What is agar-agar
Unique product agar-agar came to us from Asia. This is a great gellant that is used to prepare amazing desserts and many other dishes. And if the hostess knew almost nothing about what is agar agar. Today, this product is widely used for the creation of jelly, delicious jelly, marshmallows and other interesting desserts.
How to get agar agar
The name of the substance agar agar got the name of the product from which it is derived. If gelatin is generouse substance of animal origin, agar agar is of vegetable origin. The thickener is born in the depths of the sea, and the name «agar» is literally translated as «seaweed» from the Malay language.
It is from the algae get a great thickener. Opt for this exclusively certain varieties of brown and red algae. In the past century seaweed for making agar was exclusively on the seabed. Today created a special plantations that grow the necessary varieties, since the demand for the product is increasing globally.
About the useful properties and nutritional value of algae that grow in warm waters of tropical and subtropical seas, people knew from ancient times. Many kinds of algae added as food. Some species are considered medicinal and used in medicine. A little later, was marked by remarkable properties of the broth, which was used for the preparation of gelatin and related products.
The use of agar agar and its main properties
Agar agar is often called a dietary Supplement. And the packaging of the substance of the modern buyers can consider the labeling of E, which is wary. In spite of this, to postpone the purchase and to find what can replace the agar agar is not necessary.
It is absolutely safe product which even benefits the body:
- Low calorie product. One hundred grams agar agar contains only about 26 calories. If we add to this the fact that man is almost not possible to eat 100 grams of product, it becomes clear that weight gain the use of agar agar is not affected.
- The product contains coarse fiber, and they are not able to dissolve in the gastrointestinal tract. It stimulates intestinal motility, helping the body rid itself of toxins.
- The level of essential micro — and macroelements. Among them it is important to note that the content of magnesium, potassium, calcium, iodine.
- Agar agar contains no fat, which is important for the diet of people who adhere to the diet.
- Herbal product is used in the diet of vegetarians.
- The composition of agar agar are important for the human body vitamins and the product contains iron.
What is the best agar agar or gelatin?
A large number of offerings on the market makes the choice difficult. So it is with agar agar, which is often compared with gelatin. What to prefer – generousely substances of animal or vegetable origin?
In order to make a choice, you need to bring the highlights of the comparison of the two products. In the vegetable thickening agent when comparing note the following advantages:
- Jelly that is made with agar agar easily maintains consistency and in a hot room. Properties of the product are stored safely at temperatures down to +40C.
- The product from algae gelatin is more economical, as by dissolving in water its volume increases 30 times. It is therefore very important to know how to dissolve the agar agar correctly.
- Agar agar is odourless and specific taste, which is important for cooking with a unique taste.
- Generouse vegetable matter is almost transparent unlike gelatin, which is characterized by a little unclear.
- Jelly made from agar agar can be heated to a liquid state and cool again to a state of jelly. When cooking using a gelatin such a process is impossible as a thickener of animal origin freezes only once.
- Agar agar is used in the process of cooking meatless dishes, thanks to its vegetable origin.
Of the disadvantages of agar agar can be noted is the fact that the substance is poorly soluble in cold water. So when cooking with it, using the water to be heated.
The cost is a little higher than the price of gelatin. But efficiency and a large number of advantages compensate for this disadvantage.
How to dissolve agar agar
Powder agar agar only dissolves in warm liquids. This can be plain water, juice, broth, juice. In a glass of water or broth enough teaspoon of powder. Agar agar and leave to swell for 15 minutes, then send in the fire to heat up. In the process of heating a liquid with agar agar, you need to slowly stir until it dissolves.
After the product has dissolved, the liquid is removed from the heat and leave to cool. As it cools down the consistency of the product will change – the mass gradually thickened, gelled.
Sometimes difficult to determine the exact proportion of agar agar. To understand whether there is enough powder for a certain amount of liquid, after boiling a teaspoon of the mixture to send to the freezer for one minute. If the fluid is frozen, then the proportions observed is true. Otherwise, you can add some gelling of the product and again bring to boil.
How to use agar agar
Agar agar call produced the strongest substance among all that are known in modern cooking. It largely benefited in comparison with gelatin, surpasses it in strength and quality of the final product. But despite this, many Housewives in our country still don’t really know neither how does agar agar, nor how it can be used and what dishes to cook with it.
Thickener food looks like a powder or small chips. Color of powder white, sometimes found chips of yellowish tint, which is also acceptable. The product is easily soluble in hot water, and after cooling, the liquid takes the form of a transparent jelly or a thick gel depending on how much product was used.
Most often, the agar agar used in cooking. This product is most familiar to pastry chefs, because it is indispensable for the preparation of jelly, marmalade, soft marshmallow, marshmallows and even ice cream. These desserts owe their delicate texture. And most importantly, that it’s easy to create sweets that have zero calories and due to this approach people are overweight and sick with diabetes. Sweets can be useful if you have created based on agar agar!
What alternative agar agar to select
Despite the fact that agar agar is considered the best produced product in cooking, there are options to replace it. What can replace the agar agar?
Today there are three main product to replace generousity of algae powder:
- Gelatin. Ordinary gelatin is the most common alternative to the agar agar. But this product by a specific taste, which can change the taste of the dish. In addition, gelatin as opposed to agar agar requires more to achieve desired consistency. To freeze dish will be slightly longer time. The benefits of gelatin in its availability and wide spread in our country.
- Starch. To achieve the thick consistency you need a lot of starch, causing difficulties in the process of making jelly.
- Pectin – ideal for replacement of agar agar. Pectin is used with sugar, which is added to two times more than the pectin. Otherwise this product is a little different in properties from the gelling product made from algae.