Agar agar is a carbohydrate that comes from the cell walls of seaweed. The seaweed is freeze-dried and dehydrated, then processed into powder, flakes, threads or bars. An effective gelatin substitute, this protein-rich product allows vegans to enjoy gelatin dishes. One bar is equivalent to 2 tsp. of gelatin. Getting the correct consistency for agar agar recipes can be tricky at first. However, it is very easy to correct any mistakes. If your product turns out too thick, simply reheat the mixture and add a bit more water. If it’s too thin, add a bit more agar agar.
Things You'll Need
Grind a bar of agar agar in your coffee grinder, blender or food processor.
Put 2 cups of water in a pot on the stove, over high heat. Add the agar agar and bring the mixture to a boil.
Reduce the heat and allow the mixture to simmer. Stir constantly until the agar agar is fully dissolved.
Add your other ingredients, following the recipe you have chosen.
Leave the mixture to sit for an hour at room temperature. Agar agar does not require refrigeration to set.
For recipes that contain chocolate, rhubarb, spinach or vinegar, you cannot use agar agar. The agar agar will not set when combined with these ingredients.
Some fruits such as kiwi, peaches, pineapple and mango contain enzymes that break down the agar agar. Cooking these fruits before adding them to the agar agar will destroy these enzymes.
Acid ingredients will require more agar agar. If your recipe contains citrus fruits or strawberries, you will need to add more agar agar or to reduce the amount of water.
References and ResourcesDr. Samuel Porto: Agar-Agar
The Food Coach: Healthy Food Database -- Agar Agar
PETA: Gelatin Alternatives
The Cook's Thesaurus: Gelatins