Is cornstarch included in your quarantine food shopping list?
If not, you may wanna consider reading this article to the end.
Affordable and Versatile
Cornstarch is an affordable and versatile pantry staple with a long shelf life.
Here are some of its many fully-tested functions:
- For a velvety and restaurant-quality gravy, add a spoonful of cornstarch diluted in water to your meat or chicken sauce and stir for a couple of minutes over low heat.
- For feather-light sponge cakes, add cornstarch to all-purpose flour, it lends to cakes a fluffy texture.
- For luscious puddings, made in no time, add one tablespoon for every cup of liquid—let it be either juice, fruit puree, dairy, or non-dairy milk. For recipes inspiration, check this Eggless Chocolate Pudding recipe.
- For an authentic crispy schnitzel, dredge your chicken, meat, or pork fillet in cornstarch first to absorb the moisture, before plunging them in eggs and breadcrumbs, prior to frying them in hot oil.
- For super crispy onion garnish to my Kushari recipe, I generously shower the onions slices with cornstarch before frying.
The “Zero Food Waste” Initiative
My commitment to the #zerofoodwaste initiative by the WFP (World Food Program) has been quite an inspiration. I now look at leftovers with a pair of fresh eyes that constantly figure meals’ possibilities out of leftovers.
In the context of our ongoing quarantine, the commitment to eliminate food waste is serving me well.
Now and more than ever before, I regularly check my pantry and fridge to plan ahead of time my family meals, to avoid excessive food shopping.
Cooking with fewer ingredients is another approach that I am focused to embrace. Meals made with fewer ingredients, in most cases, cost less time, energy, and money to prepare.
Two weeks ago, the resourceful blogger Nivin who runs the stellar food blog Nivin’s Kitchen launched on her Instagram page a cooking challenge, which is cooking with just four ingredients.
Motivated by this wonderful initiative, I checked my fridge to find an open box of coconut cream that was last touched when I made the filling of my Tropical Kunafeh Cups.
What is a “Faux Coconut Pannacotta”
Instead of gelatin, “This Faux Coconut Pannacotta” is held together due to the cornstarch.
There is no added sugar nor dairy milk. In other words, it is vegan and sugar/gluten-free.
Making eggless puddings using cornstarch is a deep-rooted tradition in the Middle easter and it is called Muhalabeya.
This gluten-free dessert took no more than 20 minutes of active time, and a couple of hours to chill in the fridge.
To cut through the richness of coconut cream, I served the dessert with a tangy apricot sauce. It is that glistening orange pool on which lays the coconut pannacotta (see the photo below).
To make the apricot sauce, I blended some water with dried apricot and thickened it over low heat, while mixing in with the same magic powder—cornstarch.
You can leave the dessert as is, or garnish it with whatever you like. In my version, I used toasted coconut flakes and crushed pistachios to add some crunch to the velvety pudding texture.
This dessert was the just-right “Friday Night Treat” after a long week of homeschooling.
It is naturally sweetened, and gluten/sugar/guilt-free.
While many of us stopped counting our days in the quarantine, we should continue counting our blessings.
Having a roof over our heads and a bite to share with our loved ones should never be taken for granted.
Stay safe and healthy everyone.
Faux Coconut Pannacotta: مهلبية جوز الهند و صوص قمر الدين
Makes two individual servings
Faux Coconut Pannacotta
- 1 cup of coconut cream
- 1 cup of water
- 3 tablespoons of cornflour, diluted in 1/4 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of chopped dried apricots
- 1/2 cup of water
- 2 tablespoons of cornflour
- Coconut flakes
- Crushed pistachios
- Make the coconut pudding. Mix together in a heavy bottom pan, the coconut cream, water, and diluted cornflour. Stir with a wooden spoon until the mixture thickens and has the consistency of a white sauce. Let it come to room temperature. Wipe the molds with coconut or neutral oil. Pour the coconut pannacotta inside the molds and chill in the fridge.
- Make the apricot sauce. Add the dried apricots and the water to a blender and blitz it is the liquid is smooth and lump-free
- Plate the dish. Unmold the coconut Faux Panacotta over a serving dish. Carefully add the apricot sauce around the Faux Pannacotta. Sprinkle some toasted coconut flakes and pistachios.
- Serve cold.