I’ve written about agar-agar as a ‘miracle’ ingredient to me, and here are a couple more ideas for what you can do.
Agar idea #1: Tomato juice, corn & miso
1) Put 1 litre of bottle tomato juice in a pot.
2) Mix into the cold juice: agar-agar, herbs according to your taste, garlic etc.
3) Leave to boil for one to two minutes.
4) Take the pot off the stove, and if you wish, mix in one tablespoon of very-diluted miso (which adds protein).
5) Pour into containers, into which you have earlier put the corn kernels.
Agar idea #2: Mugicha (roasted barley tea)
Using mugicha tea bags from Daiso, I made the infusion much stronger than if one were drinking it by using two bags instead of one. I’ve found that tastes become much lighter when in cold, agar form and I wanted to make sure the agar jellies had a noticeable mugicha taste.
I then divided the mugicha into two 500ml batches and added a tablespoon of sugar to one. I then put in the agar-agar powder and made it up according to the packet instructions.
To distinguish between the two types, I put the sugared ones into konnyaku jelly moulds (above, clear plastic), and the sugarless ones into a ‘sherbert tray’ (below, opaque white plastic) with smaller shapes. (The konnyaku moulds were bought at a local wet market years ago during the height of the konnyaku craze; the sherbert tray is from Daiso – I hope it can handle hot liquids :P.)
Verdict: very delicious! I knew the no-sugar ones would seem rather tasteless but now I find that I enjoy them more because you can focus on the delicate, coffee-like roasted barley taste.
The sugared version was pronounced ‘not sweet enough’ by my family, but after eating the no-sugar ones, the sweetened ones elicited the kind of hollow feeling which the taste of refined sugar sometimes gives me. I don’t know how to explain this; I guess my tastebuds have changed after five years on minimal sugar, and there are some foods which the diehard sweet-tooth in me still loves to eat mind-blowingly sweet but there are other foods which don’t strike me as being enhanced by sugary-sweetness.
One idea for the no-sugar version is to make them into very small shapes (or chop up a larger block) and serve it in a light syrup, rather like chin chow/grass jelly drink.