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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? – Joe Jul 12 '10 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 Gö Jul 12 '10 at 20:29
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    Your 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 '11 at 16:19
  • @rumtscho - thanks, that's perfect! And I like that arrowroot is evidently called Pfeilwurzel (literally: "arrow root") :) – Joel in Gö Feb 18 '11 at 14:35
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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!) – Aaronut Jul 12 '10 at 16:20
  • Thanks, that sounds like a great tip. I'll try it out :) – Joel in Gö Jul 12 '10 at 20:30
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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.

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