What is agar?
Agar is a cooking ingredient that works well as a vegan substitute for gelatin.
Is agar a “new” trendy ingredient, like chia seed and kale chips?
Nope. Agar was discovered in 1658 and has been used in Asian cuisine for centuries.
What is agar used for?
In the home kitchen, agar is used mostly for thickening. For example, in the above vegan cheese, agar is used to make the cheese firm and sliceable. In this recipe for vegan sour cream, the agar thickens the cream and makes it light and creamy.
Where does agar come from?
Agar is made from a seaweed.
Does it taste like seaweed!?
No, agar has no flavor of its own.
How do I cook with agar?
Agar needs to be dissolved in a liquid and brought to a boil. As it cools, it will begin to gel.
How much agar do I use?
The amount of agar to use depends on what you are using it for. An approximate ratio is 1 1/2 teaspoons agar powder per 1 cup liquid.
In what forms does agar come?
Agar is sold in flake and powder forms and can occasionally be found as dried strips. I prefer to use powdered agar because it allows for easy and more accurate measuring.
Where can I buy agar?
I find the easiest place to get agar is online. One click and it’s at my doorstep in a few days. Agar is also sold in health food stores, in Asian markets, and in some supermarkets.
Is agar expensive?
Not at all. About 75 cents worth of agar will make approximately 50 (2 1/2″ x 2 1/2″) slices of this vegan cheese.
What do I use agar for?
I use agar to make vegan mozzarella cheese
and this vegan soy-free, sour cream.