Do different kind of starch works differently cooked?


We have corn starch, potato starch, tapioka starch, and many more. Some recipes call for one but not the other, but by the end of the day they all are starches right? Like, table salt is table salt be it from the sea or the lake, fine or chunky.

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They have differences between them, like sea salt, table salt and celery salt. Starches can have different thickening times and flavouring depending on what you use.

Different starches add different flavours and smells too food. Rice starch for instance, doesn’t add to the flavour but adds more to the thickness of food which might otherwise have a harsh, grating flavour. Corn starch adds more to mild vegetables like slightly fried celery and onions but wouldn’t work with fried beetroot or other strongly flavoured vegetables etc. Finally, some starches are essential for regional flavours. Rice starch for South Asian food, corn starch for Chinese and American food, etc. Hope this helped.

Starches are a little more complex than salts due to the fact that there are broadly speaking two different kinds of starch.

Starch is very long chains of sugar that are bonded together. A single long chain with just one sugar molecule after another you get version of starch called amylose. However the sugar molecules can also form branched chains, where one long chain is branched of into two new chains. This kind of branched starch molecule is called amylopectin.

These two versions of starch have different properties and will behave differently in cooking and will for example absorb water differently, have different clarity when dissolved, will gelatinze and crystalize differently. And different plants will contain varying amounts of the two starches. Some will contain more branched starches, some more straight starches, which will give different starches different properties.