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Agar Agar

Agar, or agar agar, is a gelling agent extracted from red algae and is commonly used to gel liquids and create foams. You can gel almost any flavorful liquid with agar including juices, sauces, and stocks. Agar also makes great fluid gels.

The gels agar creates are brittle, but it can be used with locust bean gum to create more elastic gels. You can also add gelatin, locust bean gum, or xanthan gum to agar to change the density and coarseness of the gels and foams.

You can learn more about agar from my how to use agar guide or any of the articles and recipes below.

Agar Agar Recipes and Articles

Sous Vide Duck Recipe With Blackberry-Port Pudding

Sous vide duck blackberry port pudding Duck is one of my favorite meats to eat. I love the combination of tender meat with rich, creamy fat. In this recipe I pair it with some grilled asparagus and a blackberry-port pudding made from an agar fluid gel.

Locust Bean Gum Substitute - Ask Jason

Steak with papaya noodles

In Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started the recipe for mango noodles (and other recipes) includes locust bean gum, but the Modernist Pantry kit I bought does not include it. How can I substitute it? The recipe asks for locust bean gum and agar. Can I use xanthan gum or carrageenan?
- Alejo

Mango locust agar noodles 2

Hi Alejo, that's a good question. In general, agar gels are brittle (they fall apart) while locust bean gum adds elasticity (makes them chewier and stay together). For gels that are being shaped, especially the gel noodles, the elasticity is critical, otherwise they tend to fall apart. For things like cubes or softer gels, you don't have to have the locust bean gum, the gels will just be less chewy.

Sous Vide Beef Carnitas with Tangerine-Chipotle Sauce

Beef carnitas tangerine chipotle sauce I turn the sous vided brisket or chuck roast into shredded beef for flavorful carnitas covered in a sweet and spicy tangerine-chipotle sauce. I serve them with corn tortillas and avocado so they are easy to pick up and eat.

Mango Noodles

Mango locust agar noodles 2 These mango noodles add a great flavor punch and visual touch to dishes. I like to serve them draped over ice cream or a sundae but they can also be heated and served with jerk pork or as a garnish on an Asian citrus salad.

Homemade Lox and Cream Cheese Noodles Recipe

Lox This crostini recipe moves the traditional deli food of lox and cream cheese on a bagel into fancy modernist bites. The cream cheese is turned into gelled noodles that are served on toasted bagel rounds with pickled red onion. An easy to pick up and deliciously flavorful party food!

Roasted Poblano Pearls and Grilled Corn Recipe

Devilled eggs bacon and corn This recipe combines the diverse flavors of poblano pepper, corn and egg into a great looking, go back for more kind of party dish. The poblano peppers are turned into agar pearls to add some interesting texture and mouthfeel to the deviled eggs. The corn contributes crunchy bursts of sweetness.

Upscale PB and J Recipe

Upscale pbj For a PB and J dessert worthy of a party, I make a home-made cashew butter to replace the peanut butter and then turn some fresh raspberries into a flavorful fluid gel for the jelly. I serve it with a sliver of dark chocolate for richness and a lemon twist to add brightness. When served open face it better highlights the flavors.

Roasted Red Pepper Soup Recipe

Roasted red pepper foam soup Roasted red peppers are a classic Italian offering and this recipe uses the whipping siphon to aerate them into a light, smooth soup. The amount of agar can be adjusted to easily control the thickness of the soup. In addition to serving it as a soup, this foam can be used in many different ways to turn traditional dishes into modern masterpieces.

Halibut with Citrus Pudding Recipe

Halibut citrus pudding close I really like how the halibut goes with the sweet and tart citrus pudding. This is a simple dish but one that is full of subtle flavors. The orange and lemon help complement the halibut and the basil adds just a hint of spice to it.

Carrot Planks with Pea Pudding Recipe

Carrot planks pea pudding Looking to take your guests by surprise visually but still deliver that familiar and well-loved taste of peas and carrots? This recipe tops a roasted carrot plank with pea pudding and some pancetta for added flavor and texture. Zip it up with a modernist twist!

Banana Ravioli with Nutella

Banana ravioli with nutella For these fun and flavorful party desserts I make a gelled ravioli from bananas and cream and fill them with Nutella. Just top them off with some shaved chocolate and mint leaves or serve them with ice cream - either way it is a crowd pleaser!

Bacon-Bourbon BBQ Jam Recipe

Chicken wings bacon Bacon and bourbon are two of my favorite foods and this recipe combines them in a smokey, spicy BBQ sauce that is great on wings, pulled pork, brisket, or about anything else you can think of. The sauce itself is really tasty but the bacon chunks add great bursts of flavor.

Cherry-Chocolate Marshmallows Recipe

Marshmallows   cherry coated Using a marshmallow base turns a rich, decadent chocolate covered cherry into a lighter equally satisfying treat. I add cocoa powder to the marshmallow mixture, resulting in a light chocolate flavor and cherry juice is turned into a marshmallow coating. These addictive snacks have great flavor and are a visually interesting dish that will get your guests talking!

Tikka Masala Coated Chicken Recipe

Tikka masala coated chicken cubes Tikka masala is a traditional English dish at curry houses. With this recipe I reimagined it as a modernist dish by turning the sauce into a gelled coating; it's s a fun play on a old classic!

Pork with Roasted Apple Pudding Recipe

Roasted apple pudding The combination of apples and pork are a classic pairing in Irish cooking. For this recipe, I roast apples and use the modernist ingredient of agar to turn them into a fun pudding topper for pork. By sous vide cooking the pork, you can consistently serve an extra moist and tender meat entree.

Blackberry-Peach Wrapped Pork Recipe

Blackberry wrapped pork The star of most of my parties is meat and this blackberry-peach wrapped sous vided pork offering is no exception! It makes a fun presentation besides the additional sweetness and flavor from roasting the fruit complements the pork perfectly.

Roasted Poblano, Corn and Bacon Bite Recipe

Roasted corn custard poblano pudding bites This great party snack use a crispy bacon base topped with a creamy corn custard and a spicy poblano chile fluid gel to make a rich and complex one-bite snack.

Habanero-Peach Dip Recipe

Peach habanero dip This dip recipe combines the spicy heat of habanero peppers with the sweet taste of fresh ripe peaches. The resulting tangy dip is great on vegetables or even meat. By altering the amount of peppers used, you can raise or lower the heat to suit your guests.

Apple Cider Agar Gel Cubes Recipe

Apple cider gel cubes2 These gel cubes are super easy to put together and they make a great small bite for people to enjoy. The quality of the cider you use will directly relate to how good the gels turn out.

Strawberry Daiquiri Agar Gel Cubes Recipe

Strawberry daiquiri agar gel close These cocktail cubes are a fun way to entertain your guests. They are rum infused strawberries encased in a daiquiri cube. When you bite into them the cube starts off with a sweet and tart flavor followed up by the kick of the rum-infused strawberries.

Shortcakes with Agar Fruit Gels and Siphon Whipped Cream

Agar fruit gel shortcake One of my favorite spring dishes is shortcakes with fresh fruits or berries. The other day I decided to take advantage of some great looking berries and made a variety of shortcakes. To make them more modern, and to work on some recipes for my upcoming book, I used some whipping siphon foams and agar agar fruit gels.

Salmon Bites with Tomatillo Agar Fluid Gel Sauce Recipe

Tomatillo agar fluid gel pudding These Mexican inspired salmon bites pack a lot of flavor in a little package. The acidity from the tomatillos compliments the salmon perfectly and the crunch from the fried tortillas adds great texture.

Orange-Ginger Gel Sheets

Agar gelatin sheets 2 One interesting use of modernist gelling is to create pliable gel sheets. These gel sheets are made by adding a combination of agar agar and gelatin to a flavored liquid and letting it set. The agar and gelatin add both elasticity for strength and a nice brittleness for flavor release. The ratio of the two ingredient will determine the final characteristic of the gel sheets.

Agar Agar

Strawberry daiquiri agar gel close Agar, or agar agar, is a gelling agent extracted from red algae. It is commonly used to stabilize foams and to thicken or gel liquids. It is relatively easy to work with and a good starting point for modernist cooking.

Bloody Mary "Ants on a Log" Recipe

Bloody mary log close My wife's relatives in Florida love their Bloody Marys and this is her modernist take on them, focusing on the celery garnish and turning it into the serving vessel a la the traditional "ants on a log" children's snack.

Agar Bloody Mary Gel Recipe

Bloody mary log close One of the fun things about modernist cooking is changing the textures of common dishes while keeping the flavors the same. This creates almost a confusion in the palate when it's being eaten and the brain recognizes the flavors but not the textures. This recipe creates a solid Bloody Mary gel with agar agar that has applications in various dishes.

Papaya Agar Agar Gel Cube Recipe

Papaya agar gel cubes These agar gel cubes are a great way to add a unique visual style to a dish, as well as creating little bursts of papaya. You could use a similar agar recipe to gel many different liquids, depending on the dish you are creating.

Papaya Agar Agar Noodles Recipe

Papaya agar agar noodles close Gels are a very common technique in modernist cooking. This modernist recipe uses the gelling properties of agar agar to make papaya noodles. These agar agar noodles are a great addition to a several different dishes and are an easy way to add a touch of flair.

Balsamic Vinegar Pearls Recipe

Balsamic pearls thumbnail One of the easiest molecular gastronomy recipes to try is by creating "pearls". Most pearls are solid jelly balls that can be used to garnish dishes or as an amuse-bouche. Here we use sweet-sour balsamic vinegar to make pearls that are a great way to add a hit of flavor to many different dishes. The process of making them is even pretty easy.

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