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Vegan, Raw Cooking with Agar

raw food recipes
Raw food recipes often present challenge with texture, especially when trying to make them low calorie & low fat.

Try vegan raw cooking and baking with Agar powder as a hero ingredient in your pantry!  Agar, the jelly product produced by many red sea vegetables, is available in a powdered format and can be used in so many different ways to make plant based baking and cooking a breeze. 

Vegan Raw Cooking and Baking

Agar can be used in raw food recipes, it can replace egg or gelatin in baking, cooking or preserves. If you’re  vegan, vegetarian, plant-based, have allergies or food intolerances, or you’re just looking or a great new ingredient, agar is a total gamechanger with many uses in the kitchen!

Using agar in recipes is a healthy alternative as it is fat-free, low in calories, high in mineral and fibre and helps regulate and cleanse the bowel.  This article will suggest ways you can use agar as an alternative to eggs, gelatin and in raw cooking.

Using Agar To Replace Egg

If you are vegan, plant-based, allergic or intolerant to eggs, agar makes a great egg replacement, especially egg whites. Eggs are often seen as a key ingredient in many baking, desserts and other recipes, but did you know you can achieve the texture egg gives dishes by using agar instead?

There are two things to consider when replacing eggs – each part of the egg performs a different function – here are our suggested alternatives:

 

Function it performs

Alternative

Yolk

a rising or lifting agent

Agar is a better substitute for egg whites (which it is most similar to), as it will help bind the ingredients in a recipe but won’t give it a good rise or lift.

Egg White

to bind ingredients together

Add an extra 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder in a recipe to help prevent it from being too dense. Use another ingredient, such as mashed bananas (depending on what the recipe calls for), to replace the egg yolk.

Recipe to Replace Egg White with Agar

We recommend the following recipe if you’re looking for a creamy mousse or custard-based dish that replaces egg whites with agar and can be made sweet or savoury:

  1. For each egg white you need, dissolve 1 tsp agar powder in 1 tbsp water. To dissolve, first sprinkle the powder over the liquid, rest for 5 minutes and warm to 90 C over medium heat.
  2. Using a whisk, whip the agar mixture well to help dissolve, then refrigerate for 15 minutes and whip again. Add the agar to the baking mixture as the last ingredient and mix to just combine, do not overwork the mixture.

Using Agar as a Gelatin Substitute

Unlike gelatin, which is an animal-based products derived from the collagen inside animal skin and bones, agar is a vegan, plant-based product produced from red seaweed that has similar properties to gelatin.  The benefits of using agar instead of gelatin are:

  1. no animals die in the process of producing it!
  2. it has no taste, no odour, no colour so can sit in the background and let other flavours take center stage
  3. it sets more firmly than gelatin giving you greater control over texture in your cooking. Agar is a more powerful gelling or setting agent than gelatin because it sets at room temperature and stays firm, even in warmer weather or temperatures

When used properly, agar yields a similar texture to gelatin, and once you get it right, you’ll never look back – even if you’re not vegan or plant-based! Read our suggestions for working with agar here.  Don’t worry if you don’t get it right – agar is versatile in can be reheated and the recipe amended if you get a less than perfect result!

Agar in Raw Food Preparation

Raw food recipes can present a challenge with getting the texture right, especially when trying to make them low calorie and low fat. Agar offers a great solution! The naturally occurring gel in seaweed-produced agar has no fat and very few calories, while providing texture alongside many essential nutrients and minerals. Agar is not strictly raw since it needs to be brought to 90°C to dissolve and release its gelling ability, however you can achieve a similar effect by dissolving the agar in a small amount of liquid, then adding it to the other raw ingredients before it sets. To prepare agar for use in raw food recipes, you can follow a general ratio of:

1 tsp agar powder for every 500ml of liquid that you need to set

You can follow the method below (or read our tips here), but note that the amount of agar and the process required for using it will vary from recipe to recipe:

  1. Measure 50ml of the liquid into a small pot and sprinkle the agar powder (and sugar if using) over it.
  2. Let stand for 5 minutes for the agar to ‘swell’ or ‘bloom’ and activate its jellifying properties.
  3. Gently bring the mixture to 90°C (agar melting point) over medium heat, while stirring. Simmer until the agar (and the sugar) is completely dissolved – a few minutes only. The texture will change ever so slightly, making the liquid feel thicker.
  4. Cool slightly and combine quickly with the remaining liquids.
  5. Transfer to a serving dish to set. 

Enjoy sweet and savoury sauces, jams, desserts, raw puddings and so much more with agar! If you’re vegan, vegetarian, plant-based or have allergies or intolerances, agar is a must-use kitchen staple.

Keen to Learn More about Agar?

Learn about Agar’s incredible and surprising health benefits.

Check our top tips for using Agar

Try Agar Today!

Try our high-quality powdered agar today. 

Disclaimer: This material is provided for educational purposes only and IS NOT intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This information is generic and may not include the latest research. We encourage you to do your own research and discuss your findings with a qualified health practitioner who can help you validate the outcomes in the context of your specific & individual health situation.

 

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Chocolate Vegan Desert with Agar!
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