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How to Use Agar Agar

Three Methods:

Preparing Agar Agar

Using Agar Agar in Cooking

Using Agar Agar for Health Purposes

Agar Agar--also known as kanten, Japanese gelatin, vegetable gelatin,


Chinese isinglass, China glass, and dai choy goh--is a vegan gelling agent
derived from seaweed. It has many uses but is used primarily in cooking. Agar
agar is odorless, tasteless, and has only 3 calories per gram. This article will
teach you how to prepare Agar and some of the different ways it can be used.

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Method 1 of 3: Preparing Agar Agar

Find Agar and decide which form works best for you. Agar usually comes in
three forms: powder, flakes, or a bar. All three work equally well; the real difference

is ease of preparation. Powdered Agar is usually the easiest to use, as it can be


substituted for gelatin in a 1:1 ratio (1 teaspoon gelatin is equivalent to 1 teaspoon Agar
powder).[1] The powder also dissolves easier than flakes or bars.If you're not sure which
type to use, default to the powdered Agar.
Agar bars are white, lightweight and made of freeze-dried Agar. They can be
ground in a coffee or spice grinder so they dissolve easier or can be broken up
by hand. One bar is equivalent to 2 teaspoons of Agar powder.[2]
Agar flakes can also be ground in a coffee or spice grinder and are less
concentrated than the powder. They are white and look a little like fish food. 2
tablespoons of Agar is roughly equivalent to 2 teaspoons of Agar powder.[3]
Look for Agar in natural food stores, Asian grocery stores, or online.[4]
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Add Agar to the liquid and mix with a whisk. The firmness of the gel is determined by

the amount of Agar you add. If your recipe doesn't give you a measurement, you
can follow this rule of thumb: to thicken 1 cup (.25 liters) of liquid, use 1 teaspoon

Agar powder, 1 tablespoon Agar flakes, or 1/2 Agar bar.[5]


If you are substituting gelatin with Agar you can use the same amount of Agar
powder to thicken the recipe. Otherwise, for every teaspoon of gelatin you will
need to use 1 tablespoon flakes or 1/2 bar.
If you are trying to jellify a somewhat acidic liquid, such as those derived from
citrus fruits or strawberry, you may need to add more Agar.[6]
Some fruits are too acidic or contain enzymes that prevent gelling and must be
broken down by being cooked first. These fruits include kiwi, pineapple, fresh
figs, papaya, mango, and peaches.[7]
Using canned versions of these fruits will cut out the extra step of cooking them,
since canned fruits have all been pre-cooked.[8] You can also hydrate the Agar
in boiling water and then mix in the acidic liquid.[9]

Bring the solution to a boil and allow it to simmer. The powder should simmer

[10]

Stir the solution until the Agar is completely dissolved. This process will hydrate the

for about 5 minutes while the flakes and bars should take between 10-15 minutes.

Agar, which will allow it to jellify the liquid when it cools.[11]


Warm up the liquid as much as possible. One advantage of Agar is that it
begins to set at a higher temperature than gelatin, so it is a solid at room
temperature or even when you warm it up. The liquid will begin to gel when it
falls below 113F (45C). Because the addition of other ingredients may cause
the temperature to drop and the Agar to set before you are ready, getting the
liquid as hot as you can will make it less likely to drop below 113F (45C) until
you remove it from heat.[12]
If you are making an alcoholic gel, boil the Agar with any juices or mixers first,
then whisk the alcohol in at the very last moment. This will prevent the alcohol
from evaporating.[13]

Pour the mixture into a mold or container and leave it out at roomtemperature to gel. The mixture will begin to gel when it reaches 104F to 113F

(40C to 45C) and will stay in this form as long as it stays below 175F (80C). You
don't need to refrigerate the gel unless you want to serve it cool, so you can leave your
dish sitting out at room-temperature without it melting or collapsing.[14]
If you're not sure if you used the right amount of Agar, pour a small amount in a
cold bowl to see if it firm up. If it doesn't set after 30 seconds, add more Agar. If
it's too firm for your liking, add more liquid.[15]
Don't stir or shake the Agar jelly until it has completely set, or it will collapse.[16]
Don't grease, line, or oil the mold before pouring in the mixture. It should pop
out of your mold just fine, and these things can actually affect how well your
mixture gels.[17]
Unlike gelatin, you can melt the gelled mixture (if you wanted to add another
ingredient, pour it into a different mold, add more agar to make the gel more
firm or add more liquid to soften it), bring it to a boil again, then cool it again
without compromising its gelling abilities.[18]
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Method 2 of 3: Using Agar Agar in Cooking

Make jelly candies by preparing Agar with fruit juices or sweetened milk.
Agar is tasteless and will take on the taste of whatever it is mixed with, giving you

endless flavor possibilities. These candies will stay firm at room temperature, so you can
leave them out in a little dish or bowl without worrying about them melting and making a
mess. Try mixing agar with teas, juices, broth, coffee--anything that sounds tasty to you!
[19]

Try boiling chocolate milk with agar powder, then adding a pinch of cinnamon.
Pour it into little glasses to cool for a rich treat.
Remember certain acidic fruits may require extra steps, as their acidity or
enzymes interfere with Agar's ability to gel.[20]
Pour the mixture in silicone molds in cute shapes. Then your jelly candies can
look like stars, kittens, hearts, shells, or any other shapes you can find.

Make edible cocktails with agar. You can prepare little gelatinous shots for
parties by boiling your mixers with Agar. After allowing the mixture to simmer and

the Agar to dissolve and disperse, add the alcohol and stir. Pour the mixture into shot
glasses or ice cube molds and allow them to set.[21]
Try mixing agar with the ingredients for a hot toddy and serve the cubes warm
at holiday parties.

Use Agar as a substitute for egg whites. If you have a recipe that calls for egg
whites but you are vegan, allergic to eggs, or simply don't like them, Agar is a

suitable replacement. To replace one egg, mix 1 tablespoon Agar powder in 1


tablespoon of water. Use an immersion blender or whisk to vigorously whip the mixture,
then put it in the refrigerator to chill. Once the mixture is cool, take it out and whip it a
second time. This mixture should perform the same function as egg whites in your
baking and won't even alter the taste or color.[22]

Make vegan puddings or custards with an Agar fluid gel. Gelatinous desserts
usually call for a lot of eggs for thickening and texture. Instead of eggs, try making

a basic gelled mixture of Agar and water, following the steps in method 1. Use a blender

or an immersion blender to puree the gel until smooth.[23] Mix this in with your other
ingredients and you'll find you have a delicious, eggless dessert.
If you want to thicken the pudding or custard, add a little xanthan gum.[24]
If you want to thin out the dessert, stir in a little water or another liquid.[25]
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Method 3 of 3: Using Agar Agar for Health Purposes

Use Agar as an appetite suppressant. Agar expands in your stomach, which


tricks you into thinking you are full. It's know as the "kanten diet" in Japan and is

used by many to try and prevent them from eating too much.[26] People with type 2
Diabetes who supplemented their diet with Agar lost a significant amount of weight and
improved their metabolism.[27] It may also help stabilize blood sugar levels.[28]
Make sure you check with your doctor before embarking on this diet.
Make snacks using Agar to stay full throughout the day, or mix it into your meals
so you stop eating sooner than you normally would.
Be aware that Agar can also stimulate your intestines and make you need to
use the bathroom.[29]
Make sure you take Agar with at least 8 oz. of water, otherwise the Agar can
swell and possibly block your esophagus or intestines.[30]

Use Agar pills to stimulate bowel movements and act as a laxative. Agar is
80% fiber, so it can be helpful if you need to relieve constipation. It should never,

however, be used when you have a bowel obstruction (a kink or blockage in your
intestines that prevents you from passing gas or having a bowel movement), as this can
make the obstruction much worse.[31]
If you have sudden, severe pain in your abdomen, swelling in your abdomen,
and vomit or become nauseous, do not take Agar. Call your doctor instead, as
you may have a bowel obstruction.[32]
Make sure you take Agar with enough water, at least 8oz, for it to work as a
laxative.[33]
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Sources and Citations


1. http://www.thekitchn.com/vegetarian-and-vegan-substitutes-forgelatin-tips-from-the-kitchn-189478
2. http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenGelatins.html
3. http://www.jainworld.com/society/jainfood/vegelling.htm
4. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
5. http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenGelatins.html
6. http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/how-to-use-agar-agar/#ixzz3jm2OdBLg
7. http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/how-to-use-agar-agar/#ixzz3jm2OdBLg
8. http://www.foodsubs.com/ThickenGelatins.html
9. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
10. http://www.jainworld.com/society/jainfood/vegelling.htm
11. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
12. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
13. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
14. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
15. http://www.jainworld.com/society/jainfood/vegelling.htm
16. Read more: http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/how-to-use-agar-

agar/#ixzz3jm2OdBLg
17. Read more: http://www.britishlarder.co.uk/how-to-use-agaragar/#ixzz3jm2OdBLg
18. http://www.jainworld.com/society/jainfood/vegelling.htm
19. http://www.agar-agar.org/
20. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
21. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
22. http://www.peta.org/living/food/egg-replacements/
23. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
24. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
25. http://www.modernistcookingmadeeasy.com/info/modernistingredients/more/agar-agar
26. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-80kanten%20(agar).aspx?
activeingredientid=80&activeingredientname=kanten%20(agar)
27. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15642074
28. http://www.realnatural.org/pectin-slows-down-enzyme-activityabsorption-and-blood-sugar/
29. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-80kanten%20(agar).aspx?
activeingredientid=80&activeingredientname=kanten%20(agar)
30. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-80kanten%20(agar).aspx?
activeingredientid=80&activeingredientname=kanten%20(agar)
31. http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/could-you-have-abowel-obstruction.aspx
32. http://www.everydayhealth.com/digestive-health/could-you-have-abowel-obstruction.aspx
33. http://www.webmd.com/vitamins-supplements/ingredientmono-80kanten%20(agar).aspx?
activeingredientid=80&activeingredientname=kanten%20(agar)

Article Info

Categories: Vegetarian
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