Agar is a gelatinous substance made from seaweed. 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.
What I love about this sweet jelly is that it’s easy to make and looks impressive: the coconut milk separates and sets to form two layers, the top is white and the bottom is translucent. The agar agar sets the jelly without refrigeration and does not melt in hot weather making it perfect for summer.
- 10g agar agar strands
- 350ml fresh coconut milk
- 350ml water
- 85g caster sugar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
First soak the agar agar in a bowl of water for 10 minutes until softened. Drain and cut the strands in half and pop into a saucepan. Add the coconut milk and water to the pan and bring to the boil. Simmer over moderately high heat, stirring frequently and keeping a close eye so it does not bubble over. Cook until all the agar agar strands have completely dissolved, about 15-20 minutes. Turn the heat off, add the sugar and salt, stirring until both are completely dissolved.
Pour into a container, approximately 17cm x 12cm x 5cm, let it set at room temperature, then cover and refrigerate. The jelly will stay fresh and moist for several days if covered in 1cm of cold water. Cut into diamonds or slices and serve. It should be firm enough to pick up with your fingers.
cooking time: 25 mins