In the early spring 2014, I received a request to prepare two types of desserts for a friend's birthday. The first one is for adults only: Irish cream Baileys tiramisu (an easy recipe here). The second one is for little guests, so it must be children-friendly.
After a brief brainstorming on a MRT train ride, I designed a dessert of chocolate milk agar pudding with Cheerios.
Agar has multiple uses, from culinary to scientific ones.
Agar is a gelatinous substance derived from the polysaccharide agarose, which forms the supporting structure in the cell walls of particular algae / seaweed (e.g. Gelidium amansii).
Agar (a Indonesian / Malay word) is also known as:
kanten / 寒天/ かんてん, literally means cold winter in Japan
China grass in India
About a decade ago, I was fortunate to have a brief experience of using agar, as a culture media, to grow some harmless bacteria to express proteins of interest. The particular proteins were then purified prior to subsequent experiments. To prevent the proteins from denaturation (melted) and hence unfunctional, I did the purification in a cold room at 4C! The experience made me appreciate agar even more than ever. Thank you Dr. Tan!
In term of its biochemistry, agarose is a linear polymer made up of the repeating monomeric unit of agarobiose. Agarobiose is a disaccharide made up of D-galactose and 3,6-anhydro-L-galactopyranose.
For culinary uses, agar desserts are relatively easy to prepare: bake-free. Agar is also a less heaty choice of children-friendly snack.
Agar desserts (jellies, puddings, and custards) can be prepared the day or the night before birthday parties, casual parties, Christmas, Easter, Halloween or Valentine's Day or barbeque (BBQ) events. Serve chilled.
An alternative to the animal-derived gelatin, agar is also suitable for our friends and family members who are vegetarians.
Since agar is 80% fiber, it is good for laxative purpose. When our little ones suffer from constipation, I will prepare agar desserts, which are more appealing than medicines.
For all of you who love chocolate drinks, including MILO lovers, I lovingly present a recipe of chocolate milk agar pudding with Cheerios.
Preparation & cook time: 30 minutes
♥ 4-5g agar seaweed powder
♥ 8 tsp glucolin
♥ 2 tsp cocoa powder
♥ 250 ml fresh milk*
♥ 250 ml water
♥ Cheerios O rings, to taste
* If you want a creamier version of the pudding, use 500 ml fresh milk and no water.
1. Dissolve agar powder in water & milk.
2. Bring to a boil over low heat & simmer.
3. Stir in glucolin and cocoa powder.
4. While the mixture is hot, pour it onto containers / moulds.
5. Decorate with Cheerios O rings.
Glucolin is suitable for days when we have poor appetite and feel low on energy. When we suffered from diarrhoea, our parents used to feed us glocolin water. Please consume in moderation because an excess intake of sugar can lead to unintentional weight gain.
You can substitute glucolin with sugar. I used glucolin because
1. Glucolin is mainly glucose, but it also comes with calcium and vitamin D3. For every 100g, glucolin has 0.5 g and 500 IU of calcium glycerophosphate and vitamin D3, respectively.
2. It is finer than sugar so it will dissolve faster.
3. I have a tin at home.
♥ Have fun in your kitchen, engage your little ones if they are interested to join in. Mix and match with agar
jelly / pudding of similar / contrasting flavors.
♥ Please ensure dissolving agar powder in enough water or other liquid, to minimize the risks of bowel blockage & trouble swallowing. While the packaging of agar powder that I used for this recipe suggests dissolving 10g agar powder in 1 liter water, sometimes I use slightly more liquid.
Check also our other #5minutemeal recipes.