Arrowroot powder is an acceptable substitute for thickeners in recipes, such as cornstarch, potato or rice starch, or all-purpose flour. Arrowroot is a one-to-one alternative for the starches. However, when cooks need to replace flour, only half as much arrowroot is needed.
Arrowroot comes from the Maranta arundinacea plant, which is native to the Caribbean. The plant's name comes from the indigenous people of the region, who used the plant to cure poisoned arrow wounds. The starchy powder is a common ingredient in Caribbean foods. Cooks add arrowroot to thicken sauces, gravies, pie fillings and puddings. However, it does not work well in milk-based sauces because it alters their texture.