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Old 08-29-2006, 09:46 PM   #11
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Maybe I should make the thickened broth first and then add the lemon & sugar???? And stir gently.....

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Old 08-29-2006, 09:48 PM   #12
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I have to say, adding MORE water seems counter-intuitive to me! But what the heck -- they make the stuff, I only eat it! Worth a shot.

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Well, the company says to add more water if you have too much sugar or too much fat, so I'd try that first.

And try adding the lemon juice just before serving.

And don't spit in it!

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Old 08-29-2006, 09:53 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by ibsriv
My wife loves Chinese Lemon Chicken, which I cook for her often. The lemon sauce I make is great, but I cannot thicken it properly. I usually use cornstarch disoved in water and add it to the simmering sauce, but have also tried arrowroot (very expensive) which did not do any better. I've tried to make it a little ahead of time and let it cool to thicken, boiled it and tried to thicken it thru simmering and evaporation.....always too thin. Anyone have any suggestions? Thanks

Have you tried dipping your chicken pieces in corn flour/starch before beginning to cook? The Chinese do this with most meats in a stir fry, and it helps with the thickening.
Also, it is my experience that you can overcook anything thickened with corn flour/starch to the point where it will revert back to thin.

Now for something nearly completely different...I use instant potato ( ) to thicken many types of soups, casseroles or stews. The only time I use it, apart from for potato topped pies that need to be held for a period of time.
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Old 08-29-2006, 10:05 PM   #14
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Instant potato is a cool idea! Would that work on something like a crock pot pot roast? Would you add it after it's done, or before cooking by adding it dry? Right now I use tapioca (not instant) at the beginning.....

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Old 08-29-2006, 10:07 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by ibsriv
...Tapioca leaves little "fish-eyes"...
You need to use tapioca starch, a powder that dissolves completely. You used pearl tapioca, which leaves the "fish eyes".

If you can't find the starch, put some pearl tapioca in a blender and powder it.
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Old 08-29-2006, 11:41 PM   #16
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whenever I hear sauce and thickened..then Asian...It is cornstarch all the way. Look to thin the slurry and add slowly. Remember, like a roux, it will thicken upon cooling. Thicken accordingly.
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:21 AM   #17
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You can lower the acidity of your sauce and help the corn starch thicken better by subbing some lemon zest for lemon juice. Starches generally are not that happy thickening in acidic environments. I'm not sure arrowroot will solve your problem either.

The one thickener that I know, for a fact, is happy within a wide range of pH levels is xanthan gum. I would try at least one of the following.

1. Use corn starch and a tiny amount of xanthan (very little is needed)
2. Use zest/juice rather than just juice
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Old 08-30-2006, 12:50 AM   #18
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Like Andy said, you need to add more slurry in the initial stage, bring it to a full boil, add more if needed, and immediately remove it from the heat. Prolonged exposure to heat will break down the thickening properties of the slurry.

Also, any sauce that's been thickened with a slurry will be thinner upon reheating unless you add more slurry. A slurry is meant to be a temporary liaison. It will almost always lose it's thickening power everytime you cool and reheat it, or cook it for too long a period of time.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:12 AM   #19
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You could try using arrowroot. That's what I use when I want to thicken but not 'colour' a sauce.
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Old 08-30-2006, 04:16 AM   #20
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I think IronChef will see where I am going with this ... and if I am wrong he will slap me on the head and yell at me in his best Gordon Ramsay voice ...

1) Cornstarch will thin out from overcooking
2) Make a slurry with as little liquid as possible - and make more than you think you might need ... cornstarch is cheap - think of it as salt where you season to taste - here you are thickening to taste.
3) Reduce your sauce BEFORE you add the cornstarch!!!
4) Stir your cornstarch slurry before you add it ... I mean right before you add it
5) Add the slurry - stir a couple of times ... and just as soon at it comes to a boil - remove it from the heat.

Most Asian cooking is really pretty simple ... most American's screw it up because they try to over-complicate it.

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