Kudzu is an Asian plant with many beneficial properties but is still little known in our country. It can be found in specialized stores, mainly in the form of powder. Find out how to use it in cooking and some tips to include it in recipes.
Kudzu is a wild plant with the scientific name Pueraria lobata, belonging to the family of Fabaceae (or Leguminosae) and originating from Eastern Asia. From its root is obtained a starch called kudzu or kuzu, rich in mineral salts such as calcium, iron and phosphor, and carbohydrates. This gluten-free starch is easily used in cooking and as a remedy for minor health problems.
Before seeing its uses in cooking, we should mention that one of the most interesting properties of kudzu seems to help against addictions to smoke and alcohol. Moreover it is a good remedy against intestinal troubles (it is also a valid help in case of flu because it rebalances the bacterial flora) and helps in digestion. Let’s see now, instead, all the uses of kudzu in cooking.
How to use kudzu in cooking: preparation and tips
Type and preparation of kudzu
In commerce, in specialized organic stores, it is easy to find starch from Pueraria Lobata root. As already mentioned this starch is gluten free, therefore it can also be consumed by celiac people.
Besides being used as a starch and as a supplement for its properties, it is an excellent thickener and can be used in vegan or traditional cooking, in many preparations. For fans of macrobiotic cooking it is a very important ingredient for many recipes.
Kudzu is sold in glass jars in the form of agglomerates of white powder which, before being used, for convenience must be reduced to powder. Here’s how you can go about it:
- Take some white stones out of the jar and pound them
- Use the amount you need and pour it into cold water and stir
- At this point add the solution to your baking preparations, stir continuously for a few minutes until it reaches the desired consistency.
Taste and use of kudzu in cooking
Kudzu has a neutral taste, this makes it a very versatile ingredient in cooking. One of the most common uses of kuzu is to thicken sauces, soups, compotes, creams, ice creams and puddings, used in a percentage of about 10% in relation to liquids (for example: for 100 ml of liquid will be used 10 gr of kudzu, for 200 ml of liquid will be used 20 gr of kudzu and so on).
In these cases kudzu must be melted when cold (as shown in the previous paragraph), and as for creams and puddings, the preparation must be subsequently allowed to congeal in the refrigerator for at least a couple of hours.
Whereas in case you want to use it as a starch in bakery products, we suggest you to use it in the measure of 10% in relation to the flour, it will ensure more softness and fragrance. If instead you want to make the most of the beneficial properties, you can prepare a drink to drink, for example, after meals. Let’s see how to prepare it:
- Dissolve 1 teaspoon of kudzu powder in half a cup of cold water;
- Pour the mixture into a small saucepan and simmer over low heat, stirring often;
- At some point the liquid will change color, becoming transparent and thick. Let it cool and then drink it.
Recommended pairings with kudzu
As already said kudzu, having no predominant taste, is very neutral and this means it can be used in any preparation. As a thickener in any creamy soup, in ice creams and puddings, whether they are made of chocolate or fruit, and in any type of bakery cake associated to any type of other flour. Because of its completely vegetal origin it is also a useful ingredient in vegan cooking and it can be used with any kind of combination.
If you want to use kuzu based beverage as a depurative, it can be associated to drinks or herbal teas made of detox plants.
Cooking in the world
In the oriental world is known the combination of three macrobiotic ingredients (umeboshi, shoyu and kudzu) which gives life to a beverage called Ume-Sho-Kudzu with a strong depurative and detoxifying power, which restores order to the stomach and belly. It is prepared by melting a teaspoon of kudzu in a cup of water to which is added a umeboshi plum, stir and bring to boiling point. At the end is then added a tablespoon of soy sauce.
Kuzu will keep well for several months, it is enough to store it in a cool and dry place away from sunlight. In any case, we recommend that you check and take into account the expiration date and the storage methods listed on the package.