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Cornflour

Information about cornflour and cornflour recipe collection

 

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February

2005

 

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Although there's not that much to say about Cornflour in terms of history etc., we feel this ingredient still merits a page of its own due to its  unique properties in cooking.

 

Cornflour, also known as cornstarch,  is the starch which has been extracted from maize (Indian corn). Used primarily as a thickening agent, among its qualities are that its easy to use, tasteless and contains no wheat or gluten.

 

Processing

 

When purchased, cornflour is usually a fine white, powder although is is also available with a yellowish tinge to it. However, don't confuse cornflour with the finely ground "cornmeal"  which I believe Americans call cornflour.

 

Cornflour is milled from maize (corn) from which the outer hull, germ and gluten are removed. The corn wet milling process separates corn into its four basic components: starch, germ, fibre and protein.

 

There are primarily four processing steps necessary to obtain cornflour:-

 

1. The corn is soaked for 30 to 40 hours which starts the process of breaking the starch and protein bonds.

 

2. The resultant mixture is coarsely ground  to separate the germ from the rest of the kernel.

 

3. The remaining slush is then finely ground and  separated into fibre, starch and protein.

 

4. The starch is further screened in hydro cyclones (machinery which works on a centrifuge basis)  after which it is dried.

 

Cornflour in Cooking 

 

Unlike most other flours, cornflour blends to a smooth cream or slurry when combined with cold liquid. It therefore cuts the need for fats when used to make sauces and eliminates the hazard of lumps forming. Because it is tasteless, it can be used in delicate sauces and recipes which call for a thickening agent although if a totally translucent effect is desired, then arrowroot would be a better ingredient to use. A couple of drawbacks are that it doesn't stand up to freezing or prolonged cooking.

 

Cornflour is also used, usually with other flours, in the making of cakes and baked goods,  either to create a lighter texture or  to maintain a gluten/wheat free status as well as in certain desserts/puddings in particular in fruit pie fillings.

 

When adding to liquids, always blend cornflour with a little cold liquid (any cold liquid will do be it wine, beer, water, stock etc., depending on what liquid is being used in the recipe) before adding to the remaining mixture. In general use twice as much cold liquid as cornflour and mix to a thin paste in a small cup or glass then stir into recipe to be thickened. Keep stirring gently until the mixture comes to the boil, by which time it will slightly clear and thicken. Avoid further cooking.  In general 1 tablespoon of cornflour will thicken between 240ml/8fl.oz and 480ml/16fl.oz. liquid depending on the recipe .

 

Always store cornflour in a cool, dry, dark place where it will last indefinitely.

 

 

Happy Cooking!

 

 

Hors d'oeuvre and Soups

Prawn Toasts    HT HD  Chinese  20mins

Chicken & Sweetcorn Soup     HT   SP  Chinese  25mins

Aubergine Tempura    Veg  HT HD 30mins

Hot Sole Mousse with Creamed Watercress    HT  HD   55mins

Cream of Artichoke Soup      Veg  HT  55mins

Potstickers (Dim Sum) HT HD Chinese 70mins plus standing

 

 Main Courses

Grouse with Pear Sauce     HT  MC  British  45mins    

Halibut Duglere     HT  MC   45mins      

Gluten Dairy Free Pizza Base     Veg  HT  MC  45mins

Beef with Orange      HT   MC    80mins     

Oregano Braised Lamb   HT  MC  130mins  

 

 Accompaniments

Citrus Sauce      Veg  HT ACC  10mins      

Sweet and Sour Sauce      HT ACC Chinese 10mins     

Coconut Sauce      Veg HT ACC Cambodia 20mins 

Dessert Fig Sauce      Veg HT ACC 25mins   

Broccoli in White Wine Sauce      Veg HT ACC 30mins   

Fijian Courgettes      HT ACC Fijian 30mins     

 

  Desserts Cakes and Bakes

Couscous Pudding     Veg CD DP 15mins plus chilling

Portuguese Cream      Veg CD DP 20mins plus chilling   

Gluten Free Mini Shortbreads    Veg CD  CBF 35mins plus chilling

Gluten Free Spiced Sponge   Veg CD   CBF 40mins

Creme Caramel      Veg CD DP 70mins

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Oeufs a la Neige     Veg   CD  DP   90mins

 

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