More agar ideas

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

(^_^)…. check out this inspired tomato juice & corn agar-agar from French Bento! Here’s a translation of the instructions:

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.
6) Refrigerate.

However, if you are intolerant to salicylates and glutamates, don’t forget that tomato products are high on both these counts. Read more about salicylate sensitivity here.

Agar idea #2: Mugicha (roasted barley tea)

agar mugicha

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.

agar moulds

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.


7 Responses

  1. […] Rice bento: miso fish & pumpkin Posted on December 21, 2007 by niceties …. Side dishes Stir-fry of sprouted soya beans, carrot and garlic, seasoned with salt. Slice of pineapple & mugicha agar-agar. […]

  2. Hi, I stumbled accross your blog looking for those exact konnyaku jelly moulds. I’m in Australia though, do you know anywhere online where I can get them?


  3. Hi Jess,
    Have you tried a specialist baking store? The ones in Singapore sell the clear type shown in my photo for about S$0.50. Good luck with your konnyaku jellies :).

  4. Hi niceties,
    These jellies look really good! I just posted about my experiment making a cucumber and carrot jell. I found your blog while researching for my post so i hope you don’t mind that I linked to you.

  5. Hi Tess,
    Love your idea for cucumber and carrot agar! Thanks for linking to my blog.

    I’ve not tried layered jellies as I suspect that I’ll have the same problem as you with the layers separating. I’ll need to ask one of my kitchen-smart aunties or read up more on traditional Southeast Asian multi-coloured/multi-layered agars to get tips on how to deal with preventing the layers from separating.

  6. Hello, I have been looking online for the model of the konnyaku mold in your picture but I haven’t been able to find any stores that sell it. May I buy one from you? I live in the US. (the one with the fan, flowers, leaves and spirals)

    • Dear konnyakufan,

      Very sorry, I’m too busy to help you — perhaps one of the other Singapore readers here would be keen to sell you a jelly mould…?

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