(Maranta arundinacea) A fine, white powder
with a starch content of 80 percent. It is extracted from a tropical
plant by pulverizing the rhizomes and washing them in water to obtain a
milky liquid which, after further washing and drying, yields the fine
grains of starch.
It is used as a thickener, and often added
to rice flour in Thai dessert dishes. It is also used in China to make a
variety of clear noodle, slightly tinged with yellow, with a rectangular
shape (as distinct from the fine round strands or flat ribbon shapes of
bean starch noodles) and a unique texture.
As a thickener, arrowroot starch is
considered superior to cornflour in clarity and viscosity, and has no
taste of its own, although overcooking will cause the starch to break
down and the sauce to separate.
An ingredient long known to the West for its
easy digestibility (hence its suitability for infants and invalids),
arrowroot jelly is taken to stop diarrhea.