Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Malaysi@n vs Fil1pin0 agar-agar

Last weekend I learnt the hard way that not all agar-agars are alike.

After successfully making a no-bake cheesecake (yes! a no-bake cheesecake!) and chocolate pudding by modifying the panna cotta recipe, I confidently made both of the dishes (yes, ladies and gentlemen, BOTH) with intentions of bringing it to a gathering.
I had run out of regular Mal@ysian agar-agar (the stringy kind that look more like colorless raffia than food), so I used Fil1pino agar-agar (looks like rectangular blocks of thin flaky plastic) instead. Assuming they were the same, I simply used the same measurements - 1/2 cup of agar-agar to 5 cups of liquid.
I was wrong in my assumptions.
So. wrong!
My pudding and cheesecake didnt set!!!! :(
They were still wobbly and runny even after hours and hours in the fridge.
I even put my pudding in the freezer when I got to the host's house. It hardened a bit but softened not more than 15 minutes after I took it out. Everyone thought it was some kind of porridge! I did not dare to take out the cheescake from it's mold.
Utterly embarassed, I packed everything, even the leftovers, and brought them home.
The failed chocolate pudding is now transferred into my ice lolly molds. At least my kids can have it one of these afternoons.
The cheesecake ... is still in my freezer.. *hangs head in shame*

I vowed to find out how to use the Fil1pino agar-agar. I'll be damned if I'm gonna be defeated by it.
Being an engineer by training, I took the empirical method to find out the perfect ratio of Fil1pino agar-agar to liquid. I carefully measured the agar-agar and the liquids, tried out the smallest ratio first before adding more liquids, until I got to the desired result.
Using only a small amount of agar-agar for each experiment, I managed to achieve success by using only half a packet of the agar-agar.

Here's the magic equation when you're using the Fil1pino agar-agar :
1/2 cup of agar-agar to 2 cups liquid

So if you're ever stuck with using Fil1pino agar-agar instead of the Malaysi@n kind, you know what to do :)


  1. wahei! i guess ur engineering skills came in handy at a time of need..bravo! i'm always afraid of trying to make trifles or custard-y desserts sebab takut tak jadik

    btw, u once posted a recipe for no bake cheesecake right? was that on efx2? can u post it again here *pretty please*?? hehe...

  2. cayala lisa.. my skill dengan malaysian agar2 pun tak berapa ok lagi :)