Cornstarch has Plenty of Alternatives

From Arrowroot to Tapioca

Share this post:

Starches are known for their ability to thicken and stabilize liquid dishes. Starches are also commonly used in baked dishes. There are many different kinds processed from various plants around the world. Here we have listed a few starch options, each with its own benefits. Try them all, discover a favorite, and find your new pantry staple!


Cornstarch is an essential ingredient in pantries and kitchens around the globe. What many don’t know is that corn starch comes from the endosperm of a corn kernel. 

It was invented in the mid-19th century by a man named Thomas Kingsford and it was used originally as a laundry aid. Cornstarch is a great thickening agent for stews, sauces, and other liquid ingredients. 

potato starch

Potato Starch

Another common starch ingredient is potato starch. The starch extracted from potatoes becomes a white powder, similar to flour. 

This is a great gluten-free substitute for recipes that require flour. It can also be used as a thickening agent and as a fried food coating. A great reason to use potato starch is that it is lighter than other starches and maintains color to a dish.

Arrowroot Flour

Native to Indonesia, arrowroot is a tuber that is similar to ginger. Extracting arrowroot flour is done by taking the plant’s rhizome and processing it into powder. 

The rhizome is the underground stem of the plant that stores the plant’s starch and energy. Arrowroot is a great choice for those who need ingredients that are easy to digest, like children or seniors.


Tapioca Flour

Tapioca Flour is a starch that has a slight sweetness to it. It is made by extracting the starches from the roots of a mature cassava plant, also known as yuca or manioc. 

This ingredient is also gluten-free and used similarly to the other starches. Bakers love this ingredient as it gives golden brown crusts to the dish. Use it in batters, as a crispy coating, and to thicken liquids.

Discover the world with hand selected videos on our new YouTube channel

‎Zimbabwean Pumpkin Soup

Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spice

Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spice

Make your own Pumpkin Spice Latte or get inspired by the following recipes for an African pumpkin soup or a quick holiday movie snack! All you need is our freshly ground pumpkin pie spice blend with a hint of oriental cardamom. 

SpiceBreeze Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices:

Cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, cloves, cardamom

‎Zimbabwean Pumpkin Soup

Nhopi - Zimbabwean Pumpkin Soup

In a POT, cook 1.5 lb pumpkin cubes in 1 cup salted water. When the pumpkin is soft, mash it.

Add 1-2 tbsp peanut butter, 1-2 tsp Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices, and salt to taste. Mix well. Simmer for 5 minutes. 

Optionally, add hot chili powder to taste and top with (coconut) milk or heavy cream.

Pumpkin Spice Latte

In a MUG, add:

1/8 cup of strong coffee (one espresso shot brings the best result)

1/2-2 tsp Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices

2-4 tbsp syrup or honey

Fill the MUG with hot milk. Mix well.

Optionally, top with whipped cream and sprinkle with Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices.

Variation: Pumpkin Spice Latte with Figs

Transfer the latte into a nice tall glass in layers in the following order:

2/3 latte, 1/2 inch whipped cream, 2 halved figs,

1/3 latte, 1/2 inch whipped cream, 2 halved figs.

Oriental Pumpkin Spice Latte
Pumpkin spiced baked apples

Pumpkin Spiced Baked Apples

The perfect combination of tart, sweet, and spicy: pumpkin spice baked apples deconstruct the apple pie in a forgiving way and goes with anything. Create your own simple snack with our Pumpkin Spice blend!

Mexican Hot Chocolate

In a MUG, dissolve 1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder in 2 tbsp (almond) milk. 

Stir in 1-2 tsp Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices, and 2-4 tbsp agave syrup or honey. 

Fill the MUG with hot milk. Mix well. 

Optionally, add hot chili powder to taste and top with whipped cream and sprinkle with Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices.

Pumpkin Spice Nuts​

Preheat OVEN to 350°F. 

In a BOWL, add 2  tbsp agave syrup or honey, 1-2 tsp Oriental Pumpkin Pie Spices, and salt to taste. Mix well. 

Add 2 cups chopped nuts and mix well. In a BAKING DISH lined with PARCHMENT PAPER, spread nut mixture evenly. 

Bake nuts for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Let cool.

Pumpkin spiced holiday nuts
Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron

Bengali panch phoron is a seed mix of equal quantity of cumin, fennel, fenugreek, mustard (black and yellow), and nigella, with a bittersweet anise flavor. This mix is used without grinding the seeds.

Try this exotic spice mix in three selected recipes:

  • Shukto
  • Panch Phoron Chicken
  • Purple Panch Phoron
Panch Phoron
Bengali Shukto

Bengali Shukto

Shukto is a must on any festive Bengali dinner menu. It has a slight bitterness balanced with the sweetness of sugar. If you are not up for this, try a Panch Phoron recipe from our website. Panch Phoron is a Bengali five-spice blend. It's always used whole. The seeds are fried in oil until they pop and release their aromatic flavor.
hands-on time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali
Servings 3 servings


Shopping list

  • 1 large potato
  • 1 large turnip see notes
  • 1 medium zucchini or squash
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 cup green beans
  • 1 inch ginger peeled and grated
  • 1 cup milk
  • oil
  • sugar
  • salt and pepper


  • 1 lb chicken thighs or breast cut into 1-inch pieces

Suggested Sides

  • cooked rice recommended: Basmati
  • flat bread naan or chapati

Culinary Spice Kit

  • [1] Panch Phoron Cumin, fennel, fenugreek, brown and yellow mustard, nigella
  • [2] Yellow and brown mustard, ajowan, bay leaves



  • If using rice, cook rice according to package instructions.


  • Cut all vegetables into bite-size pieces.


  • In a large PAN, heat 6 tbsp oil.
  • Add Shukto [1] spices and ginger. Stir-fry 30 seconds until seeds start to pop.
  • Optional: Add chicken and salt to taste. Fry until all sides turn slightly brown.
  • Add potato, turnip, and salt to taste. Fry until they turn slightly brown.
  • Add all remaining vegetables and salt to taste. Fry until they turn slightly brown.


  • In a small CUP, dissolve Shukto [2] spices in 2 tbsp of water.
  • Add this spice paste and 1 cup of milk to the PAN. Cover. Bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low.
  • Cook for 5-10 minutes until vegetables and optional chicken are cooked.
  • Add 1-3 tsp sugar to taste.
  • Serve with rice or bread. Enjoy!



Substitute turnip with daikon or 1 bunch radish.
Substitute one of the vegetables with 1 plantain or 1 sweet potato.
Bengali Panch Phoron

Panch Phoron

Panch phoron is an Indian spice blend from five whole seeds. It includes fenugreek which is known as an essential ingredient to Indian curry blends. The seeds are always used whole. They are fried in oil until they pop, or can be used as a spice rub.
This is a simple recipe for fried chicken. Alternatively, the aromatic oil from step 1 can be used as the base for a fried vegetable dish.
Hands-on Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Bengali
Servings 3


  • 1 lb chicken legs, thighs, wings
  • 5 medium tomatoes quartered
  • 4 cups basmati rice cooked or steamed
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • 3 cloves garlic grated
  • limes or lemons
  • oil or ghee
  • salt

Panch Phoron Culinary Spice Kit

  • [1] Brown & yellow mustard, cumin, fennel, fenugreek, nigella
  • [2] Kashmiri chili


Step 1

  • In a PAN, heat 2 tbsp oil over medium heat.
  • Fry Panch Phoron [1] spices until they begin to pop.
  • Add ginger and garlic.
  • Stir-fry for 1-2 minutes.

Step 2

  • Add chicken and salt to taste.
  • Stir-fry chicken over high heat for about 5 minutes until all sides turn brown.

Step 3

  • Add tomatoes.
  • Add salt and Panch Phoron [2] spices to taste.
  • Cover and cook over low heat for about 10-20 minutes until tomatoes fall apart and the chicken is cooked.


  • Serve the panch phoron chicken on rice with lime wedges.
  • Enjoy!


  • Substitute chicken with fish filet, shrimp, or tofu.
  • For a vegetarian version, substitute chicken with  garbanzo beans, potatoes, and mixed root vegetables.
  • Optionally, season the rice with turmeric.

Purple Panch Phoron

Cuisine Bengali


Shopping list

  • 1 little purple cauliflower
  • 1 Asian eggplant
  • 1 red onion
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil or ghee
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice optional
  • salt


  • 1.5 tsp of panch phoron seed mix
  • 0.5 tsp ground cumin
  • 0.5 tsp chili flakes optional


  • Cut cauliflower eggplant in 1-inch pieces.
  • Chop onion.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a PAN and stir-fry the cauliflower until brown on all sides.
  • Empty PAN in a heat resistance BOWL.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same PAN and stir-fry the onion and eggplant until brown on all sides.
  • Empty in the BOWL.
  • Heat 1 tbsp of oil in the same PAN and fry panch phoron seed mix until they pop.
  • Add the vegetables, season with cumin, salt to taste, and 1/2 cup of water.
  • Cover, bring to boil, reduce heat to slow and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked.
  • Check after 5 minutes and add some water if necessary.
  • Serve with rice or your grains of choice.


  • Squeeze lemon juice over the vegetables and sprinkle with chili flakes.
Spice Piles

3 Easy Ways to Use Spices And Herbs

Use Spices And Herbs For More Dinner Variety

Spice Piles

We like to use spices and herbs. They can bring a nice new touch to a common dish, and open up a whole world of new delicious culinary treats.

Decorative Accessory

Many people are open to new cuisines and create growing appetites for more adventurous meals. Some quick online clicks make plentiful recipes available. The recipe requires 10 new spices? You might find them at your local grocery. What happens to the spice jars after you cooked the recipe once? Do they languish in your cupboard? It really helps to know how to make spices an everyday ingredient.

Often Spices Are Used Just For One New Recipe

A large selection of spices is an essential part of most kitchens. Do you wonder if your spices are still good to use? Chances are high that they didn’t attract much attention for quite a while. Most spice racks face a life of a decorative accessory. Start enjoying your treasures today!

Keep Your Spices Flavorful

While herbs and spices usually don’t go bad, their flavor diminishes over time. Ground spices lose their bite after six months. Whole spices will last a few years. You are lucky if you have the time and passion to grind whole spices frequently. To preserve the flavor of herbs and ground spices, keep them dry and cool, and not exposed to light. Before using herbs, make sure to rub a small amount of leaves between your fingers. They should still smell good.

3 Easy Ways to Use More Spices in Your Daily Cooking

Sumac is a perfect tabletop condiment.

You can sprinkle sumac over salad and grilled meat and vegetables.

Cumin and coriander make a good pairing.

Experiment with different combinations of cumin and coriander. Start with 1 tsp of each. Then increase only cumin to 2 tsp. Later increase only coriander to 2 tsp. Taste the difference and see what you like more. Try it in a simple Rice Korma.

Herbs give a new twist to all kind of salads.

Try to add one herb per day – just one at a time – to your salad and see how you like it. For instance, use mint in a yogurt sauce for Chicken Shawarma.

Discover meals cooked in kitchens around the world.

  • Do you like the smell of fresh spices?
  • Do you want to enjoy meals from around the world?
  • Are you short in time on weekdays?

We bring the world to your kitchen with SpiceBreeze.


SpiceBreeze box