Friday, December 11, 2009

Agar Agar

Agar Agar is a gelling agent very similar to gelatin. Unlike gelatin, which is derived from animal products, agar agar is obtained from seaweed. It is stronger than gelatin, and mixtures will set to a solid state at room temperature. It can be purchased as a powder, flakes, or sheets.

Traditionally used for desserts, agar agar can also be used to make savory "jello".

For most applications, agar agar can be used at a ratio of .5% to the total mass of the liquid. For example, if you were to make a watermelon gel, you would use 500 ml (equivalent to grams) watermelon juice and 2.5 grams agar agar.

To use, combine agar agar and liquid and boil to dissolve. Pour into container and allow to set.

Agar agar is extremely stable, and will retain its gelled state up to 85 degrees Celsius.

Example (Sweet): Grapefruit and yuzu gels with orange segments

Example (Savory): Short rib covered in a sheet flavored with Campari and beet. Here, the agar agar is used to make a thin sheet that acts as a "sauce" for the meat below.

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