Bhubaneswar: The kitchen, by itself, is the home of food. We store all of our ingredients here until it’s time to use them in the preparation of our meals. Certain ingredients are used more often than others, while the others’ usage is undermined because most people aren’t aware of more than one use case.
Such is the sob story for one such magic ingredient too, which is mostly only used for the thickening of food, or to make puddings and custard, and that versatile ingredient is Cornflour. It can be used for so many more unconventional uses.
Did you know you can coat your paneer, chicken, or shrimp pieces with cornflour, before frying it, instead of regular flour or breadcrumbs, to get that crispy and crunchy bite? Since it’s a gluten-free addition to your fried veggies and foods, it makes for a great alternative to maida. It’s also perfect to give the golden colour and crispy texture to samosas, luchi and baturas.
Also, since it’s neutral in taste, you can mould it to an exact and authentic taste of whichever cuisine you use it for. Now that you know this, take a mental note (or a physical one) and leave some space for the other uses to follow as well.
If your favourite cuisine to devour after a long and tiring day is Chinese too, then cornflour will be your holy grail. Used to thicken and get that restaurant-like consistency and taste. Cornflour will turn any of your sauces and gravies into a fine-dine and authentic Chinese dish. It also works well with soups. All you have to do is combine the water and cornflour in a small bowl. The remaining sauce components should be combined in a different bowl. In the pan, add the sauce components. Give it a moment to warm up. Add in the cornflour slurry. Stir and watch the sauce magically thicken. Club the sauce, veggies, tofu, and meat and stir them together.
Cornflour also makes for an excellent substitute for eggs, so the next time you want to bind ingredients together but don’t have eggs, add cornflour to the mixture instead, and enjoy the richness of the food just as it would. It’s also perfect for kebabs and cutlets.
Our ultimate and all-time favourite street food is momos. When prepared at home, we often find that the texture isn’t like the momos that are made in a restaurant or by an expert vendor on the streets. This may be because the inside filling of the momo, often turns out to be frangible. Weikfield’s cornflour has a superfine consistency which is perfect for the best texture for momos and mixing a bit with the inside filling of any momo, helps bind the filling together.
The melt-in-your-mouth Bengali sweet Sandesh also uses cornflour as one of its ingredients. Just mix it with the chenna among other ingredients and grind until smooth, to enrich its taste.
Burgers have grown increasingly popular over the past decade. Takeout has become the mode of preference rather than cooking because people tend to think that it is a tiresome process and is difficult to get the patty to be just the perfect amount of juicy and golden crispy. But adding a bit of cornflour to your marinade, helps the chicken to turn out crispy while frying it and cooks it to perfection.
Asian cuisine, including Indian, uses the velveting technique to preserve delicate meats like fish and poultry. Simply coat strips of chicken, turkey, pork, beef, (or scallops, prawns, etc) in a mixture of egg white, cornflour, oil, and salt before deep-frying in hot oil or poaching in simmering water. When cooked, the delicate marinade of egg white and cornflour forms a barrier that prevents the meat from drying out and keeps it juicy.
Cornflour also comes in handy while preparing fondant-based cakes, as the fondant can stick to the platform. The starchiness of corn flour helps in making the fondant non-sticky, without altering the taste of it at all. Just sprinkle a bit on the counter before spreading out the fondant. It also gives the cake a much-needed fluffiness.
Telebhaja refers to a wide variety of deep-fried delicacies, such as egg chops, mutton chops, and brinjal fries. Bombay duck (also known as lotey maach) and onion rings are all dipped in a cornflour batter before being cooked. These are a favourite street dish because of howgolden and flavourful they turn out on cooking.
If you have been taking notes this far you now know that this multipurpose component can do wonders if used attentively and turn your kitchen into a Michelin-starred restaurant within minutes. So go ahead, whip up mouth-watering delicacies, preferably with Weikfield’s cornflour that gives them an amazing texture and a golden, crispy crunch.