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Agar agar food in kitchen
Agar agar food in kitchen

Food agar and cooking.

What is agar agar?
A mysterious white powder, discovered in Japan in the 17th century. Agar agar is also called "Kanten" nowadays in Japan, which means "food of the gods". It is still called "E406" in the list of food additives, it is much less prestigious. The word "Agar agar" is of Malaysian origin.
Agar agar is a mucilage obtained from red algae belonging to the families Gelidiacae (Gelidium and Pterocladia) and Gracilaria (Gracilaria). The algae used in its preparation are washed and dried before being boiled. Once cooled, the preparation is dehydrated before being reduced to powder.



Gracilaria gracilis

Gracilaria gracilis, dont on extrait l'Agar agar


What's the agar agar for?

In food, this odourless and tasteless white powder, which swells on contact with water, is known above all as a gelling agent. But agar agar has other virtues. Its very low caloric intake linked to a high mineral content (calcium, iron and phosphorus) is sought after in dietetics. Thanks to these satiating and laxative qualities, it is the basis of the "kanten diet" practiced in Japan.
Agar agar is the main vegetarian alternative to animal gelatine. However, its dosage is more subtle because of its gelling power 8 times higher than animal gelatine.



Flanc kiwi mandarine



What recipes can I make with Agar agar?


  • Flans and verrines: savoury or sweet. Basic recipe 2gr Agar agar for 500ml milk. Bring the preparation to the boil for 1 minute and leave to cool. The Agar agar will allow you to replace the eggs for the preparation of the flanks ;
  • Creams : preparation a little richer than the flanks with the same preparation : 2gr of Agar agar for 500ml of liquid and boil ;
  • Mousse and ice cream: Mousse is particularly interesting to cook with Agar agar. You can give free rein to your creativity and imagine the most innovative variations.
  • Jellies: very simple to prepare, (2gr of agar for 500ml of liquid).
  • Terrines: thanks to the agar agar no more worries of holding your preparations, no more collapses in the serving dish ..;
  • Cakes: "But why use agar agar in baking, since you can do without? ». Quite simply because it is much "lighter". You will prepare your cakes with little or no fat at all!
  • Jams, jellies and fruit pastes: this last use is surely the best known use for agar agar. Basic principle: 2gr of agar for 1kg of fruit. You will be able to reduce the quantity of sugar in your recipes and no longer have to choose a "special jam" sugar.
  • The agar agar allows a lot of fantasy in the kitchen. Let your imagination run free to explore even the wildest ideas! From milk, fruit juice, vegetable juice, tea, coulis, creamy cheese, vegetable purée... Treat yourself in a lighter way!

More information on Cléa's blog