Agar Agar, also known as kanten, is a setting agent or jelly made from the mucilage of several species of sea vegetables.
Agar Agar contains no animal products and is a popular gelatine alternative that is suitable for vegans and vegetarians. Agar is produced through a process that involves soaking, washing, simmering and pressing the 'fronds' of the selected sea vegetables. The liquid that remains is put into shallow boxes to harden. It is then dried again and the process is repeated several times. The final product is freeze-dried or dehydrated until transparent and shaved into flakes or powder.
Agar Agar can be used in exactly the same way as gelatine, however, it must be prepared in a certain way. Before using Agar Agar in a recipe, the flakes or powder must be soaked until a liquid is formed and then simmered for several minutes before setting.
This product may be considered superior to gelatine as it does not melt easily and has a firmer texture. Agar Agar is commonly used to make pies, fruit desserts, jams, jellies, sauces and vegetable moulds.Agar Agar is a dietary source of iron, phosphorus, calcium and vitamins A, B1, B6, B12, biotin, C, D and Agar Agar adds nutritional value to food and contains fewer calories than animal gelatine.