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Old 02-11-2006, 04:33 PM   #1
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Thickening sauces

when i make some stir-fry and i use gourmet teryaki sauce. I need it to get thicker so i put some corn-starch in but then it kinda has a little chalky taste to it when im done. Is there anything else i can use instead of the corn starch that will make it thicker and less chalky

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Old 02-11-2006, 04:45 PM   #2
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Perhaps it needs to be cooked a while longer. It takes a few minutes to activate the thickening and develop the flavor. But some use arrowroot, instant blending flour, etc.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:47 PM   #3
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Are you mixing the corn starch with water? That will help instead of just plain corn starch. Just mix equal parts in a small bowl and whisk with a fork. Also, you need to cook it for about 3 minutes to let it thicken and get the raw corn starch taste out. It will thicken up more as it starts to cool (I think anyway). The same goes for a flour slurry. You will have to remove the ingredients so they don't over cook, do your sauce, then add ingredients back to heat up.

That's my solution anyway.
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Old 02-11-2006, 04:47 PM   #4
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The chalky taste is most likely due to the fact that the cornflour has not been cooked long enough to get rid of that chalky taste.

One way would be to do what you are doing but cook it for that little bit longer. However a better (and more traditional way) would be to lightly coat your meat (or whatever your main ingredient is, works best on mushrooms, meat and tofu because they gain a sort of crust) in the cornflour and then procede to cook normally. This cornflour coating should help thicken any sauce up.

Whoa, 2 other replies while just typing. Sorry for repeating what other said previously but the second point I raised is still valid.
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:28 PM   #5
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Haggis, very interesting. Is cornflour a mixture of cornstarch and flour? I usually use a mixture of water and cornstarch, however, I like the idea of coating the meat and mushrooms to get a crust.
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Old 02-11-2006, 10:58 PM   #6
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My apologies, what Americans call cornstarch we call cornflour.

Gotta remember that! It doesn't always form a crust as it depends on the dish. However it does help the sauce cling to the meat or other main ingredient (a nice bit of flavour concentration) as well as, of course, helping to thicken the sauce.
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Old 02-11-2006, 11:00 PM   #7
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Thanks, I will try this next time!
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Old 02-12-2006, 12:32 PM   #8
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And I was thinking the same thing Haggis said, but I also wanted to ask if you use any fat to cook the meat/veggies first? You need the fat to cook the cornstarch after dredging the meat and veggies. Also, regular flour will do the trick and it has a more mild flavour, so if you undercook it, it's more forgiving.

ETA: I remember an American professional cake maker I met in Hanover or Dusseldorf that mentioned Wondra flour to me. She said that it was excellent as a thickening agent and no lumps. Do you know this "Wondra" (namebrand, I think)? Maybe someone here can help you with that hint.
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Old 02-20-2006, 02:04 PM   #9
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This gets another level of complication. A flour slurry, roux, etc, is very stable. Every time you re-heat it, it will stay thick. But it doesn't give that sort of clear, glossy look and texture you get with cornstarch or arrowroot. HOWEVER, the latter two will thin out with reheating (in other words, if you want to put a stir fry "on hold" while you do something else, arrowroot will almost always thin, and sometimes cornstarch will as well). If I'm serving to guests, when I want it to be just right, I make up the slurry and toss it in at the last minute. Also, you can cheat ... keep a beef, mushroom, or brown gravy mix on hand, make it into a slurry, and use it to thicken when, as sometimes happens to me, the meat seems to not have enough "beefy" flavor of its own.
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Old 02-20-2006, 10:00 PM   #10
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A trick I learned to making slurrys is to mix the corn starch with something like white wine, cognac, sherry, etc. It thickens the dish plus it adds flavor too!
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