Agar – agar is a substance with gelling agent derived from a kind of seaweed. Agar – agar is used in many types of dessert in Asia instead of gelatin. Agar – agar is healthier than gelatin because it is very rich in fiber. Vegetarians can safely use this substance instead of gelatin because agar – agar does not contain any animal products. Agar – agar was made into cubes which must be soaked in water before using. Today, agar – agar are made into powder which make it easier to cook and store. Powdered agar-agar is originally translucent, but some manufacturers add some food colorings to the agar-agar. Choose the agar-agar that is stated “white” in the package to get non-colored agar-agar powder.
You can easily replace agar – agar for most recipes that requires gelatin, such as jellies, although it will not taste as “bouncy” as gelatin-based ones. Still, because of its health benefit, using agar – agar enables you to have tasty and healthy dessert.
Some puddings use gelatin or even egg yolks as the thickening agent, which make them high in calorie and cholesterol. Using agar – agar not only help to reduce the calorie, it also helps your digestive system because of the high fiber it contains. You are still able to enjoy tasty dessert, but you don’t have to worry about calorie or health. You can also use agar – agar to thicken the sauce. Agar – agar is also very affordable. Agar-agar is usually used for cold dessert.
To use agar – agar to make puddings, simply replace the water with milk or coconut milk. 1 package of agar – agar (7g) usually requires around 4 cups of liquid and 4 tbsp of sugar. For better result, always follow the manufacturer’s instruction concerning the quantity of liquid needed. You can add any additional ingredients you want to such as chocolate, fruits, and coffee.
Here is a simple recipe to make a mango pudding using agar – agar powder. This pudding is refreshing and healthy.
– 500g mangoes, cubed
– 2 cups of milk
– 1 packet of agar – agar powder
– 4 tbsp sugar
1. Blend 300g of the mangoes. Strain to reserve the juice. It should yield about 2 cups of mango juice. If not, add some water.
2. Wet a pudding mold with water. Arrange the remaining mangoes in the mold.
3. Boil the agar-agar powder, milk, mango juice, and sugar under low heat, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves and the mixture is boiled. It is important to keep on stirring so the agar-agar does not set and stick to the bottom and sides of the pan.
4. Pour into the pudding mold. Let it cool, and put it in the refrigerator.
You can learn more about agar-agar in cooking here, and you can also make chocolate coffee pudding using agar – agar powder and strawberry pudding.