I often discover something new and exotic to love when I shop at the local Asian market.  This time it was agar agar.  I’ve been turning everything into jello!

Agar agar is made from algae and it works just like gelatin, only a little better, I think.  I forgot to set the dishes in the fridge the first time I made it and it still set up just perfectly.  All you do is boil your liquid of choice, stir in the powder and then let it sit until it’s firm.  You can vary the amount of agar agar for a looser or firmer set.

The top picture is of an apple cider version sprinkled with cinnamon.  We also boiled up some mango puree and made a jelly of that.  And I couldn’t resist trying it with some coconut milk; it was a huge hit!  I barely had time to take a picture before we ate it all up!

PS Another favorite Asian store find is dried wakame.  It plumps up in water almost instantly and I toss it into every stir-fry I make: mild, tasty, super nutrient-dense; it’s our new love!  What culinary discoveries have you made at your local ethnic market?

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