Agar Agar in our A-Z - Cooking Index
Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance chiefly used as a solid substrate to contain culture medium for microbiological work.
Agar can be used as a laxative, a vegetarian gelatin substitute, a thickener for soups, in jellies, ice cream and Japanese desserts such as anmitsu, as a clarifying agent in brewing.
Agar-Agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart originally eaten in Japan. It can be used to make jellies, puddings and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. One then adds sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables, and pours the liquid into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer on a cake.
One use of agar in Japanese cuisine is anmitsu, a dessert made of small cubes of agar jelly and served in a bowl with various fruits or other ingredients. In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as "China grass" and is used for making desserts. In Burmese cuisine, a sweet jelly known as kyauk kyaw is made from agar.