One of my readers wanted to learn more about gluten-free cooking. If you are on a gluten-free diet you are already aware that you can no longer use white flour to thicken your gravies and sauces. A great substitute is potato flour. I use it in recipes such as beef stew.
3-4 cups gluten free broth (chicken, beef or vegetable)
2-4 Tablespoons flour or starch (preferably brown or white rice flour), or less of xanthan gum mixed with oil
For Gluten Free Brown Gravy
I place about 1 tablespoon of potato flour, your favorite gluten free all purpose flour, cornstarch, potato starch, or arrowroot powder in a small left-over container and add about 2-4 tablespoons of water to potato flour (less for starch); cover with a lid; and shake vigorously. For starches, use 1 part starch and 1-2 parts water.
I slowly pour the flour mixture into my broth and stir as I am pouring it in. It will take a little while to thicken, and as with any flour, as the mixture cools it will become even thicker. Note that the use of starches tends to thins the gravy when reheating.
For Gluten Free Asian Sauces
For Asian dishes I like to use tapioca flour, as it is sweeter and provides a nice glaze. It acts much like corn starch, but a healthier choice, per my nutritionist.
I just add this in to my recipe on the stove, without any water. It melts right in.
Other Ways of Thickening Sauces
You can use potatoes, rice, beans and vegetables such as onion, celery, bell peppers and more, to thicken sauces by over-cooking them. Once they break down they naturally thicken a sauce, or you can puree them in a blender or food processor.
UPDATE: My most recent favorite way to thicken gravy is to use brown rice flour. You can even throw it in without having to worry about clumping or adding it to water first.
To naturally thicken gravy, add lots of sauteed vegetables such as onion and celery and puree them into broth. Season to taste.