In its natural state, agar-agar is presented as a structural carbohydrate in the cell wall of algae agarophytes, which exists in the form of salts of calcium or a mixture of calcium and magnesium salts. Chemically it is a heterogeneous mixture of two kinds of polysaccharides: agarose, a linear polymer free neutral sulphates and corresponds to the fraction gelling and agaropectin, a sulfated polymer loaded, non-gelling fraction.

Agar - Agar (E-406), usually occurring in powder and use as a food additive is used in concentrations of 0.3 to 2.0% w / v. by application, we obtain a firm gel and rigid with the particular characteristic that can be exposed to temperatures without melting, that is due to thermal hysteresis, which means the difference between the melting point of the gel 85 ° to 95 ° C and gelation of 36 ° to 45 ° C.

Culinary

Sago at gulaman in Filipino cuisine is made from agar (gulaman), pearl sago, and fruit juice flavored with pandan

Agar-agar is a natural vegetable gelatin counterpart. White and semi-translucent, it is sold in packages as washed and dried strips or in powdered form. It can be used to make jellies, puddings, and custards. For making jelly, it is boiled in water until the solids dissolve. Sweetener, flavouring, colouring, fruit or vegetables are then added and the liquid is poured into molds to be served as desserts and vegetable aspics, or incorporated with other desserts, such as a jelly layer in a cake.

Agar-agar is approximately 80% fiber, so it can serve as an intestinal regulator. Its bulk quality is behind one of the latest fad diets in Asia, the kanten (the Japanese word for agar-agar[3]) diet. Once ingested, kanten triples in size and absorbs water. This results in the consumers feeling fuller. This diet has recently received some press coverage in the United States as well. The diet has shown promise in obesity studies.[20]

One use of agar in Japanese cuisine (Wagashi) is anmitsu, a dessert made of small cubes of agar jelly and served in a bowl with various fruits or other ingredients. It is also the main ingredient in mizu yōkan, another popular Japanese food.

In Philippine cuisine, it is used to make the jelly bars in the various gulaman refreshments or desserts such as sago gulaman, buko pandan, agar flan, halo-halo, and the black and red gulaman used in various fruit salads.

In Vietnamese cuisine, jellies made of flavored layers of agar agar, called thạch, are a popular dessert, and are often made in ornate molds for special occasions. In Indian cuisine, agar agar is known as "China grass" and is used for making desserts. In Burmese cuisine, a sweet jelly known as kyauk kyaw (ေကျာက်ေကြာ) [tɕaʊʔtɕɔ́]) is made from agar.

In Russia, it is used in addition or as a replacement to pectin in jams and marmalades, as a substitute to gelatin for its superior gelling properties, and as a strengthening ingredient in souffles and custards. Another use of agar-agar is in ptich'ye moloko (bird's milk), a rich jellified custard (or soft meringue) used as a cake filling or chocolate-glazed as individual sweets. Agar-agar may also be used as the gelling agent in gel clarification, a culinary technique used to clarify stocks, sauces, and other liquids.

Mexico has traditional candies made out of Agar gelatin, most of them in colorful, half-circle shapes that resemble a melon or watermelon fruit slice, and commonly covered with sugar. They are known in Spanish as Dulce de Agar (Agar sweets)

Agar-agar is an allowed nonorganic/nonsynthetic additive used as a thickener, gelling agent, texturizer, moisturizer, emulsifier, flavor enhancer, and absorbent in certified organic foods.[21]

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