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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Thickening Agent (GF)

This is useful to use instead of pure cornstarch or flour in thickening sauces.

81/2 tsp xanthan gum (42 mL)
41/2 tsp guar gum (22 mL)
21/4 tsp Arrowroot starch*, OR (11 mL)
  corn starch*



 
In small plastic container with lid, combine xanthan gum, guar gum and arrowroot starch or corn starch; seal.  Store at room temperature.

Helpful Hints:  Substitute Thickening Agent for cornstarch, using 1/4 as much and substitute Thickening Agent for flour, using 1/8 as much to achieve approximately the same results.

This Thickening Agent must be used in small quantities to avoid a “gummy” texture.  For instance, do not use in quantities greater than 1/2 tsp (2 mL) for thickening sauces for stir-fried vegetables.

You may use only guar gum or only xanthan gum, if one or the other is not available.  Xanthan gum is preferable to guar gum.

*Arrowroot starch and cornstarch each have about 7 grams of carbohydrate per tablespoon (15 mL).  I’ve recently discovered arrowroot powder and it seems to work really well in my Thickening Agent.  Used alone, it requires 1/3 the amount of flour required to thicken sauces, etc.  Sprinkle 1 tsp (5 mL) Thickening Agent over 11/2 cups (375 mL) boiling or hot liquid and whisk vigorously with wire whisk until liquid thickens.  The Thickening Agent seems to dissolve really well, when there is some fat in the liquid, such as butter or olive oil or the fat in a stew gravy, for instance.  If Thickening Agent has not completely dissolved, it may be necessary to pour the liquid through a sieve or blend in a blender.

Vegetable gums have the unfortunate characteristic of reducing sweetness in recipes somewhat, therefore, sometimes less Thickening Agent or more sweetener will be required.

Update - how to prevent clumps:  I should have mentioned that I typically take some of the liquid and blend it with the Thickening Agent in a blender, then add back into the stew, sauce or whatever.  Others have found that by mixing it directly with a little oil or melted butter, and then adding to the stew or sauce, it works better, preventing clumps.

Yield: 1/3 cup
1 tsp per serving
1.5 calories
0 g protein
0 g fat
0.4 g net carbs


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