Arrowroot powder is the dried root of the arrowroot plant. Arrowroot is a clear thickener used in sauces, gravy, puddings, glazes and jellies.
Also sometimes called Maranata Starch, arrowroot powder comes from the rootstock of the obedience plant, a relative of ginger. Native to the South American tropics, there is archaeological evidence of arrowroot use as far back as 7,000 years ago. The South American Arawak tribe used arrowroot as an antidote for poisoned arrows, believing it would draw out the poison [thus its name]. It also is considered to be an effective antidote to vegetable poisons.
Arrowroot is used as a primary ingredient in baby cookies [teething biscuits] because of its easy digestibility and plain flavor. Arrowroot is used in making biscuits, puddings, jellies, and cakes, in hot sauces, and clear with beef tea, or meat broths, and in noodles in Korean and Vietnamese cuisine. Arrowroot will thicken clear liquids without clouding them as cornstarch or flour will. Arrowroot also thickens liquids even in the presence of acidic ingredients, like fruits. Choose arrowroot powder if the dish is to be frozen.
Note: 1 tsp arrowroot = 1 Tbsp cornstarch or 1 tsp arrowroot = one Tbsp flour. Arrowroot mixtures thicken at a lower temperature than mixtures made with flour or cornstarch. Mix arrowroot with a cool liquid before adding to a hot fluid, and stop stirring as soon as the mixture thickens!