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What can I use instead of cornstarch

by (5)
Updated about 23 hours ago
Created March 12, 2012 at 3:13 AM

Hi,

my name is Bina and I'm new to paleo.

I'm looking for recipes which I could cook and because I love to eat asian food, I'm wondering if it is safe to use ingredients like: soy sauce, thai fish sauce, oyster sauce or corn starch? It's not that big amount, mostly just 2-3 Tbsp.

Please help. Thanks. Bina

7b9b5de13a30c823dae64a971cb14add
540 · June 08, 2014 at 11:34 PM

i find arrowroot is a better match for cornstarch in most recipes. tapioca thickens well but can get gummy very quickly.

7b9b5de13a30c823dae64a971cb14add
540 · June 08, 2014 at 11:32 PM

i find i always need a little extra arrowroot starch compared to cornstarch in recipes, just as a tip. also, coconut aminos are soy free and provide great umami flavor, not exactly like soy sauce though. i love tamari for the occasional use.

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1005 · June 08, 2014 at 12:22 AM

It's not like we're talking about microwaved soy protein isolate burgers.. tamari would be a filtered & watered down sauce from non-gmo / organic fermented legumes using a 3,000 year old culturally traditional process which eliminates the anti-nutrients / protease inhibitors / phytates, generally consumed in tiny amounts with a diet rich in iodine / selenium, and frequently consumed by a culture with a track record of the highest average lifespan on the planet. If grok figured out tamari, I don't think he would have been afraid to sauce it up a few times a week.

6a22828d4e12b8278d7dc8d86e70cba5
0 · June 07, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Soy sauce is not paleo. Soy is a legume, and most of it is GMO.

6a22828d4e12b8278d7dc8d86e70cba5
0 · June 07, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Soy sauce is not paleo, regardless of whether it is wheat free. Soy is a legume, and most of it is GMO.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · January 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Red Boat fish sauce has no sugar or grains. Just anchovies and sea salt.

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a
1365 · March 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Yeah. Don't worry about a tablespoon of starch in your diet. Lol. If you care THAT much, then you'll have to settle for a more watery sauce. wompwomp. Arrowroot would be considered "more" paleo because it doesn't have antinutrients you'd find in standard grains. If you can tolerate corn fairly well, since it isn't one of the worst offenders usually, then just throw some cornstarch in. It certainly is cheaper than arrowroot.

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · March 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Potatoes are nightshades and have solanine, a toxin that some people don't respond well to. Most of the solanine is near the skin, which is why it's a good idea to peel potatoes; you don't have control over what makes it into your potato starch but the stats I have seen indicate that only low levels make it into processed products like flakes and flour. Lesson is use it if it works for you.

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca
1453 · March 14, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I'm pretty sure I've read Mark Sisson or someone sensible like that saying there is no reason to worry about cornstarch in the small amounts you need it. And there isn't any fat in it, hence no Omega 6.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · March 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Coconut flour does thicken well, I haven't observed almond flour being all that great for thickening.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · March 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM

But on the spectrum of how paleo things are, corn isn't that bad.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765
2240 · March 12, 2012 at 2:12 PM

A lot of us like this: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765
2240 · March 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I just used some coconut flour to thicken up a stew recently, adding small amounts at a time until it was just right. Worked great.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921
4991 · March 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

But wouldn't nuts add unwanted N3s? I'd far rather go with a little cornstarch tan add more N3s to my diet! Rice flour, arrowroot, potato starch are good thickeners without having any of the bad things from grains.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2
11697 · March 12, 2012 at 5:59 AM

Paleo is not anything that's low carb. Tapioca is just a tuber, and it's used by many both as flour or as cassava, in moderation.

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837 · March 12, 2012 at 5:36 AM

Most fish sauces I have looked at do not contain grains, although some contain sugar - although I don't know if that's before, or after fermentation, however, but none I have seen contain soy. Tamari is less 'paleo' than fish sauce, but given that both are fermented, and you can get wheat free tamari, I've willing to use them. I use this brand of fish sauce: http://www.templeofthai.com/food/sauces/fishsauce-5110220135.php

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5904 · March 12, 2012 at 5:35 AM

Bina, in every response below you have mentioned the carb content. Paleo is not low carb. It can be but it doesn't have to be. Also, the carb content of flour used to thicken a sauce is minimal at best.

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4218 · March 12, 2012 at 5:34 AM

Simply put, arrowroot isn't derived from a grain, and cornstarch is. Also, Paleo does not mean low carb or starch. Hope this clarifies.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f
4218 · March 12, 2012 at 5:29 AM

Simply put, arrowroot isn't derived from a grain, cornstarch is. Also, Paleo does not mean low carb.

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6889 · March 12, 2012 at 4:54 AM

Corn is a grain, therefore not paleo. Arrowroot is a tuber, therefore paleo.

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Now I'm a little bit confused. Arrowroot is also a starch like cornstarch. Why it is more paleo. They have both a lot of carbs? What part of Paleo I didn't understand?

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:15 AM

One question: Tapioca flour contains a lot of carbs. Is this still paleo like?

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105 · March 12, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I agree arrowroot is great! Acts the same and you cannot taste it.(in a mixture!

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12 Answers

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a
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1365 · March 12, 2012 at 3:37 AM

Arrowroot is pretty amazing for thickening. Looks just like cornstarch.

Wheat-free Tamari for soy sauce.

You could probably make up some fish sauce using the Tamari and various fish extract/concentrate/flavoring products.

82b2aff892ca37c7a358f6a219ee4b5a
105 · March 12, 2012 at 3:51 AM

I agree arrowroot is great! Acts the same and you cannot taste it.(in a mixture!

B1859f696e88d25460a6b8a333412ea3
837 · March 12, 2012 at 5:36 AM

Most fish sauces I have looked at do not contain grains, although some contain sugar - although I don't know if that's before, or after fermentation, however, but none I have seen contain soy. Tamari is less 'paleo' than fish sauce, but given that both are fermented, and you can get wheat free tamari, I've willing to use them. I use this brand of fish sauce: http://www.templeofthai.com/food/sauces/fishsauce-5110220135.php

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:19 AM

Now I'm a little bit confused. Arrowroot is also a starch like cornstarch. Why it is more paleo. They have both a lot of carbs? What part of Paleo I didn't understand?

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f
4218 · March 12, 2012 at 5:34 AM

Simply put, arrowroot isn't derived from a grain, and cornstarch is. Also, Paleo does not mean low carb or starch. Hope this clarifies.

0382fa263de4c83328dc34a56e25437f
4218 · March 12, 2012 at 5:29 AM

Simply put, arrowroot isn't derived from a grain, cornstarch is. Also, Paleo does not mean low carb.

8dbe73235f73c615f20d3d0f34b4852a
1365 · March 19, 2012 at 6:06 PM

Yeah. Don't worry about a tablespoon of starch in your diet. Lol. If you care THAT much, then you'll have to settle for a more watery sauce. wompwomp. Arrowroot would be considered "more" paleo because it doesn't have antinutrients you'd find in standard grains. If you can tolerate corn fairly well, since it isn't one of the worst offenders usually, then just throw some cornstarch in. It certainly is cheaper than arrowroot.

D41bd7b3d3b962eb0146f471eb632f56
2029 · January 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Red Boat fish sauce has no sugar or grains. Just anchovies and sea salt.

7b9b5de13a30c823dae64a971cb14add
540 · June 08, 2014 at 11:32 PM

i find i always need a little extra arrowroot starch compared to cornstarch in recipes, just as a tip. also, coconut aminos are soy free and provide great umami flavor, not exactly like soy sauce though. i love tamari for the occasional use.

6a22828d4e12b8278d7dc8d86e70cba5
0 · June 07, 2014 at 10:03 PM

Soy sauce is not paleo. Soy is a legume, and most of it is GMO.

0faecc3397025eab246241f4dcd81f5e
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2341 · March 12, 2012 at 7:12 AM

It sounds like you are confusing paleo with a very low carb diet. Unfortunately the two have become entwined due to the fact that paleo like low carb is lower in carbs than a SAD diet.

However Paleo is about food quality - NOT about low carb. It is carb agnostic. You eat the carbs you need for your body type, metabolic state and activity level.

Paleo cuts out certain crappy carbohydrates, however you still need carbs.

So instead of grain based flour - corn, wheat, etc, you can use tuber starch - arrowroot, tapioca starch (from casava). A few teaspoons in cooking is really not very much as all.

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3049 · March 12, 2012 at 5:00 AM

You'd be surprised how well ground nuts (cocnut flour or almond flour) can thicken things as well! Be careful with commercial fish/ oyster sauces as there are often additives/ sugar, etc.

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41544 · March 14, 2012 at 1:59 PM

Coconut flour does thicken well, I haven't observed almond flour being all that great for thickening.

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765
2240 · March 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I just used some coconut flour to thicken up a stew recently, adding small amounts at a time until it was just right. Worked great.

4e184df9c1ed38f61febc5d6cf031921
4991 · March 12, 2012 at 1:06 PM

But wouldn't nuts add unwanted N3s? I'd far rather go with a little cornstarch tan add more N3s to my diet! Rice flour, arrowroot, potato starch are good thickeners without having any of the bad things from grains.

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2
1
11697 · March 12, 2012 at 3:17 AM

For soy sauce you can use tamari sauce (make sure it doesn't include wheat, read labels), or coconut aminos.

For thai fish sauce and oyster sauce read ingredients. If they include wheat or plain soy sauce then you might need to make these from scratch by yourself.

For corn starch you can use tapioca flour, or nothing. It's not always needed, even if a recipe calls for it.

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:15 AM

One question: Tapioca flour contains a lot of carbs. Is this still paleo like?

3eca93d2e56dfcd768197dc5a50944f2
11697 · March 12, 2012 at 5:59 AM

Paleo is not anything that's low carb. Tapioca is just a tuber, and it's used by many both as flour or as cassava, in moderation.

7b9b5de13a30c823dae64a971cb14add
540 · June 08, 2014 at 11:34 PM

i find arrowroot is a better match for cornstarch in most recipes. tapioca thickens well but can get gummy very quickly.

6a22828d4e12b8278d7dc8d86e70cba5
0 · June 07, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Soy sauce is not paleo, regardless of whether it is wheat free. Soy is a legume, and most of it is GMO.

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0
60 · June 09, 2014 at 5:36 AM

A good replacement for Cornstarch can be coconut flour, tapioca starch or almond flour. For soy sauce raw coconut aminos and Tamarind sauce are quite good replacement.

6a22828d4e12b8278d7dc8d86e70cba5
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0 · June 07, 2014 at 9:59 PM

Nobody has addressed the fact that soy sauce is not paleo. Soy is a legume! Furthermore, in the USA almost all soy production is GMO and sprayed with pesticides. GMOs are definitely not paleo. If you need a soy sauce substitute, use Coconut Secret's coconut aminos. It's available on Vitacost.com and some co-ops have it.

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10234 · January 19, 2013 at 8:49 PM

Protein is a good thickening agent. It causes stock/bone broth to solidify as it cools. This is the basis for all gelatin powder thickeners, though I don't know whether Knox passes all the Paleo tests.

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0 · January 19, 2013 at 8:37 PM

The best fish sauce is Red Boat- no sugar added. They have two "strengths", and the 50 degree is more expensive but has more flavor and you can use less.

https://redboatfishsauce.com/index.html

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41544 · March 14, 2012 at 1:57 PM

Cornstarch is rather innocuous, I don't think going for an alternative over it is all that big of a deal. Health benefits from an alternative are minimal at best. You can use other starches, but they're still starches and you're only avoiding corn allergens. I have potato starch on hand for my thickening purposes, though I'm not really opposed to cornstarch if it's preferable for some reason.

Fish sauce, even if it contains sugar, is not a big deal either. The amount of added sugar is minimal, on the order of the sugars found in vegetables (i.e. not that freaking much).

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5 · March 14, 2012 at 9:39 AM

Hi,

how is it with potatoe starch? Potatoes are not grains, so would that be ok?

Thanks

C56baa1b4f39839c018180bf63226f7d
3499 · March 14, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Potatoes are nightshades and have solanine, a toxin that some people don't respond well to. Most of the solanine is near the skin, which is why it's a good idea to peel potatoes; you don't have control over what makes it into your potato starch but the stats I have seen indicate that only low levels make it into processed products like flakes and flour. Lesson is use it if it works for you.

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
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5 · March 12, 2012 at 5:43 AM

Thanks for all your answers.

Perhaps I just have to sort my mind a little bit. In the last days I read a lot about Paleo and LCHF. For me, this to diets sounds very similar, but they are not really, they just have both some similar points.

I have to find out, what diet form I would like to follow ...

0df0b1c6ae16bbb75b4a5efa3d876765
2240 · March 12, 2012 at 2:12 PM

A lot of us like this: http://www.archevore.com/get-started/

D600f54ab6c923a1323a57ef3c766ab5
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5 · March 12, 2012 at 4:22 AM

Now I'm really confused.

Why cornstarch isn't paleo but arrowroot or tapioca flour, are paleo? They are all mostly starches with high amounts of carbs ...

41dfb1a4fecb38d24075ff52f13ccb28
6889 · March 12, 2012 at 4:54 AM

Corn is a grain, therefore not paleo. Arrowroot is a tuber, therefore paleo.

32f5749fa6cf7adbeb0b0b031ba82b46
41544 · March 14, 2012 at 1:58 PM

But on the spectrum of how paleo things are, corn isn't that bad.

D63a9a7789b948a1e88647f6c0e504ca
1453 · March 14, 2012 at 4:32 PM

I'm pretty sure I've read Mark Sisson or someone sensible like that saying there is no reason to worry about cornstarch in the small amounts you need it. And there isn't any fat in it, hence no Omega 6.

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