06 Sep2009


by Marketman


These unusual looking tubers were introduced to me as “arrowroot” or one of several varieties of root starches, also on a recent trip to Bacolod. Not sure if this is an East Indian arrowroot or a cousin from the West Indian family… Photos of the net don’t seem so readily available that would match the tuber in the photos here with a specific scientific name. At any rate, I am guessing that this is the arrowroot used to make a fine kind of starch, most commonly known to Filipinos in those sandy, dry your mouth cookies called “uraro.” East Indian arrowroot is a relative of ginger, which would make sense visually if one compares these photos with those of young ginger.


These tubers were grown on organic farms at the foothills of Mt. Kanlaon. I have never cooked with fresh arrowroot though I read in reference books such as the Oxford Companion to Food by Alan Davidson that it is readily boiled or roasted, besides being made into flour. If you have any typical uses for arrowroot, I would appreciate your comments… Thanks!



  1. Gay says:

    I remember this is used for making uraro. Not sure if I remember right, though, if this is the same one my lola used when making ginataan much like ginataang saging or gabi. I think my lola used to serve something like this, or maybe sounds like lang when I was a kid. That was too long ago! And reading about your post, suddenly a flash of memory of me eating some sort of ginataan in my lola’s dirty kitchen…

    Sep 6, 2009 | 3:14 am


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  3. diwata says:

    I spent most of my teen years and my married life on the island of Marinduque. A bakeshop in Sta. Cruz (Rejano’s bakeshop) bakes the staple pasalubong of Arrowroot cookies there. I miss it!!!

    Sep 6, 2009 | 4:27 am

  4. Vicky Go says:

    MM this is off-topic & should really be posted in the wok conditioning but I wasn’t sure it would catch your attention.
    Despite Eileen Yin Fei Lo’s admonition, I decided I’ll give wok cooking another try. My wok I think looks like yours – not too deep, shallow & about the same diameter. I haven’t used in in years – but it’s got a bluish black patina inside & out but the inner surface does not feel smooth.
    I was wondering how to proceed re-conditioning it. Should I use steel wool & diswashing detergent first & try to get out as much “gunk” as possible, before I proceed w the method you described? Also, not sure if I can get garlic chives. Could I maybe use pounded ginger instead? I’m sure I can get the pork fat/lard from the Oriental grocery.

    BTW – on lard & fat & calories: was just reading the Oct issue of Cucina Italiana (some articles are available online) & they have this wonderful article about pork fat salt-cured in marble vats known as “Lardo di Colonnata” – a specialty of the Carrara region. They eat the lardo like “butter” – slices of it between crusty Italian bread! Yikes, cholesterol fix!

    Sep 6, 2009 | 6:30 am

  5. calorie-shmalorie says:

    I remember its subtle sweetness and flavor, and the slight crunch you hear as you bite into a boiled tuber (not a rhizome?). Good in ginataan, yes. I wonder if they still put the real thing in uraro since this plant has become uncommon.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 8:40 am

  6. sanojmd says:

    i never thought that uraro uses a different kind of flour. that it actually uses arrowroot.. all i know is that uraro tastes so good. marinduque is well-known for their uraro cookies.. sinfully and delightfully good..

    Sep 6, 2009 | 9:47 am

  7. Chris Davis says:

    Growing up, we had these growing in the back yard. I remember having the boiled tubers as mid-afternoon snacks.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 10:05 am

  8. millet says:

    i love uraro cookies and have often wondered what arrowroot flour starts as. nice to see it here finally. am wondering if the root is similar in taste and texture to lotus root. thanks, MM!

    Sep 6, 2009 | 10:15 am

  9. Marketman says:

    Vicky, it’s probably rough becuase it hasn’t been used for a long time. I am not sure if you can “re-condition” a wok, but why not try? Yes, I would scrub it really well, then condition with oil. At this stage, I am not sure the chives are necessary as it may not have the new metal or iron smell and taste. But then again, it might be better to start anew… calorie, it could be a rhizome, but I think my reference book may have said tuber (I am not at my desk at the moment and can’t check it).

    Sep 6, 2009 | 11:51 am

  10. Chowhound says:

    My lola used to add this to her ginataang bilo-bilo or she would boil it just like camote or ripe saba banana. Uraro has a nice texture similar to camote. I don’t remember exactly how it tasted like but I’m sure it’s more like potato.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 12:16 pm

  11. Mel Wood says:

    MM, in some towns in Pampanga arrowroot flour is made into “mamon” which they call “sopas”. It is a delicacy you can only find during the Christmas season. That is aside from the sweet, white cookies we call araro. Anyway, they are yummy just boiled, they have a smooth, almost creamy texture.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 12:31 pm

  12. Laura says:

    I agree Diwata ~ my sis-in-law is from Sta. Cruz, Marinduque & Rejano’s arrowroot cookies are the best! We never leave Sta. Cruz without stopping by the store to buy some of the famous cookies for pasalubong. Looking fwd to more info about arrowroot. Thanks MM.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 12:33 pm

  13. Gener says:

    Boiled arrowroot is just fine, dip it in sugar can simply energize its taste…I remember my grandma boiling it then mashed and turn it to a cake, she mixed egg,starch vanilla,sugar and some ingredients i dont remember, she then baked it and its actually taste superb. We called this arrowroot “SAGO” which i thought to be in instinction since i havent seen these roots more than decades ago..

    Sep 6, 2009 | 2:33 pm

  14. Chichiro says:

    During my high school days, we have lot of this plant just behind our classrooms… and yes Gener, we called this SAGO..

    Sep 6, 2009 | 5:42 pm

  15. butchik says:

    hi mm. i grew up with this uraro..my grandfather had planted lots of this and its yummy being boiled and dip in sugar or santan ( cocomilk and minatamis na bao)..my lola used to make bola bola na malapad from the uraro starch to mix with the ginatan (binignit in cebu)… i will bring some from bicol!!

    Sep 6, 2009 | 8:57 pm

  16. Jaja says:

    I love uraro cookies!!!! I have never actually seen what arrowroot looks like until your post. My mom, coming from Marinduque, had fond memories of this crop. She told me that they would usually boil it with salt and eat it plain or mixed the flour with grated coconut or mashed saba bananas and make it into a hotcakes.

    Sep 6, 2009 | 10:52 pm

  17. kiko says:

    apart from boiled fresh arrowroot and uraro cookies, somewhere in Laguna (San Pablo, Liliw and Nacarlan in particular) uses the flour to make a pancake called “sinaludsod”… the flour is mixed with water, sugar and buko and cooked like a pancake. What you get is a tasty snack which is a little bit chewy like sago…

    Sep 7, 2009 | 9:32 am

  18. katring says:

    Hi! I’m trying to look for arrowroot flour. My son is on a Gluten-Free and Casein-Free diet and I’m trying to find ways to use local ingredients to make him cookies and bread. The GFCF food and snack items found in stores in Manila are pretty expensive. I’ve tried asking the bakeries that make uraro if they could sell me some flour but they won’t and neither will they tell me where I could buy the flour. Would anyone know?

    Sep 7, 2009 | 10:26 am

  19. t2marc says:

    i remember my childhood days when i read this article . we had that arrowroot in our backyard. My cousins and me would harvest those roots,boil them and we ate altogether. we called that in our place as LARO.

    Sep 7, 2009 | 9:05 pm

  20. Kai says:

    I ate these boiled when I was inn the elementary grades, bought from vendors in the schoolyard. It’s been a very long time since I’ve last seen one, and I’m not yet that “mature,” ;-)

    Sep 8, 2009 | 10:32 am

  21. Kai says:

    I ate these boiled when I was in the elementary grades, bought from vendors in the schoolyard. It’s been a very long time since I’ve last seen one, and I’m not yet that “mature,” ;-)

    Sep 8, 2009 | 10:32 am

  22. ryanclaw says:

    When I was small there’s a lot of these roots on the back of my school and during rainy season we harvest those roots and prefer it boiled and munch it with sugar on the side. Nice mirienda during rainy times. we call this at my province as “aroro”.

    Sep 8, 2009 | 11:00 am

  23. chinchai says:

    These are one of my favorite snacks when I was yet a small kid. We call this “Sago” in Ilonggo. My late grandma used to plant “sago” in the her front yard alongside singkamas, kamote and ube. I missed eating these after reading this blog. Thanks, Mr. MM for featuring.

    Sep 8, 2009 | 5:56 pm

  24. jane says:

    I haven’t seen/heard/eaten this for 2 decades or so. Certainly brings back memories of life in the barrio for me. If I remeber it right, we call it SAGUBE in Pangasinan.

    Sep 8, 2009 | 7:48 pm

  25. Arnel says:

    We call this sago in ilokano..we simply boil this root crop and when cooked, just peel the triangular skin and its ready to eat…childhood days…

    Sep 11, 2009 | 4:42 pm

  26. boet de bane says:

    This arrow root is also known as SAGO in Bibiclat. You are right Arnel,that’s also the way we eat SAGO during our elementary days. It is fiber-rich and is a very good cleaning agent for our teeth.

    Does anybody know where can I buy this arrow root?

    Sep 12, 2009 | 6:10 pm

  27. el_jefe says:

    uraro is grown in the uplands of laguna…it can be made in bicuits, suop thickenner, steamed like buchi and cooked ginataang bilo-bilo style….we call the flour ”yuro” which can also be used to make yuro cuchinta…its hard to extarct the starch…in the olden days i was told by my grandmother that they have to pound the fibrous roots using a ”lusong” or a huge mortar
    then theyll squeeze the juice and deacnt it till the starch settles at the bottom…i did it one time…..and mind u it was really tough real hardwork…the starch is pearly white in colour and the starch is of superior quality….if any ones interested i can give u the shops in liliw who still sells authentic uraro cookies….made the traditional way….

    Oct 29, 2009 | 4:09 pm

  28. kathy says:

    hi! just want to ask where can i get arrow root powder here in the Philippines.

    tnx very much!

    Nov 10, 2009 | 12:58 pm

  29. Joe says:

    You can get fresh arrow root crop or its starch here in Quezon,(Catanauan, Quezon or Nagcarlan, Quezon to be specific). High quality though. Uraro Cookies are the best, ever. haha. well, we’re making a processing machine for Arrow Root now. wish us luck, bai.

    Mar 17, 2010 | 8:00 pm

  30. sarah jane salazar says:

    Hello,Where can I possibly buy arrowroot? I badly need it.. please help me. Thank You!

    Jul 23, 2010 | 2:53 pm

  31. sarah jane salazar says:

    Is arrowroot available in supermarkets?

    Jul 23, 2010 | 2:54 pm

  32. rosemarie bautista-olfato says:

    i am from theDept of Agriculture,Southern Tagalog Integrated Agricultural Research Center based in Marawoy,lipa City. I currently have an on going project on raising arrowroot funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research. I would like to solicit recipes using arrowroot flour or starch. We are producing the flour now in Catanauan in volumes, any orders? For more information, email me at rbaolfato@yahoo.com. We will be packaging the flour soon in appropriate amounts needed by the market in the Philipines.

    Aug 8, 2010 | 12:18 pm

  33. hailey says:

    I’m Hakka from Shenzhen China. I know this kind of arrowroot. We local Hakka people use the starch for cooking purpose. It could also be a snack after boiled. My grandma told me when babies cried loudly like they having a stomach ache, we mix the starch with warm water (thin mixture) for babies drinks. The thick mixture was used as a kind of weaning food for babies in the old days.

    Dec 2, 2010 | 11:35 pm

  34. Chris says:

    We are a trading company that specializes in organically grown products which we market in the USA and European countries.
    We are continuously looking for suppliers with whom we can develop markets and products in order to setup a long business relation and mutual profitable business.

    We are looking for organic carabao mango’s, arrowroot powder and currently looking to start up a project for organic cayenne chillies for furtherprocessing in Filippines.

    Any interest, please contact our company: cjk@zesty.nl

    Best regards,

    Chris Jan van Kooten

    Dec 13, 2010 | 1:52 am

  35. Fe says:

    Hi to all…we manufacture uraro cookies from Catanauan, Quezon, baked in woodfired pugon in our own bakery. Wholesale price available. You may contact me 09174338125. We are supplying in some stores in Tagaytay.

    May 2, 2011 | 5:09 pm

  36. rosemarie bautista-olfato says:

    we grow uraro you are talking about. iam from the Department of Agriculture Region 4A and we have 20 farmer cooperators we are teaching to grow it wothout using inorganic fertilizer. we are currently scouting for buyers of our produced starch.
    hope to hear from you soon.
    my email ad is rbaolfato@yahoo.com

    May 18, 2011 | 3:41 pm

  37. helen says:

    to Fe, philippines…what is the brand of your uraro cookies that you supply to the stores in tagaytay? do you use 100% arrowroot flour for your cookies?

    Aug 24, 2011 | 1:54 pm


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