Sometimes, we are so habituated to using an ingredient for a specific purpose that we don’t realise its full potential.
We often don’t even know about the different ways in which we can use it around the kitchen and house.
Later, we come across “life hacks” featuring these items on social media and we wish we knew about them earlier!
Well, today, allow us to introduce you to a few cooking hacks with cornstarch.
Most of us are familiar with cornstarch’s role as a thickening agent for soups, curries and sauces. But we shall discuss other ways you can use it in the kitchen.
But before that, let’s get one distinction clear
Cornstarch versus Corn flour – What’s the difference?
Many people use the words cornstarch and corn flour interchangeably. But these are actually two indifferent types of ingredients. Their characteristics and applications are quite distinctive. Corn flour is made by grinding whole corn kernels into a fine powder-like substance. It has a yellowish colour and a discernible taste. On the other hand, pure cornstarch is tasteless and whitish in colour. It is made by refining the starchy part of corn and is mostly composed of carbohydrates. In some countries, it is common practice to call cornflour cornstarch. So before buying it from the market or following a recipe that uses either ingredient, do a double-check. Cornstarch cannot be directly substituted for other types of flour, as corn flour may be. Cornstarch’s applications mostly involve the texture and consistency of items.
Here are 6 genius uses of cornstarch while cooking:
1. For extra crispiness
Whether you’re frying vegetarian or non-vegetarian foods, cornstarch can come to your rescue. Coating them in it before frying helps you get a delicately crisp exterior. You don’t even necessarily have to make a slurry or add breadcrumbs. Corn starch can do the trick by itself! But even if you’re making a special batter for your fried treat, adding cornstarch to it can help enhance its consistency. If you make waffles at home, you can also add it to that batter for a crisper treat.
2. For fluffy omelettes
While beating eggs to make omelettes, make sure to add a bit of cornstarch along with your selected seasonings. This can help you avoid rubbery omelettes and get a perfectly fluffy treat. The nature of cornstarch is such that it reacts with the protein in the eggs to keep them soft and moist for longer.
3. To avoid leaky pies
Corn starch has binding properties that you can take advantage of in many ways. While making fillings for your baked treats like pies, cornstarch can help ensure they are not too runny or soggy. Similarly, you can add cornstarch to your custard and puddings to improve their texture.
4. For velveting
Want to maintain the tenderness of meat in your dishes? Then rely on the Chinese method of velveting. This technique often involves cornstarch along with other ingredients, which are thoroughly combined with the meat (often pre-marination). Doing so helps retain the moisture in the meat and also forms a succulent coating. The meat can later be cooked in water (including boiling) or oil (frying/ sauteeing).
5. As an egg substitute
Cornstarch mixed with water can be used as an egg substitute while baking. This hack is also useful for those who want to make vegan and/or gluten-free baked items (in its pure form, cornstarch does not contain gluten). Look for specific recipes that use this method to understand how to balance the ingredients.
6. For drying countertops
Cornstarch does not just have direct cooking applications. There are also other ways to use it around the kitchen. Sprinkling cornstarch over your countertop can help you dry it before rolling dough or mixing other ingredients over it directly. Since cornstarch does not have flavour or colour, it won’t interfere with the taste or appearance of the food you place on it.
If you don’t already have cornstarch in your pantry, you now have several reasons to keep it stocked. Try these hacks for yourself and see the difference they will make!