Used in Japan since the 15th century, Agar is a gelling agent extracted from types of red algae (Gelidium and Gracilaria). Introduced to Europe In 1859 as a characteristically Chinese food, Agar is a source of fiber and can form gels in very small proportions. It can be used to make hot gelatins and has other creative uses. At the start of the 20th century it began to be used in the US as gelification was becoming more popular. Even if you are not a pro at molecular gastronomy, it is exciting to experiment with gelification as it can add desirable dimension and substance to any appropriate dish. Don’t let the process intimidate you. A few practice runs and you will be making gels in no time!
Mix the Agar (a refined powder) while cold, then bring to a boil. Gelification is fast. Once gelled, it can withstand temperatures of up to 80°C (hot gelatin). Allow it to rest for correct gelification. In acidic mediums, it loses part of its gelling capacity.