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  • 31st March 2014

    Agar Agar

    Well , with a wild name like Agar Agar (also referred to as kanten), it could be anyone’s guess what you do with this ingredient! But, of course we’ll get into that! First a bit of background. Agar is a gelatinous substance that comes from a couple types of algae, making it completely plant based and vegan friendly! Yeah! It is traditionally used a lot in Asian cooking. Another ripper ingredient from the orient!

    Agar can be used extensively as a thickening agent, replacing gelatin in deserts (think panna cotta, jellies, custard etc), as a soup thickener or in fruit preserves. As well as being animal friendly, agar agar has some cool nutritional benefits. These include being a good source of calcium, iron and having high quantities of fibre. Even better than this, it contains NO calories, fat or sugar! WIN!!! Hand in hand with these nutritional qualities, it is known to aid in digestion, carry toxins from the body and assist in weight loss. Finally, agar agar has been shown to reduce inflammation (as a lot of plant based foods do), calm the liver and bring relief to the lungs. For such a simple product that can be used in a wide variety of cooking, it sure packs a punch in more ways than one!

    This week I was on a hunt to try something really different on both a taste and cooking skill expansion level. I had never made any sort of pudding or panna cotta, and I had never made a desert with beans! Two new experiences to be gained! Tegs and I invited a couple of our good friends around to sample the final result and the outcome was awesome! Everyone LOVED it and commented how good the mix of flavors and textures were! I was really pleased I tried something new and although it is simple, give this one a crack and impress your next dinner guests with an Asian delight!

    Red Bean Pudding with Blueberry Sauce Pudding

    Can of coconut milk

    1/2 cup red beans (I used kidney) puree 

    ½ cup brown sugar

    3g of agar agar powder

    Blueberry sauce

    Half to three quarters of a package of frozen wild blueberries

    Agave nectar or maple syrup to taste

    Put the coconut milk, red beans, brown sugar and agar agar in a blender, and blitz until completely smooth. Pour this mixture through a sieve into a small saucepan, discarding any remaining solids.

    Heat the saucepan over medium low heat, stirring constantly until it starts steaming (but not until it boils). Pour the mixture into individual ramekins or pretty glasses and allow them to come to room temperature before putting in the refrigerator to set.

    To make the blueberry sauce, just add the thawed blueberries to the blender and blend until smooth. Taste, then add agave nectar or maple syrup as needed to sweeten.

    To serve, pour the blueberry sauce on top of they pudding and eat! Yum!

    Red Bean Pudding with Blueberry Sauce

    Matt Grills

    AUTHOR

    Matt Grills

    tattoorunner.blogspot.com

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