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Corn starch, cornstarch, cornflour or maize starch is the starch derived from the corn (maize) grain. The starch is obtained from the endosperm of the corn kernel. Corn starch is a popular food ingredient used in thickening sauces or soups, and is used in making corn syrup and other sugars.
Corn starch is used as a thickening agent in liquid-based foods (e.g., soup, sauces, gravies, custard), usually by mixing it with a lower-temperature liquid to form a paste or slurry. It is sometimes preferred over flour alone because it forms a translucent mixture, rather than an opaque one. As the starch is heated, the molecular chains unravel, allowing them to collide with other starch chains to form a mesh, thickening the liquid (Starch gelatinization). It is usually included as an anti-caking agent in powdered sugar (10X or confectioner's sugar). Baby powder often includes cornstarch among its ingredients.
A common substitute is arrowroot, which replaces corn starch on a 1:1 ratio.
Corn starch added to a batter which coated chicken nuggets increased oil absorption and crispness after the latter stages of frying.