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Using agar agar flakes

Agar agar is normally sold as agar flakes, strips, bars or powder. It is also known as kanten in Japanese and you can find it at the Japanese section of supermarkets.

This is a seaweed extract normally used to make a jelly dessert. In Singapore, agar agar jelly is commonly sold by food hawkers at cut fruit stalls and they come in red, green, purple and other artificial colors. Better to make your own healthier versions.

But because it comes in so many different forms, it is hard to give the "correct" proportions of agar to water. In any case, some people like their jelly more firm, others like it more soft.

One of my friends, for example, likes his jelly so soft that it barely holds together, while I like mine firm and crunchy, or even hard!

So I usually use about 2 tbsp of agar agar flakes works with each cup (200 ml) of liquid. Adjust accordingly to suit your preferences.

The good thing is that if you get the porportions badly wrong, you can simply re-cook the agar agar. It will dissolve when heated and gel or set again when it cools.

Note, however, that agar agar powder (at least the brands I get in Singapore) usually comes with artificial coloring. Better to use agar agar flakes, strips or kanten bars.

Basic agar agar jelly

Most people make agar agar jelly with agar agar, sugar, water and perhaps some artificial flavoring. But you can make a jelly with just about any drink or beverage, for example:


  1. Bring 1 litre of liquid to the boil.
  2. Add about 10 tbsp agar agar or kanten flakes - more or less depending on whether your prefer your jelly to be soft or firm.
  3. Add sugar if desired, to your taste.
  4. Cook until the agar agar flakes / strips dissolve completely.
  5. Pour into a jelly mold or bowl and leave to set.

Carrot agar agar 'salad'

Here is a somewhat unusual way to use agar agar flakes. It seems like a dessert but is more of a "salad" to be eaten as part of your meal, rather than afterwards. This salad goes better with a lighter grain like millet, or even millet mixed with barley, rather than with brown rice.



  1. Bring apple juice and sea salt to the boil.
  2. Add agar agar flakes and kuzu / arrowroot starch mixture, stirring well as you add. Simmer until the agar agar is dissolved, about one minute or slightly longer.
  3. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix well. Turn off fire when the mixture just returns to the boil,
  4. Pour into a wet mold. Cool and leave to set in the refrigerator.

Orange mousse

Another "out-of-the-box" way to use kanten flakes... Make a mousse - not a mess :)



  1. Mix apple and orange juice, add a pinch of sea salt and bring to the boil.
  2. Add agar agar flakes and cook over medium heat until dissolved, about a minute or slightly longer.
  3. Add kuzu / arrowroot, stirring well as you add and cook another minute.
  4. Pour into a wet mold and leave to set.
  5. Toast the almonds and cut into thin slivers.
  6. When jelly has set, puree in a food blender, together with the almond butter.
  7. Serve topped with toasted almonds and orange slices.

VARIATION: Make a chocolate mousse, using 5 cups water and as much cocoa powder and sugar as you wish, depending on whether you prefer a more bitter chocolate or a lighter, sweeter mousse.

For these and other similar recipes, you can also use Coralline seaweed in place of agar flakes.

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