Last Updated : Jan 28,2019
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Also known as China Grass, Agar Agar, Japenese Isinglass, kanten
What is agar-agar, china grass? Derived from red seaweed, this natural thickener is mainly used as a gelling agent in desserts, puddings, pie fillings, and aspics. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It acts as a vegetarian alternative to animal-derived gelatin.
When using agar agar in recipes, always dissolve it in hot water for 30 minutes. Once it has dissolved completely, use in recipes as required. You may also coarsely powder the agar agar sheets in a mixer and then dissolve in water for faster results. Alternatively, you can use powdered agar agar to make the desserts of your choice.
Agar agar is a gelatinous substance, which consists of un branched polysaccharide obtained from cell wall of red algae.
With a knife, first slice the agar jelly horizontally and then vertically. Try to keep it equal as much as possible. Now chop agar jelly by cutting it into small pieces approximately ¼ inch in diameter, although the chopped food doesn't need to be exactly the same size. If the recipe calls for the ingredients to be "coarsely chopped," make the pieces slightly larger. Similarly if you want to "finely chop" the agar, cut it into still smaller size.
Vanilla flavoured agar-agar
How to Select agar-agar Ensure that the packaging is intact and the sheets are in dried strips form.
Agar-agar is a gelling agent made from seaweed. It is a very common vegetarian substitute of gelatin, which is non-vegetarian. It is used mostly in the food industry to set desserts like mousses, jellies and even ice creams. It doesn’t provide any after taste, is colorless and odorless, and hence used widely.
8 Uses of Agar-Agar
1. The most basic use of Agar-agar is to use it to make jellies and other desserts that require some sort of setting. It is especially used in mousses and puddings like a Chocolate Pudding or a Thandai mousse.
2. It is mainly used as an alternative to gelatin in setting of mousses and cheesecakes which involve usage of gelatin, egg yolks and egg whites.
3. It is also used in the manufacture of various glazes, icing and different confectionaries. This is because agar-agar sets at a temperature 35C and doesn’t risk the melting of the gel or set product.
For complete uses of agar-agar read this article.
How to Store agar-agar
Store agar agar in an air-tight container in a cool dry place.
Health Benefits of agar-agar 1. It acts as a mild laxative, adding bulkwithout the calories.
2. Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as a great intestinal regulator.
3. It is a fine source of iodine, calcium, iron, phosphorus and vitamins.
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