Remember the gummy bears we used to chew on nonstop as kids or maybe even adults? Well, thanks to gelatin for the few extra moments we got with each gummy bear. Gelatin is essentially a compound used to add a gel-like property in food and help it thicken and stick together. Gelatin is usually made from animal byproducts but plants have almost always provided us with substitutes for every non-vegetarian dish out there. So go on, take a look at some of our recommendations for vegan alternatives to gelatin:
A plant based gelatin that has its roots in seaweed (quite literally) and is often found in a semi translucent/white color which can be processed into bars or powders. The Japanese name for agar agar is Kanten, and also popularly called China Grass in India. It is found in different forms such as powders, strips or flakes in most baking essential stores.
Most recipes call for agar agar needs to be heated to a temperature of about 80 degrees celcius in a liquid medium before it is incorporated into the recipe. This is done in order to allow for dissolution and activation of the agar agar which in turn allows for it to set once the mixture cools down. Agar agar sets faster needing less time compared to gelatin to set and doesn’t require refrigeration. However, depending on the product you are making using agar agar you may want to chill the product before serving to enhance the flavour and texture eg: panna cotta, puddings, cheesecakes. Agar agar stays firm and retains the shape of the dessert it's set in even when exposed to high temperatures, however, the desserts can be less creamy and jiggly. As a general rule, you can substitute powdered agar for gelatin in equal amounts. So if a recipe calls for 1 tsp of gelatin, you can use 1 tsp of agar powder or 3 teaspoons of agar strips and this will set one cup of liquid.
Extracted from red seaweed, also popularly called the “Irish moss” and is native to the British Isles. Although relatively new in the Indian region, this vegan gelatin replacer has been used for many years to make popular dishes like Blancmange which is a panna cotta look-alike dessert you would find across almost all of Europe. Carrageenan can be used to make popular desserts like Panna cotta, Jellies and puddings, custards and any recipe which calls for gelatin. Similar to Agar Agar, Carrageenan would also need to be dissolved in a liquid and heated to a temperature of about 80-90 degrees Celsius in order to activate its gelling property.
For those afraid of missing out on popular desserts that call for gelatin, fret not, we’ve got you covered with The Select Aisle’s Agar Agar Powder . We want to make sure baking and the comfort of good food remains available to all. Here they are -
1. Vanilla and Strawberry Panna Cotta
2. Panna Cotta with Carageenan
Cheers and happy baking!