Made from several types of seaweed, agar agar is a great vegetarian alternative to gelatine. A natural gelling agent, this thickener is made from red seaweed. It is used throughout the world and is sold in a form of a powder that is mixed with water to make a gelling agent. Sold as strips or powder, it is a white semi-translucent substance, commonly known as vegetarian gelatin. It is often used to make jellies, puddings and custard. It is mainly used as an ingredient in desserts. It is also a vegetarian substitute to gelatin and can be used as a thickener for soups, in fruit preservatives, ice creams etc. It makes a firm jelly which sets without refrigeration and does not melt in hot weather. It is sold in bundles of dried translucent threads or packets of powder/flakes.
In the strip form, put the agar in hot water until it dissolves and then use accordingly to recipe. Powder agar should be dissolved in hot water and be brought up to a boil. Both forms can then be mixed with warmed ingredients.
Aside from desserts like pudding, mousses, cheesecakes,jellies, and custards, savory dishes like aspics also use agar. Aspics are a clear jelly dish made from meat stock or clear soup which are filled with almost any foods.
It has no sugar, fat or calories. It has a high content of fiber and thus is great for digestion, can also act as a laxative.
Did you know?
It is also known as china grass or king of fibrous foods.