Corn starch or cornflour is a versatile kitchen staple. Made from corn endosperms (the part which stores the plant’s starch), the fine, white powder is an effective thickening agent. In Chinese cooking, corn starch is widely used in marinades for stir-fried dishes in a process called ‘velveting’. This sees pieces of protein - such as beef or chicken - coated in a flavoured mixture of corn starch, egg white and rice wine. The coating protects the ingredients from drying out when stir fried, thickens the sauce and provides a glossy finish. Corn starch is also used to give body and a velvety texture to soups and sauces.
When adding it to these dishes, first mix it well with a little cold water to form a smooth, lump-free paste. You can also use corn starch in batters for deep-fried food, to stabilise custards and – importantly – to make lemon meringue pie.
Ingredients: corn starch (contains sulphur dioxide).
Allergy Advice: for allergens, see ingredients listed in bold.
Storage: keep in a cool and dry place.
- Popular in Chinese cooking for marinades
- Use as a thickening agent
- Add to custard as a stabiliser
- Gives velvety texture to soups
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