Arrowroot powder, made from the arrowroot plant, is not only used as a medicinal herb, it is also used as a culinary staple and is very delicately flavoured.
This herb played a vital role in early history in the papermaking industry, because of the amount of starch that it contains. It was the key ingredient used in making the first carbon less copy paper. This herb is also known as obedience plant, East Indian arrowroot and bamboo tuber.
It is native to the tropical rainforest of the West Indies and can also be found in warm swampy areas. The root section is the part that is used for both medicinal and culinary purposes. To get the powder from the tuber, you would:
Pull it from the ground.
Strip off the outer skin, wash then grate.
Wash again, the milky liquid should be allowed to settle, once it is settled, drain off the top, the excess water which has no starch. The starchy part is what is settled at the bottom.
This same starch can also used to make clothes starch.
Whatever is settled should now be allowed to dry until it turns into a powder, thus arrowroot powder.
Arrowroot is used as a mild laxative that improves bowel movement, it also aids digestion.
It is used for stomach and intestinal disorders. The paste made from arrowroot can sooth irritation and pain of teething gums in babies. It can also be used to treat poisoned wounds, smallpox and treating gangrene. The paste is applied directly to the areas.
Makes a delicious porridge, especially for babies. It also encourages weaning as it can be mixed with water to form a milky beverage for the baby. Even though we all know "breast milk is still the best".
It is used as a substitute for cornstarch as a thickening agent.
Can be used to make flour which is a great alternative for wheat flour, it is also gluten freecand can be used in cakes, puddings, cookies, custards and other baked goods. It is even used in making ice-cream as it prevents it from freezing and prevents ice crystals from forming in it.
HOW TO MAKE ARROWROOT PORRIDGE:
3 tbsp arrowroot powder
2 cups coconut milk
1 cup water
3 cinnamon leaves, washed
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp grated nutmeg
sugar to taste
Step 1: Bring water to a boil, then add cinnamon leaves, vanilla and nutmeg. Allow to boil for about 4 minutes to get the best flavour from them.
Step 2: Mix arrowroot powder in a little water until it reaches a smooth paste.
Step 3: Add mixture and coconut milk to boiling water.
Step 4: Allow to cook under low flame for 15-20 minutes until arrowroot is cooked.
Step 5: Add salt and sugar. Serve hot.