Adventures in Cooking: Cornstarch

I wonder if, when Martin Luther King Jr was making speeches, organizing boycotts, and generally leading the Civil Rights movement, he ever thought that he would have a holiday named after him? I love MLK day because it comes at the perfect time of year. It’s pretty close to the longer breaks around Christmas and New Years, so you don’t feel the need to do any intense merry-making, but can simply stay home and do things that need to get done.

What does a three-day weekend mean for the Hall household? It means we’re simultaneously caught up on sleep, dishes, and laundry! But wait, there’s more… Two of the dinners this week have included vegetables!! “But, Becky,” you may be thinking, “there have only been two dinners so far this week.” Heck yes there have! The Hall household is currently two for two on veggie consumption this week! Best homemakers of the year award right here! (If you think veggies should be consumed at meals other than dinner, your expectations are unrealistic and you’re ruining my moment.) So thank you, Rev. King, for your contributions toward race equality in this country, but also for a three-day weekend that means a cleaner, healthier household for my little family :-)

As part of the long weekend, I tried out a new recipe for Teriyaki Chicken. We had grown tired of my last Teriyaki Chicken recipe after we had to eat leftovers of it for a week and a half straight, and the picture on pinterest looked different enough to be tasty. Of course I later saw the same picture linked to two additional recipes, so who knows how it was really made. I would show you how mine turned out, but I was too busy eating it. Oops.

Anyway, the recipe was simple enough except that it involved cornstarch at the end to make the sauce. I hate working with cornstarch. It always clumps no matter how much I stir and it always seems to need more than the recipe calls for to get proper thickness, so I keep adding more at little at a time until suddenly I have a glaze instead of a sauce. Ugh!

Obviously the solution to the second problem is to be more patient, since it takes a little while for it to thicken, but that still didn’t solve my clumping problem. Until I read this recipe. It instructs you to mix the cornstarch with an equal amount of cold water before adding it to the sauce. Genius! The cornstarch dissolved beautifully in the cold water without any clumping! Then I was simply able to pour the mixture into the sauce and it came out perfectly.

Of course I have no idea whether this is a transferable concept (maybe mixing the cornstarch with water has some unknown effects in addition to the obvious one?), but you can bet I’m going to transfer it every chance I get until some disaster occurs :-D

Oh and by the way, this recipe was delicious! Trey even said it was just like the kind we had at Miyabi’s, but he might have been exaggerating a bit ;-)




12 boneless skinless chicken thighs (about 3 pounds)
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup soy sauce
6 tablespoons cider vinegar
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4-1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
4-1/2 teaspoons cold water
Hot cooked rice, optional


1. Place chicken in a 4-qt. slow cooker.
2. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, ginger, garlic and pepper. Pour over chicken. 3. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until chicken is tender.
4. Remove chicken to a serving platter; keep warm.
5. Skim fat from cooking juices; transfer to a small saucepan. Bring liquid to a boil.
6. Combine cornstarch and water until smooth. Gradually stir into the pan. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with chicken and rice if desired.

*image and recipe from


  • Grandma Kate says:

    Looks delicious! The cold water with cornstarch trick works well with flour when thickening gravy too.
    Great job trying new recipes!!
    Proud of you. Grandma

  • Tammy Hall says:

    Oooooh! I’m gonna try this. You know I love crock pot recipes

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