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Old 02-21-2006, 04:40 PM   #1
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Thickeners

I am familiar with corn startch, flour, arrow root (but not much), for use as thickner. I know there are several others out there. What are the different thickners and when should one use them. Please feel free to mention the already stated ones as to "WHEN" to use.

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Old 02-21-2006, 05:39 PM   #2
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Silvercliff, I think this question was asked earlier. Here are some more that I use:

Nuts: I use ground almonds, cashews to thicken my curries. If you are allergic to nuts then you have to observe caution but they do a very good job as thickners and a lot of the richer Indian dishes use nuts to make a thick gravy.

Onion and Yogurt mixture - O.K. not sure if this counts or not. Another thing I use is caramelized onions and then blend them with some plain yogurt. You can use this thick mixture to marinate lamb and other meats. I also use it to thicken gravies (again only suitable for certain kinds of cooking not all)

Coconut Milk - Again I think it is a wonderful thickening agent that adds body to a dish depending on what it is that you are cooking.

The ones that you mention are ofcourse the obvious ones. I use flour to make roux based sauces or as a coating for meat if you want to brown it to make stews and other rich gravies. I use cornstarch mostly when I cook Chinese to thicken the sauces or to add thickness to a soup (eg. hot an sour soup or sweet corn soup). I don't use arrow root so I cannot comment on that.
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Old 02-21-2006, 05:48 PM   #3
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It really depends on the recipe and other factors such as consistency, storage capability, appearence, taste, allergies, etc. Assuming you're only talking about sauces, soups, gravies, etc. here are a few others that you did not list:

Roux (equal parts fat and flour)
Beurre Manie (equal parts butter and flour)
Slurrys (Corn starch plus water although you can use other liquids besides water, i.e. wine, brandy, liqueurs, etc.)
Vegetable Purees
Reduction (Gelatin in stock or sugar in other liquids help thicken)
Egg Liaison (Combination of cream and egg yolks; only add it off the heat)
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Old 03-01-2006, 11:27 AM   #4
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Hi Silver, you may find this link on thickeners helpful.

I like to use cornflour and arrowroot in most savoury sauces (where I'm not already using a roux), and the second one in most all types of clear or pale sauces that need thickening. Ground almonds and bread crumbs are two that I like for things like soups and stews, they have a bit of texture but I find that generally adds to the appeal of the dish.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:11 AM   #5
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instant tapioca is good for thickening too.
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Old 02-04-2008, 11:30 AM   #6
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A really good thickner in times of urgency (savoury dishes only) is instant mash. I have also used packet soups. These are best for family meals when you are cooking quicly - I wouldn't use them when I'm cooking for someone else.
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