Kanten/Agar Agar Dessert Recipes

Kanten or agar agar is a traditional gelatin made from 8 different varieties of red seaweed. It is made in midwinter and involves a very long process.

First, all the seaweed are cooked together and allowed to harden to form a heavy gelatin. Next, the mixture is cut into square bars and then spread out to dry on mats in barren rice fields. 

During the night, the moisture in the agar collects on the surface of the bars, which freezes. Then in the morning when the temperature rises, the moisture melts and runs off the bards. After repeating this procedure for ten days, all the moisture in the bars disappears, leaving flaky, brittle bars of agar agar. 

Agar agar is used as an all-purpose gelatin. It is commonly used by manufacturers of sweets and candies and can be used to make savoury jelly, sweet jelly, custard, mousse, flan, cold pie and soup. For example to make a savoury  jelly, prepare soup with chunks of vegetables or seafood and add agar before cooking. It will turn into jelly after it cools and makes a delicious light meal. 

Agar agar is often used as a diet food in Japan, especially for making desserts. Agar agar is effective in dissolving cholesterol and although it contains no fat or calories, it is rich in calcium and iron. As agar agar passes through the stomach and bowels, it removes old residues and cleans the intestines. It is good for treating constipation and is an indispensable aid for beauty and health.

Basic Preparation for Agar Agar Bars

1 bar agar agar

3 cups water or juice


Method:

  1. Soak the agar agar bar in water of juice for about 30 minutes. The bar will come apart in the water.
  2. Bring to boil, then simmer on low heat, stirring constantly until agar agar bars are completely dissolved. 

Basic Preparation of Agar Agar Flakes

2 tablespoons agar agar flakes

3 cups water or juice


Method:

  1. Soak the agar agar flakes in water or for about 2 hours.
  2. Bring to boil, then simmer on low heat while stirring constantly until flakes completely dissolve.

Soymilk Kanten

½ piece agar agar bar or 1 tablespoon agar agar flakes, prepared per basic instructions

200cc water

150cc organic soymilk

2 tablespoons rice malt

Sea salt


Method:

  1. Bring prepared agar and water or juice to a boil, then simmer on low flame for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. After the agar dissolves completely, add rice malt and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
  3. Add soymilk and place in a mold. Cool at room temperature.

Fruit Kanten

½ piece agar agar bar, prepared as per basic instructions

300cc water

50cc apple juice

3 tablespoons honey or rice malt

150g seasonal fruit

Sea salt


Method:

  1. Bring prepared agar and water or juice to a boil, then simmer on low flame for 5-6 minutes, stirring constantly.
  2. After agar dissolves completely, add rice malt and a pinch of salt. Remove from heat.
  3. Add apple juice and pour into mold. Add sliced fruit and cool at room temperature.
Recipes