Agar Agar is a combination of sea-derived flakes that gels when combined with liquids, making it perfect for vegetarians and those concerned with eating halal since it’s an all-natural substitute for pork-derived gelatin and any other non-halal, non-dhabiha meat sources of gelatin (which can also come from beef). It is most often derived from seaweed.
It’s super convenient to use, no-mess.
You can also find other varieties in health food stores, Asian stores, Indo-Pak stores and online.
You can also get agar agar powder that is Kosher-certified, at this Amazon link.
In the Chicagoland area, try Uni Mart (a Filipino Food Market) where they sell inexpensive agar agar that you must break off to flake and measure yourself (as in the photo below).
Unimart is located at:
7315 W Dempster Ave (between Harlem Ave & Oketo Ave)
Niles, IL 60714
What would you actually use agar-agar for in cooking?
You can use it to make homemade desserts such as fruit gelatines (think Strawberry jell-o), and the delicious Italian panna cotta delights. (I have recipes for both in my Summer Ramadan Cooking book, available in paperback or on Kindle).
For savory dishes, you can use agar agar to make meat terrines such as beef, chicken or duck pate. Ooh, la la- tre French!