It's been quite a while since I used it. I did a vegan menu for the Culinary Olympics and I used agar-agar for coating my pieces.
As I recall I had a real hard time with it. I would not reccomend to use as a gelatine type dessert. It does not really stand on it's own, but would rather be a substitute for gelatine as a stabilizer ingredient.
Thanks Mike. I'm trying to figure out ways to use agar agar in vegetarian and vegan food. The stuff doesn't bloom like gelatin, and worse still, it requires a lot of liquid. It's tough trying to work it like gelatin.
Phew! I thought it was just me! I've tried doing agar things from ex-Brother Ron Pickarski's book, and a couple other vegan cookbooks (because while I'm not vegan, I really would like NOT to eat hooves of dead animals) and they've NEVER done what the recipe's promised. I've tried flakes, I've tried sticks, I've tried powder, and it's always been a big cursing swear of an experience...
There was a thread just a couple of months ago on the subject of kosher gelatin. You might try running a search on that. As far as agar agar, I have never used it, but I know that it is the basis of many S.E. Asian desserts. Check out some Indonesian, Filipino or Malaysian dessert cookbooks.
I've never tried substituting for gelatin; however, I do know that agar-agar dissolved in pineapple juice does make a jelly with the firmness depending on the ratio of one to the other. Aside from biology lab, I've only used agar to make fruit juice jellies that have a nice snap to them. A favorite is agar dissolved in lychee and coconut juices which is allowed to set then is topped with chopped lychees and young coconut folded into whipped cream.
I have never used it as a substitute for gelatin. The Japanese use the agar-agar(Kanten) for sweet confections with sweet bean paste such as Mitsu An with agar-agar gelatin and fruits with sweet azuki bean paste drizzled with brown sugar syrup and Mizu yokan -agar-agar with a layer of sweet bean paste inside it. Awayuki Kanten is Agar-agar sugar water mixture with egg white folded into it, then topped with strawberries. Also the south east Asian countries use it for confections because agar-agar will not melt in the heat like gelatin will. Once it is firm it will stay that way. There are red and white ones.
Each package comes with 2 strips of Kanten
The recipe I have calls for 1 kanten, 12 oz sugar and 3/4 pint water.
You wash the kanten and then squeeze all the water out of it. Then you add 3/4 pint of water to the kanten and let set for 30 minutes. Cook over low heat until the kanten is completely melted. You can add the sugar and if you want 1 T lemon juice. If you want just the gelatin. Pour into a small pan and refrigerate until firm.
Hope this helps. :)