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Agar-agar

Also Known As : Kanten, Japanese isinglass, Ceylon moss, Jaffna moss, China grass, Red Seaweed, Vegan Gelatine, China glass, Dai choy goh, Carrageenan,E406

Vegetarian

Taste Profile

It is odourless and tasteless.

Usage Tips

  1. Agar-agar has many uses which include, as a gelling agent and thickener in foods like jellies, puddings, mousses,ice-creams, cheesecakes, glazes, icing, jams, custards, soup.
  2. It acts as a laxative, an appetite suppressant and a clarifying agent in brewing.
  3. It is best stored in an airtight container, preferably in a cool and dry place.

Common names and forms

  1. Agar Agar Powder
  2. Gelling agent (INS 406)
  3. Stabilizer(E-406)
  4. Thickener E406

Description

Agar-Agar is a colourless gelatinous substance that is obtained from red seaweed(algae). The two varieties of seaweed used for agar agar production are Tengusa (Gelidiaceae) and Ogonori (Gracilaria). The word "agar" is derived from agar-agar, which is the Malay name for red algae. It is used as a gelling agent in foods. It is white in colour and semi-translucent, and widely available in dried strips, flakes, blocks or in powdered form. It has been recognised as a food additive for the purpose of thickening and has been coded as E406. It is easily sourced from food stores and can be availed all through the year. It is a vegetable counterpart of gelatin. Agar-agar has originated from japan and history states that it was discovered in 1658 by Mino Tarōzaemon in Japan. He had cooked seaweed soup and discarded the surplus. Later he noticed that it gelled overnight on a cold winter day and thus discovered agar agar. From then on it became a common gelling agent in most Southeast Asian regions and is popularly used for making desserts like jellies, puddings, and custards. Now-a-days it is extensively used as an alternative to gelatine and is considered even better than gelatine as it sets more firmly and does not melt as easily than gelatine. It is even available in powdered form.One of the most popular uses of agar agar is in Petri dishes to culture bacteria.

Health benefits

  • Agar agar is rich in fibre, on consumption, it bulks up and moves through the digestive system quickly, thus it is used as a laxative.(1)
  • It is also used therapeutically to treat diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.(1)
  • Due to its bulking effect on consumption, it acts as an appetite suppressant, aiding in weight loss.(1)
  • It is abundant in nutrients like calcium, iron, potassium, magnesium, and folate, all needed by the body to maintain its various functions.(1)

Selection Guide

  When buying agar agar opt for the unflavoured variety as it can be used with more versatility in many dishes.

Note

 

Agar-agar at times may cause mild diarrhea and has chances of esophageal or bowel obstruction when ingested with insufficient fluid. It is best to avoid when intaken by people who have a bowel obstruction or have trouble swallowing.(2) There is a possibility of an allergic reaction to Agar-agar in some people, which may cause itching, swelling, and nausea.(3)

- Disclaimer
"Information here is provided for discussion and educational purposes only. It is not intended as medical advice or product or ingredient review/rating. The information may not apply to you and before you use or take any action, you should contact the manufacturer, seller, medical, dietary, fitness or other professional. If you utilize any information provided here, you do so at your own risk and you waive any right against Culinary Communications Private Limited, its affiliates, officers, directors, employees or representatives.”