What Is Potato Starch?
Potato starch is called “Katakuri-ko” in Japanese. It’s originally starch powder made from rhizome of the plant named “katakuri”. What is mass-produced and distributed these days is actually starch powder made from potato. So, it’s called potato starch in English.
Japanese people often use potato starch when making batter of tempura and karaage, and when thickening a dish. Also, it’s used when making Japanese sweets.
Besides those, people use potato starch to keep radish rice cake or potato rice cake together. I mean, it can be used as a binder when cooking.
Good Substitutes for Potato Starch
Potato starch is very common material in Japan, but it’s not always familiar ingredient for everyone in the world, I think.
So, I want to introduce the best 11 substitutes for potato starch. Here, potato starch means the one used as a binder in cooking, and the following substitutes are not for potato starch when making batter for deep-fried dishes such as tempura and karaage.
Maybe corn starch is the most well-known substitute for potato starch. Although corn starch has lower viscosity than potato starch, the thickening continues even when the temperature drops. That is why corn starch is suitable for making confectionery to eat in the cold such as custard cream.
This competent seasoning, corn starch, is available for not only making desserts but also for a binder in cooking.
All the ingredients of potato starch are starch, on the other hand, flour contains 10-20 percentage of protein. Due to this protein, the texture is different from the dishes using potato starch as a binder. Potato starch as a binder makes texture of the dish lighter, while the dishes using flour as a binder gets tougher texture. So, be careful not putting too much flour when using it as a binder.
Actually, gluten contained in flour will come out if you stir too much, and it makes tough texture. So, you should be careful about that too.
You may be surprised at this substitute, water. But actually water can be a binder in cooking too.
If you use only salt, sugar, and water as a binder when making hamburg steak, it will be really juicy and delicious!
One thing you should be careful about water is that the finished dish may become hard if it uses water as a binder.
ちょっと型崩れたけど、ためしてガッテンのハンバーグ。— Honey 39 (@5BMNeYxTTGu0R7f) September 24, 2018
Eggs that harden easily when heated are also typical binders.
The texture of the dish will differ compared to the one used flour or potato starch as a binder: you can taste more fluffy dish by adding eggs.
Another good thing is that it would be healthier because it does not contain much carbohydrates.
Potato is, as you know, the raw material of potato starch. I wouldn’t say using real potato is totally the same as using potato starch. But you can absolutely use it as a substitute.
I recommend to grate the potato and squeeze a little water before using. Be careful not squeezing too much water from potato, otherwise it won’t work well as a binder.
In Japan, bread crumbs are often used as a binder for hamburg steak. So, when you need potato starch as a binder on the recipe, bread crumbs can be substitute.
Bread crumbs in hamburg steak can lock in the flavor (umami).
When you have no eggs nor bread crumbs, you can use tofu instead. Please make sure to drain water properly before using tofu as a binder.
Good thing is that tofu contains rich protein, and low in calories.
Fu (Wheat Gluten)
Wheat gluten, called “Fu” in Japanese, is also good substitute for potato starch as a binder. Fu is made by extracting gluten from wheat first and mixing the gluten with wheat.
If you will use fu as a binder, please grate it with grater. It’s going to be like bread crumbs. Since it doesn’t have strong smell or unique taste, it won’t ruin the taste of the dish.
Okara (Soy Milk Pulp)
Okara is the soybean pomace that comes out when making tofu. Although there is a lot of dietary fiber that could make the dish a little hard, good thing about using okara as binder is it contains rich protein.
You may find the powder type of okara at stores these days, and it can be stored for a long time.
I think a lot of Asian grocery stores have enoki mushrooms. If you have a chance, please try to use it as a binder once. Or maybe it can be even one of the ingredient in the dish, it’s very tasty.
When you heat the enoki mushrooms, it becomes sticky. This is exactly the reason why you can use it as a binder. You need to mince it in advance, and mix it with other ingredient such as grated meat.
Great things about enoki mushrooms are that it contains abundant dietary fibers, it’s very low in calories, and it can make the dish moist and nice because the mushrooms contains much moisture.
In Japan, people often use flour or potato starch when making the okonomiyaki dough. Some people like to use Chinese yam to make it fluffy.
I highly recommend to do this, and please check the easy recipe for making fluffy okonomiyaki with yam here!
Best Fluffy OKONOMIYAKI Recipe
Besides okonomiyaki, you can use Chinese yam as a binder for various dishes including hamburg steak.