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Cornstarch

 

CornstarchCorn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Corn starch is a popular food ingredient used in thickening sauces or soups, and is used in making corn syrup and other sugars.

 

Use

 

Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in liquid-based foods (e.g., soup, sauces, gravies, custard); it is mixed-in with a lower-temperature liquid to form a paste or a slurry. It is sometimes preferred over flour because it forms a translucent mixture, rather than an opaque one. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid (Starch gelatinization).

 

It is usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar (10X or confectioner's sugar). Baby powders often includes cornstarch among its ingredients.

 

Corn starch when mixed with a fluid can make a non-Newtonian fluid, e.g. adding water makes Oobleck and adding oil makes an Electrorheological fluid.

A common substitute is arrowroot, which replaces corn starch on a 1:1 ratio.

 

Corn starch added to a batter which coated chicken nuggets increased oil absorption and crispness after the latter stages of frying.

 

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corn_starch