The way we are going to use agar in this dressing recipe is not widely understood by foodies, yet has been used for years in industry for many applications including food.
This particular property has to do with the harmonisation of a mixture when the various ingredients have different size, weight and velocity. Imagine a vinaigrette dressing for example – if it is left to stand for 15 minutes, the various ingredients will separate and some will come to the surface while others will sink to the bottom. As you shake the mixture, the oil emulsifies and keeps the other ingredients in suspension for some amount of time.
Agar can be used instead of oil and have a similar effect, only this harmonisation effect lasts much longer, days, weeks or even months ! This allows the creation of low/no fat dressings with an enviable texture & flavour with the added advantage of significant health benefits. Click on the link to find out about agar.
Agar and other vegetable gums are now commonly used in a variety of industries, but it is only recently that it has become within reach of western consumers as an ingredient in retail stores for food applications. Agar’s uses & benefits are many, both for culinary and wellness. In the west, it has initially appealed mostly to people that are vegetarian, vegan or follow the macrobiotic diet; but soon the benefits and many uses for the seaweed extract have become better understood, leading to it’s newly-found popularity and a much wider base of appeal.
The attached recipe doesn’t so much feature the jellifying properties of agar as much as its harmonising abilities. Usually manufacturers rely on the emulsified oil to provide the thick creaminess and the evenly distributed ingredients characteristic of a well made dressing. In the recipe below, we use agar to do the job. The result tastes fantastic, and its slimming effect on the waistline is not trivial, thanks to the wellness properties of agar.
Click this link to read tips about using Agar.
500ml apple juice
50g whole grain mustard
200ml cider vinegar
1/2 tsp Pacific harvest agar powder
Roasted clove garlic,
Salt & pepper to taste
In a pot, sprinkle the agar on half the apple juice and let stand for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, in a different dish, combine the other ingredients with the rest of the apple juice.
Bring the agar mixture to a boil over medium heat while mixing with a whisk.
Cook for 2-3 minutes.
Add the rest of the ingredients and combine well.
Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
Conserve in the fridge in jars.
Note: Because of the small amount of agar in the recipe, the vinaigrette may need to rest in the fridge overnight to set to the right texture.
Click on the link to read about NZ Agar
Agar is totally clear, odourless & tasteless and has 10 times the gelling power of its animal counterpart (gelatine). Agar is soluble in hot water only and jellifies at room temperature. It can be used in a variety of applications that have different jellifying requirements. It can also be used to harmonise the texture (like in our recipe today) and to stabilize certain ingredients like sugar to prevent its crystallisation (like in ice cream, for instance).
Agar is considered to be a functional food in term of its beneficial contribution to balanced nutrition. It has virtually no calories, is fat free, is very high in fibre (75-80%) and has a beneficial effect on digestion. Being a seaweed extract, it contains minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium and vitamin Bs, along with very little sodium. It has a good satiating ability and a purifying action on the body which is great for weight reduction.