Xanthan Gum: Homogenous harmony

Xanthan Gum: Homogenous harmony

Our sauces fell apart, we had failed before we’d even started, we couldn’t sell it like this. Our business is a non starter… 

This is my short blog post on why we was forced into using xanthan gum in our jars of sauces and exactly what it has done to help save our sauce business.

It’s no secret, we make Thai food and have been since 2011. For those of you who are well versed in Thai cuisine, you will know that a real Thai curry (Like the ones found in, well, Thailand of course) are quite a soupy affair. A real Thai Green curry is watery almost broth like.

Imagine being in a Thai restaurant for the first time and the waitress serves you up a bowl of spicy dark green watery liquid filled with stringy herbs, mushrooms and aubergines. It can be a visual shock to the system. Not something that  we are used to being presented with in the UK and for this reason alone most peoples first time eating Thai food could also be their last because it turns out the Brits like to eat with their eyes.

To improve the visual appearance, texture and consistency of the curry’s I sold in my restaurant, a small amount of diluted cornflour is used to thicken up the sauces. The results are a Thai curry that looks smooth, creamy, thick and luxurious! Brilliant, now all we have to do is hot fill this delicious creamy sauce into a glass jar and we have a Thai curry sauce business.

Not exactly... Here's where it went wrong. After a week or two of our creamy curry sauces sitting in the jar, the body of the sauce began to fall apart. The cornflour that once thickened up the sauce was not enough to bind the oils (coconut milk) and the waters in the sauce together. The sauces began to separate over time. it took around three weeks before the cornflour lost its viscosity and the sauce began to split.

We knew that more cornflour could be used to create a liquid that is thick enough that the oils and waters are unable to split apart. Therefore we added more cornflour to create an even thicker sauce. but now the sauce became an overly thick goopy mess, also with the extra cornflour added the flavour was reduced.

Because of excessive cornflour, our sauces were now the complete wrong texture and wrong flavour.

We needed an emulsion to bind together the oils and waters in the sauce to stabilise it and prevent it from splitting over time. Something reliable, colourless and tasteless. 

This is when we finally had to substitute the cornflour with Xanthan gum. Having done a trial run on four jars of sauces, two using the cornflour and two using the Xanthan gum, it is clear to see how well the sauces held up after three weeks in the jar. 

it is clear to see the immediate benefits of swapping out the cornflour with the Xanthan Gum.

The two middle jars contain only the cornflour. the sauce has split into the oil and water counterparts. Still perfectly edible once shaken up, but not very appealing to the customer. Whereas the two outer jars of curry sauce contain the small amount of Xanthan gum diluted in water.

The oils and water inside the jars are homogenised together into one creamy sauce consistency. The colour of sauces containing the Xanthan gum are true to their original colour and thanks to the tastelessness of the xanthan gum, we have created a tastier product than with the cornflour!

Thanks to the Xanthan gum, we could now continue on with our plans to create our own brand of Thai cooking sauces!

So there you have it, that is the reason why we resorted to replacing the cornflour with Xanthan gum in our sauces. Be sure to checkout our full range of delicious Thai curry sauces on our online shop by clicking the link below. 





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