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Monday, July 1, 2013

Agar Agar ( agar strips )

Among the few desserts mum used to make, this has to be my favorite. Colorful, cold agar blocks cut with a wavy agar knife – it has always been a REAL treat when all other treats at home are always served hot.

I took this for granted and when mum is no longer around to make this, I realized I might never figure out the ratio of water to agar strips. Agar agar is now erased from the annals of my kitchen recipe book.

That is, until my college going kid got into a science research program and had to generate lots of agar for bacteria culture. What a strange source of information – that I should learn from an aspiring scientist and non-cook. According to the little scientist, it should be 15g of agar ( strips or powder ) to 1 liter of water / liquid for a manageable form of firm agar.

Wisdom comes from the strangest places and true to her recommendation, I have arrived at a magic agar to water ratio. With this, I can now manipulate the liquid component to arrive at varied serviceable textures.

Makes 3 tubs of agar agar.

Ingredients :

34g agar strips.
2.3 litres of  liquid ( 2 litres water, 300 ml coconut milk )
Gula Melaka 500g or according to taste.

Presoak agar strips for 30 minutes.

Bring water ( not milk ) and agar to a slow boil. Use a big pot because the agar will boil over.

Add sugar and cook until agar and sugar are totally dissolved.

Bring liquid to a boil again. Add coconut milk, boil for a split second.

Transfer to molds and leave it to set. Do not agitate the liquid so that water and coconut will separate.

When sufficiently cooled, chill until agar is set.

Note : The latest batch uses 12g per liter of water which yields a softer but still firm agar, which I prefer. It goes nicely with about 90g of sugar per liter of water.


  1. Very pretty dessert treat. I love to have a piece from you :)

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe. I like to use agar agar strips but always have to figure out the ratio of water to the strips. This dessert looks yum!

  3. Ok I am running into the kitchen now to see whether my agar strips is enough. Brilliant little scientist.

  4. You are right about " erased recipe". I had always regretted that I never learned how to make it from my gran... now I can make it for my children & tell them how I loved coming back from school and found my agar-agar waiting for me...thanks.

  5. Hi Thks for this.I have tried this water consistency with 12 g one litre watet.It works well

  6. Hi, thanks so much for this ratio. I was in the same siuation where I never learnt it from my mum. Can't wait to try it!

  7. Hi,thanks and I've been using agar agar strips since mom always made hers and a specialty in our family. Tho' mom passed on I still made this agar agar using rose syrup especially for our Lunar New Year and use her special wavy knife passed in by mom. Rose agar agar always a special request from families and friends. Merry Christmas and a Happy 2019 New Year. Cheers.

    1. So wonderful to remember our loved ones through their recipes. You have a good year ahead.Happy New Year, Jane!

  8. I was reading & comparing the ratio of water to agar2 strips. If 12g is 1 lit then a pkt of agar2 38g is 3 lit (balance 2g is insignicant. Lol). Looks like a lot of water. I tried before with 32g with 2.3lit water is too soft. I am doing the dry agar2. Dry outside in the sun or at the counter till sugar crystalised. Will not melt. Its clear & transparent caramelised. Its crunchy. Malay called it agar2 jemuh. You put in the fridge for the cold. This method uses boiling & straining 4 or 5 times. If you do the layer by layer like lapis you get a chee cheong fun roll. Then you use jelly knife cut at an angle. These ancient recipes is passed down through generations not recipe book.