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agar = agar-agar = agar agar = dai choy goh = kanten = Japanese gelatin = Japanese isinglass = Chinese gelatin = Chinese isinglass = vegetable gelatin = angel's hair  Pronunciation:  AH-gur Equivalents:    Each of these amounts will firm two cups of liquid:  3 tablespoons agar flakes = 2 teaspoons agar powder = 1 kanten bar     Notes:    Since gelatin is made from animal tissue, many vegetarians rely upon this seaweed derivative as a substitute.  Like ordinary gelatin, agar is flavorless and becomes gelatinous when it's dissolved in water, heated, and then cooled.   Agar, though, gels more firmly than gelatin, and it sets and melts at a higher temperature--it can even set at room temperature.  Agar, like gelatin, is full of protein (though incomplete), but it also contains the rich array of minerals one would expect from seaweed.   To use agar, just soak it in the liquid for about 15 minutes, bring it to a gentle boil, then simmer while stirring until it's completely dissolved.  The liquid will gel as it cools.  Acids weakens agar's gelling power, so if you're firming an acidic liquid, use more.  Like gelatin, agar will break down if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw fruits, like kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs.  Cooking these fruits, though, destroys the enzymes.  If you plan to add any of these fruits to a gelatin salad, it's a good idea to buy them in cans, since all canned fruit is pre-cooked.   Agar comes in flakes, powder, or bars.    Substitutes:  gelatin (Substitute one tablespoon powdered gelatin for every tablespoon of powdered agar.  Gelatin is made from animal by-products.)

angel's hair

animal jelly

aspic powder = aspic jelly powder    Pronunciation:   ASS-pick  Notes:   This is used to make a gelatinous glaze for cold meat, fish, or vegetables.  When finished, the dish is said to be served "in aspic."   Commercial aspic powder is made of gelatin, salt, and other flavorings.  It also comes in sheets, called aspic leaves.    Substitutes:  gelatin (flavored with meat, fish, or vegetable stock)

carrageen = carragheen = Irish moss   Equivalents:  One ounce dried carrageen will set one cup of liquid.  Pronunciation:  KEHR-uh-gheen   Notes:  This purple seaweed can be cooked as a nutritious vegetable, but cooks are often more interested in the liquid it cooks in, for it thickens like gelatin when it cools.   It's widely used in the British Isles to make puddings and molded gelatin desserts, or to thicken soups.  A carrageen extract, called carrageenan, is used commercially to make ice cream, jelly, and other things.  To use the dried seaweed as a thickener, first rinse it carefully, then soak it in water until it swells.  Next add the carrageen to the liquid you wish to set, boil the liquid for about 10 minutes, then strain out and discard the carrageen.  Look for dried carrageen in health food stores.   Substitutes: agar (produces a firm gelatin than carrageen) OR gelatin 

Chinese gelatin

Chinese isinglass

dai choy goh


gelatin = animal jelly = gelatine = unflavored gelatin = unflavored gelatine   Pronunciation:  JELL-uh-tin  Equivalents:  One envelope of plain granulated gelatin = 1/4 ounce = 1 tablespoon, enough to gel two cups liquid.  4 sheets leaf gelatin = 1 envelope granulated gelatin = 1 tablespoon granulated gelatin   Notes:   Gelatin is flavorless and colorless, and if you dissolve it in a hot liquid, the liquid will gel as it cools. When reheated, say in your mouth, the gel melts.  Most of us know gelatin as the key ingredient in the quivering dessert we call Jell-O, but cooks also use it to make cheesecakes, mousses, marshmallows, meringues, chiffon pies, ice cream, nougats, aspics, and many other things.   Gelatin will break down if exposed to the enzymes of certain raw fruits, like kiwi fruit, papayas, pineapple, peaches, mangos, guavas, and figs.  Cooking these fruits, though, destroys the enzymes.  If you plan to add these fruits to a gelatin salad, it's often easiest to buy them in cans, for all canned fruit is pre-cooked.  Gelatin is made from the bones, skins, hooves, and connective tissue of animals, including pigs, so it's objectionable to vegetarians and members of certain religions.  Kosher gelatins are available, and some of these are also vegetarian.   Substitutes:   agar (A good choice for vegetarians.) OR guar gum OR carrageen OR arrowroot


gelatin dessert mix = Jell-O mix = jello mix = jelly mix    Notes:   This is a powdered mixture of gelatin, sweetener, and artificial fruit flavoring that's used to make a molded, translucent, quivering dessert that Americans call jello.   People in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand call this dessert "jelly," and use the word "jam" for the preserved fruit spread that Americans call jelly.  


glace  Pronunciation:  GLAHSS  Notes:  A glace is a meat or fish stock that's been cooked for many, many hours until it's thick and rich with flavor.   French cooks add dollops of it to their sauces at the last minute to thicken them and boost their flavor.  You can make a glace yourself or buy it ready-made, but count on paying dearly with either time or money.  There are several varieties, including glace de viande (also called meat glace or meat jelly), glace de poisson (fish glace), glace de poulet (chicken glace), and glace de veau (veal glace).  A demi-glace is made the same way as a glace, but it's not as thick.    

Irish moss

isinglass   Pronunciation:   I-zun-glass Notes:   This gelatin comes from the air bladders of sturgeon and other fish.   It's sometimes used to clarify wine.   Substitutes:  gelatin OR carrageen

Japanese gelatin

Japanese isinglass


vegetable gelatin

vegetarian gelling agents = vegetarian gelatins = vegetable gelatins   Notes:   Vegetarians use these instead of gelatin, which is derived from the bones and tissues of animals.  The most popular are agar and carrageen, both of which are derived from seaweed.


Copyright 1996-2005  Lori Alden