So, I was stomped at what to call this, but I finally settled with “Agar Whites,” which is very similar to egg whites. Now, in this I am mainly going to relate the composition and health benefits of agar.
What is agar? Agar powder, a seaweed derivative, made from red seaweed. According to an article by Indigo Herbs, agar is made up of “a mixture of two polysaccharides: agarose and agaropectin, with agarose making up about 70% of the mixture. Agarose is a linear polymer, made up of repeating units of agarobiose, a disaccharide made up of D-galactose and 3,6-anhydro-L-galactopyranose.” This article also has needful information on how agar is good for bone health, brain health, digestive health, and weight loss. Definitely worth the read! One way how it benefits weight loss is that this carbohydrate is make up of more than 80% fiber (See the article “Everything You Need To Know About Agar” from the blog Not Enough Cinnamon). According to an article on Agar from Nutrients and Review.com, agar ” lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels in individuals with diabetes.” I implore you to do your own research on agar.
Why would agar be used in food preparation/cooking? Well, the short answer is that it is mainly a substitute for gelatin. For those of you who don’t remember why vegans should not eat gelatin, here’s a refresher. Gelatin simply is not a vegetarian or vegan product. Gelatin is traditionally made by boiling the bones, cartilage, and skins of animals or fish. Agar is insoluble in cold water but becomes soluble in boiling water. Consequently, it is a popular vegan/vegetarian substitute for gelatin; but if you’ve never used it in a recipe before, do some experimentation to get the texture just right, but generally 1 teaspoon of agar flakes gels one cup of liquid (If using agar agar flakes, one tablespoon per cup of liquid).
There are agar flakes and agar powder. For every tablespoon of agar flakes, use one teaspoon of agar powder. I like using the powder over the flakes mainly because I can buy it cheaper. In the past, I bought one small packet of agar powder for .99¢ from the local Asian market, which works well, especially compared to one ounce of agar flakes, which may start at about $8.00. Now, I only buy the Pure Super Agar Powder, which is by Minimalist Baker. It’s pricey for four ounces, but a little goes a long way, and generally the texture is satisfactory.
Now, about the Agar Whites. I generally use these in my plant-based potato salad. These agar whites add to the texture and all seems right with the world. *smile* Once I find a recipe for the yellow part that I think is pretty spot on, I’ll link it here. I have yet to come up with one for myself that I truly love…. so…enjoy the agar whites for now! My last experiment on the no-egg salad was very much mixed; so it might take another battery of experiments. After three tries, I’ve had my fill for now…so it might be awhile.
Without further ado, here’s the simple recipe! …
- 1 cup unsweetened plain So Delicious Coconut Milk (or use a milk mixture: 3/4 cup of this milk with either 1/4 cup almond or soy).
- 1 teaspoon agar powder
- 1/4 teaspoon black salt
- 1/8 teaspoon konjac root powder (adds to texture, optional)
- In a small pot, bring ingredients for egg whites to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently for 5-7 minutes. During this process, you will create a bunch of bubbles while whisking.
- Once the mixture is at a boil, quickly pour back into blender and blend for about 10-15 seconds.
- Then, pour egg molds.
- Refrigerate until set, between 20 and 30 minutes. Refrigerate unused and use within three weeks.
NOTE: Please note that this will have a watery feel to touch. Also, DO NOT freeze!!! See my Instagram for short videos of the process.
Also, to reduce the bubbles when pouring mixture into the mold, you may use a large knife against the blender’s pour spout when pouring the mixture into the molds. I don’t worry about it.