Kuzu root starch is a great thickening agent that is natural and unprocessed. It produces bright, translucent sauces, adds a shiny gloss to soups, and provides a smooth texture for sauces and gravies with no starchy or interfering taste. Molecular Gastronomy Chef Ferran Adria uses Kuzu Root Starch for several preparations including his famous olive oil chips. Vegetables and fish can be dusted with kuzu powder before deep-frying to obtain a light, crisp coating. Since Kuzu helps balance the acidity of sweets it is the perfect ingredient in icings, shortcake toppings, and pie fillings.
The powder will be in small chunks. Crush the chunks with the back of a spoon before measuring. Use approximately 1-1/2 tablespoons of Kuzu per cup of liquid for sauces and gravies and 2 tablespoons per cup for jelling liquids. For most preparations, completely dissolve the measured amount of Kuzu in a little cold water, then add it to the other ingredients near the end of cooking time. Gently bring the mixture to a simmer, stirring constantly while the Kuzu thickens and becomes translucent.
Kuzu should not be confused with arrowroot, potato starch, and corn starch. Corn starch, in particular, is not recommended because it is highly processed and treated with chemical bleaches and toxic extracting agents. Potato starch is also mass-produced, and chemicals are used to accelerate the extraction process. While arrowroot is made by a simple, natural process, Kuzu is far superior in jelling strength, taste, texture, and healing qualities.