Food Ingredients Dictionary - China Grass

Many food enthusiasts asked about china grass which I used in making Low Calorie Chocolate Mousse. This gave me the idea to start a new food dictionary. In these blog posts, I would explain the new or uncommon ingredients which I would or I had used in making any dish. Here I start with the first ingredient.



Agar or agar agar is a gelatinous substance extracted from seaweeds like Ceylon moss. Because, gelatin is made from animal tissue, agar agar is used commonly as a vegetarian gelatin substitute for making soups, jellies, desserts, ice creams by vegans. According to Wikipedia, the word "agar" comes from the Malay word agar-agar (meaning jelly). It is one of the main ingredients of Japanese cuisine for making desserts.

Kanten, China grass, or Japanese isinglass are the other names of agar agar. Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless. When dissolved in water, heated and then cooled, it becomes gelatinous. Its is full of protein along with number of minerals and gels more firmly than gelatin.

Agar's gelling power is weakened by acids and would breakdown when exposed to enzymes of raw fruits like kiwi, papaya, pineapple, peach, mango, guava, and fig. So, use canned fruits instead of fresh ones.

13 comments:

Parita on September 1, 2009 at 1:51 AM said...

I am glad you started this column, very helpful one!

Pari on September 1, 2009 at 3:09 AM said...

thats really informative and I am glad I could post this comment as It's been 2 months that I read ur posts but everytime I opened ur blog the IE stopped responding. Today I tried opening it in chrome and that helped. Do find time to check out my blog.

Home Cooked Oriya Food on September 1, 2009 at 4:22 AM said...

Very good idea... I did know China Grass - never knew that was agar agar...

Chivalrous Clan on September 1, 2009 at 5:29 AM said...

Hey,
thanks buddy...I agree with Parita, something like this is indeed very helpful. I had heard about china grass but never knew much about it...great

Priti on September 1, 2009 at 6:57 AM said...

It's a gud read...thanks for sharing

Gera @ SweetsFoods on September 1, 2009 at 11:50 AM said...

Excellent post I know about agar agar....but not about China grass...though ;)

Cheers!

Gera

Priya on September 1, 2009 at 2:33 PM said...

Very informative post, i do prepare desserts from this china grass..Definitely very useful for most of us..thanks Lone.

Chow and Chatter on September 1, 2009 at 7:48 PM said...

interesting info thanks

Purva Desai on September 2, 2009 at 1:46 AM said...

very informative and helpful post

rekhas kitchen on September 2, 2009 at 9:28 AM said...

nice reading and very useful info.thank you so much.

Mythreyi Dilip on September 3, 2009 at 8:11 AM said...

Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your lovely comments dear. Your recipes are great and "Food ingredients dictionary" is a very good idea. I love to use china grass in my desserts. Specially while making Caramel pudding as my mom does not like eggs. Great posts dear! will be frequently visiting you:)

Purnima on February 14, 2010 at 9:27 AM said...

Thanks for this invaluable info.Can you kindly add to the post, how it is to be used? I mean as in cut it or powder it or how..would help a great deal!

Purnima on February 14, 2010 at 9:28 AM said...

Oops..sorry..I got it now..it needs to be chopped n weighed to 10 gms! Thanks indeed!

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