Kuzu Root is natural thickener, derived from the roots of the Pueraia Lobata plant and is very popular in Chinese & Japaneses cooking.
Unlike traditional thickeners, Kuzu doesn't separate after cooking. Unlike Corn or Potato Starch, it is not highly processed or treated with a chemical bleaching process. Kuzu binds more strongly than Arrowroot.
This stuff kinda looks like crack cocaine - I think, my only point of reference is Miami Vice. Crush the rocks, um I mean Kuzu chunks before trying to measure... I poured mine into a bowl and took a potato masher to it - worked perfectly (not sure what Crockett would say about that...)
Is it healthy...
Kuzu has long been valued as health food for soothing the stomach and strengthening the intestines.
"Clinical studies, done in China, have shown that kuzu root preparations can reduce high blood pressure, relieve chronic migraines and ease aches in the shoulders and neck. The flavonoids in kuzu have been shown to lower cholesterol levels, reduce the risk of blood clots, and protect against heart disease. As reported by Harvard medical researcher Wing-Ming Keung, kuzu can curb the desire for alcohol and help heal the organs damaged by alcoholism."
In his book, Macrobiotic Home Remedies, Michio Kushi recommends using kuzu in the following ways:
- To relieve tiredness and restore vitality
- To treat digestive and intestinal issues such as indigestion and colitis
- For colds, which are often related to intestinal weakness
- As a drink to relieve over acidity, bacterial infection and excess water in the case of diarrhea
- To bring quick relief from abdominal pain and intestinal irritation
Serving: 1 tbsp
What to do with it...
Use it just as you would Corn Starch or Flour - as a thickening agent for: sauces, soup, stew, custard, pudding, chilli, gravy, pie filling, desserts, etc.
Kuzu will have a clear finish (once heated), add a gloss to your dish and has no taste - so you won't even know it's there!
For 1 cup of liquid, mix together 1 tbsp Kuzu to 2 tbsp cold liquid.
Store in a sealed jar, such as a half pint mason!
Where to get it...
This was a little tricky for me, but I finally found Eden Organic's Kuzu Root Starch on Vitacost.com for a mere $7.48 for 3.5 oz. I suspect that any major healthy grocery chain such as Whole Foods or Trader Joe's would carry this as well in their baking department. Amazon sells it as well.
Keep It Healthy!