Basil Agar Sheet and Variations

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agar

Agar is a plant-based gelatin substitute derived from red algae. It is an off-white powder, available at well-stocked spice stores or online. It doesn’t require a hechsher. You might have seen Agar-Agar Flakes available at specialty stores — don’t be tempted to use them. Agar flakes have different properties than agar powder, and won’t work properly in our recipes. 

  • Duration
  • Prep Time
  • 8Servings

Ingredients

Basil Agar Sheets

  • 1 1⁄2 cups of basil leaves, washed & packed
  • 4 cups of vegetable broth or water
  • 2 teaspoons powdered agar

Balsamic Agar Sheets:

  • 1 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon agar powder
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon sugar or honey, if desired

Fruit Juice Agar Sheets:

  • 1 cup fruit juice
  • 1 tablespoon sugar if desired
  • 1 teaspoon agar powder

Honey Agar Sheets:

  • 1⁄2 cup of honey
  • 1⁄3 cup of water
  • 1 teaspoon of powdered agar

Preparation

Basil Agar Sheets:  

1. Prepare an ice-water bath and bring a pot of water to a rapid boil.

2. Drop the basil leaves in the boiling water and stir for 15 seconds. Strain them out and place them in the ice-water bath to set their color.

3. Squeeze the water out of the basil and place it in a blender with 2 cups of the broth or water. Blend on high speed, until completely mixed.

4. Warm 2 cups of broth or water in a small saucepan with the agar. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes while whisking.

5. Pour the hot mixture into the blender, together with the cold mixture. Close the blender and hold the cover on with a dish-towel. Blend on high-speed until combined.

6. Pour the mixture onto a large platter and cool in the fridge until set. Be careful with this step! It is much easier to pour into a tray that is already in the fridge. You may need to experiment to find the right size tray, to get the desired thickness of sheet. Also, you’ll find out if your refrigerator is properly leveled.

Variations:

Try an alternative by just bringing all ingredients to a boil. Simmer and whisk constantly for two minutes. Pour into a flat tray. Allow to set in fridge.

Recipe originally published in Joy of Kosher with Jamie Geller Magazine Fall 2014  SUBSCRIBE NOW 

Fall 2014 Magazine