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Food glossary

Cornflour

Cornflour

This fine white flour is made from maize and is known as cornstarch in America. Its main use is as a thickening agent and due to its fine texture it is less likely to form in lumps than ordinary flour. Another advantage that cornflour has over plain flour as a thickening agent is that it is flavourless so can be used to thicken delicately flavoured dishes. When cornflour is added to a liquid it will take on a cloudy appearance - so it is best not to use cornflour to thicken clear sauces or soups. Arrowroot can be used to thicken clear liquids where a translucent finish is required.

Uses: To thicken stews, casseroles, soups and sweet and savoury sauces.

To prepare: Cornflour should be blended with a little cold water before adding to any liquid. Blend 1 tsp cornflour with 2 tbsp of water to a smooth paste, and add to the dish off the heat. Return to the heat, stirring all the time until it thickens. Add more cornflour paste until the required thickness is reached.

To store: Keep in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 1 year.