08 Nov2012

There is something extremely satisfying about making an ingredient from scratch. Particularly an ingredient that I would most likely buy at a grocery, looking incredibly pure and “manufactured”. Arrowroot starch is sought after as a nice clear thickener for sauces and as an ingredient in those classic tongue-drying local cookies called uraro.

My post several weeks ago about some arrowroot, less than a kilo’s worth, that Gejo dropped off with my veggie/herb delivery, was the trigger for this experiment. I looked up how to make arrowroot starch on the internet and it looked simple enough, so I peeled off the outer “scales” of the root and washed it thoroughly. It was a creamy fibrous looking rootcrop…

Peeled, this looked like a reasonable amount to me, perhaps enough to make a cup or more of starch… or so I thought incorrectly. :)

Smash the arrowroot with a meat pounder…

…place it in a strainer and submerge in water. Agitate the strainer, and the starch, which is curiously NOT water soluble, makes the water cloudy and frankly, a rather deathly grey. Let the water sit for a while and the starch sinks to the bottom.

In the glass measuring cup on the left, the starch after say 10-15 minutes of settling. The measuring cup on the right, freshly soaked arrowroot.

Carefully pour off the greyish water and voila! at the bottom of the glass is a thick film of arrowroot starch!

Place all of the wet starch on a plate and lay it out in the sun to dry…

…and it yielded just three tablsepoons of dried starch! I know, I know, you would think this jar contained drugs of some sort, but the incredibly white starch is pure and natural. :)

Oh, I did keep one root and boiled it in water and had it with some sugar as suggested by some readers, but it didn’t make a lasting impression. :) I think the starch will be appreciated more… :)



  1. ConnieC says:

    What will you do with the precious few tablespoons of starch? Not enough for cookies ( I so love them) but would make a nice thickener.

    And since I am the first to post ,here’s what greeted me on my desktop screen this morning ,especially for you and all you James Bond enthusiasts:


    Nov 8, 2012 | 6:05 pm


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  3. EbbaBlue says:

    My mom used to make this too, except we stone grind the arrowroot. We keep them in bottles for future use of dish thickeners, and….”pang-almirol” ng aming uniforms.

    Nov 9, 2012 | 12:41 am

  4. Footloose says:

    Simca (Simone Beck), Julia Child’s partner and one of my favorite cooks, prescribed arrowroot starch as thickener for her recipes but in Toronto in the seventies they sold them in tiny glass jars like the ones they used for saffron so I just used potato starch instead. Nowadays, if one really wants a reliable thickener that does not go watery even after freezing, one just uses modified cornstarch sold as Quick-Jell at practically the same cost as any other cooking starch.

    Nov 9, 2012 | 12:56 am

  5. Papa Ethan says:

    I can only imagine the volume of roots that are used in the uraro biscuit cottage industry in the provinces. Are the plants also called uraro? I wonder how they look like.

    Nov 9, 2012 | 7:18 am

  6. Khew says:

    There seems to be some confusion on google between arrowhead( makes wonderful crisps! ) and arrowroot.

    Nov 9, 2012 | 8:56 am

  7. ykmd says:

    That color transformation is remarkable!
    I loved those uraro cookies growing up, but tongue-drying is right! Even with Coke my tongue would still stick to the roof of my mouth :)

    Nov 9, 2012 | 10:03 am

  8. Sleepless in Seattle says:

    This brings back childhood memories,we do have a lot of arrowroot planted around our fencing, sometimes we pulled out the tubers to boil like camote, yes they have bland taste..i always assume that my mom plant them as garden foliage.

    Nov 9, 2012 | 2:45 pm

  9. meekerz says:

    What do you do with the smashed ‘meat’ afterwards? Is it still usable/edible?

    Nov 9, 2012 | 3:35 pm

  10. Tracy says:

    Back in Jane Austen’s time, arrowroot was rather expensive and was used medicinally. In the novel ‘Emma’, Emma gives Jane Fairfax a bottle when Jane was sick and also to make amends for something mean-spirited Emma said. A little gastro-literary trivia :)

    Nov 10, 2012 | 6:23 pm

  11. Robksa says:

    so this is how they make this. i buy my arrowroot powder in divisoria because to me its the best sauce thickener. thanks for sharing MM!

    Nov 11, 2012 | 1:12 am

  12. datingpulubi says:

    During our elementary years my mother used to grow them in our fences in the
    province. The last time I took a vacation the tubers were all gone. I wonder where to buy here in Manila a few plants, tubers to propagate. The boiled roots are delicious with grated young coconut and some sugar.

    Nov 12, 2012 | 5:07 pm

  13. Tina says:

    I have been looking for Uraro/Arrowroot Flour/Powder.
    Can you please share the name of the store in divisoria where I can buy it?
    I haven’t been to divi so I am clueless where to start looking. I have been calling supermarkets but in vain I found none. Thanks in advance :)

    Jul 7, 2013 | 5:59 pm

  14. tinalina says:

    Use arrowroot flour/powder in Paleo Bread. Here is a good homemade recipe:


    Nov 4, 2013 | 10:24 am

  15. Rica Manalo says:

    Where to buy this uraro flour?

    Mar 2, 2014 | 11:11 pm

  16. bhing says:

    where can i buy arrow root flour/starch? I love to use it in making cookies. please help

    Jun 6, 2014 | 3:11 pm


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