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Mad X

Photo: Oxmoor House


Hands-on time 10 mins
Total time 10 mins
Yield Serves 9 (serving size: 1/4 cup)
Xanthan gum was discovered by Allene Rosalind Jeanes, an influential (WWII-era) U.S. government chemist. It's a polysaccharide that forms as a by-product of bacterial fermentation of sugars. It's not nearly as "chemical-y" as it sounds, however, and can be found in non-GMO form at natural foods markets. While it has become a star in the molecular gastronomy movement and is a key ingredient in gluten-free baked goods, there's little modern about it at all. It's been in our food chain since the late sixties and is found in everything from ice cream to bottled salad dressings--we'll use it in dressings, too. Break out your bell-bottoms. 


  • 2 cups fat-free lower-sodium chicken broth or vegetable broth
  • 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum or cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup very warm water (120° to 150°)

Nutrition Information

  • calories 3
  • fat 0.1 g
  • satfat 0.0 g
  • monofat 0.0 g
  • polyfat 0.0 g
  • protein 0.0 g
  • carbohydrate 0.0 g
  • fiber 0.0 g
  • cholesterol 1 mg
  • iron 0.0 mg
  • sodium 213 mg
  • calcium 0.0 mg

How to Make It

  1. Put the broth in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high and bring to a full, though not out-of-control, boil.

  2. Combine the xanthan gum and warm water (or cornstarch and warm water). Be particularly mindful when using the xanthan; use a fork and keep the water moving vigorously while slowly sprinkling in the gum.

  3. Pour the gum mixture into the boiling liquid. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 1 minute. Pour into a heatproof container; cover and reserve for use in various emulsified preparations throughout the book. It'll last for a few days, well refrigerated.

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