Published: 03/16/2006 - Updated: 06/22/2018
Author: Miriam Reyes
Agar – Agar (Shiro kanten) is a red and jelly alga, very flexible and resilient despite its intricate ramifications. It is also known by the following names: gelose, gelosine, vegetable gelatin, Chinese jelly, Japanese gelatin, isinglass… etc.
Botanically it belongs to the family Gelidaceae , its scientific name is cantilagineum Gelidium (L.) Gaillon or Gelidium capense (5. G. Gmelin) P. C. Silva.
It is originally from the southern seas of Africa. Its extract, also known as agar-agar, is colorless, tasteless and absorbs water in an amount which varies between 200 and 300 times its weight, forming a jelly. There is also a commercial product called agar-agar, the seaweed is the raw material of agar-agar better known. It is used inter alia as a stabilizer for some food and groceries, and for various gelatins.
Traditional Japanese name for this product is "Kant." The word "agar" or "agar-agar”, which is currently used comes from the Malay and refers to another different gel, the traditionally obtained in this zone from Eucheuma. In the nineteenth century, Chinese immigrants to Malaysia led the Japanese product, adapting it to the local name for seaweed gel. When Japanese Kant went to Europe, it did so with the name of Malay agar.
Properties of Agar – Agar
- It is very nutritious
- Large digestive properties, help eliminate waste from the stomach and intestine
- Regulates the constipation
- It is effective in dissolving cholesterol
- Ideal in diets to lose weight, for its power and low calorie input
Nutritional Information of Agar – Agar
- 75g of carbohydrate
- 800mg of Sodium
- 400mg of Calcium
- In fewer doses Phosphorus, Iron and Iodine
It can be used as gelatin or natural thickener.
Harvesting and drying
It is collected, cleaned of any foreign element, and sea salt. Dry outdoors, then wash again with hot water to obtain a yellow jelly, odorless and tasteless, which makes hard spontaneously when cooled. Cut into strips of 5 to 15 mm thick. The algae extract is obtained by a mucilaginous process, which is then filtered, dried, cut into strips or powdered.
Dining and kitchen
Culinary, it is important because it is a gel that maintains its gelling power in warm and even hot which is not the case with other operating gelatines only when cooled much. Thus its use is much more versatile and applicable to hot preparations. We can use it in many recipes in the kitchen, often used to produce ice cream. Another important feature is that since is vegetable may be used in vegetarian recipes as a substitute for gelatin. Let's look at a recipe as an example:
- 1 / 2 cup of sugar
- 1 tablespoon of water
- 1 / 2 liters of coconut milk
- ¾ liter of oat or almond milk
- 3 tablespoons of agar agar
- 1 / 2 cup of sugar glass
- In a small saucepan, dissolve sugar in water. Heat over medium heat until it boils, pay close attention. Stir mixture until sugar becomes caramel. Quickly miss in a metal mold. Allow to cool.
- In a medium saucepan, boil the coconut milk and oat or almond milk. Add the agar-agar and sugar glass. Continue boiling, stirring constantly until all is dissolved.
- Remove the pot from heat and put it in a bowl with cold water. Stir until the liquid is cooled to around 38 º C (100 º F).
- Pour over the caramel.
- Put in refrigerator for several hours or all night, until firm. You get six servings.
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