend as an alternative? The flavours of the dish are quite delicate, and it is fried at a quite high heat.
You mention that it's fried at a high heat -- is it safe to assume that the tofu is coated in arrowroot, fried, then finished in the sauce?– JoeJul 12, 2010 at 14:09
No, the tofu is marinaded and fried, and the arrowroot is in the sauce, which is then added to the wok and fried until it thickens (half a minute or so).– Joel in GöJul 12, 2010 at 20:29
1Your profile says you are in Germany. Just yesterday, I stumbled over a product by Rintaura marketed as a sauce thickening product (don't remember the name exactly, something like Fix-binder) which appears to consist of 100% organic arrowroot starch. Bigger supermarkets often carry Rinatura products, I found this in a Kaufland.– rumtscho ♦Feb 17, 2011 at 16:19
@rumtscho - thanks, that's perfect! And I like that arrowroot is evidently called Pfeilwurzel (literally: "arrow root") :)– Joel in GöFeb 18, 2011 at 14:35
Corn starch (aka cornflour) will usually work and is more readily available, but it won't work well for acidic sauces, where you'll want to use tapioca starch. (aka. cassava flour; if all you can find is tapioca in granule form, grind it up first).
For a more thorough list of starch based thickeners and their alternatives, see Cook's Thesaurus: Thickeners
Yup, +1 for tapioca, far better than corn or potato starch for recipes that ask for arrowroot. If they already specify arrowroot, they probably do so for a reason (otherwise they'd just ask for corn starch!)– AaronutJul 12, 2010 at 16:20
Thanks, that sounds like a great tip. I'll try it out :) Jul 12, 2010 at 20:30
you should be able to use potato starch (or corn starch) as an alternative thickener. Although these will cause the sauce to become cloudy, rather than the clear of arrowroot.