I bought 2 fresh mangoes yesterday and used 1 to make a mango pudding this afternoon. I have 2 recipes on hand, one using gelatine and the other using agar-agar powder. In the end I decided to try out the recipe using the "Red Man" agar-agar powder which my sis brought along to Belgium recently.
Reason? Well, agar-agar is healthier and sets faster. Gelatine or Gelatin, apparently, is made from the collagen found inside animal bones and skins, mainly pig skins or cattle bones, sometimes also from fish by-products. I know some of you may squirm or shudder, but yes that is true, I knew it was made from animals but I wasn't sure until I googled it. Agar-agar (which in Malay means jelly), on the other hand, is a gelatinous substance obtained from seaweed and is completely vegetarian and halal.
According to this article in dutch, besides being a vegetarian substitute for binding, agar-agar also has the advantage of being able to set at room temperature as compared to gelatine. Agar-agar coagulates at 37 degrees celsius whereas gelatine only starts coagulating at a temperature of below 20 degrees celsius. Furthermore, you need less agar-agar than gelatine to bind. For every one liter of fluid, you need approximately 10 sheets of gelatine whereas for agar-agar, you need only 4 grams of agar-agar in concentrated powder or 8 grams of agar-agar in strip or flake form.
But agar-agar is not without its disadvantages. It looses its binding force in liquids with high acidity. For certain products with high acidity, the stiffening process is more inhibited and you need to add more agar-agar to the recipe. In fact, there are some products such as chocolate, kiwi and spinach, which are known to prevent the stiffening process of agar-agar.Another disadvantage is that the binding force is of relatively short duration. It loses its binding power after 2 to 3 hours, allowing the moisture to loosen again.
So much about agar-agar versus gelatine, let's enjoy some mango pudding or mango agar-agar now.
Recipe adapted from Rose Kitchenette
1 x 13g packet agar agar powder
150g sugar (reduced from 200g)
250ml fresh mango juice
250ml fresh milk
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Note : The total amount of liquid for a packet of 13g agar-agar powder, is 1 litre. If your freshly-blended mango juice exceeds 250ml, then just adjust the milk and water accordingly to make it 1 litre in total. Note that my mango was 500g with skin intact, 400g after removing the skin, and 300g after removing the seed. So there was about 300ml of fresh mango juice after extraction. Also adjust the amount of sugar according to the sweetness of the mango and your own preference. I would say min 150g, max 200g of sugar is required for 1 litre of liquid.
1. Remove the skin and seed of the mango and blend it in a food processor.
2. In a small pot, boil sugar with agar agar powder in 500ml water over a low-medium heat till the agar agar dissolves.
3. Add in 250ml fresh mango juice, 250ml fresh milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla essence and stir well.
4. Pour into a pudding mould or pour into wine glasses to set. Chill it in the fridge to allow it to set, before serving.
Note : The estimated time for the mango pudding to set in wine glass is about 30 - 40 min, and the estimated time for the mango pudding to set in pudding mould is less than 2 hours. This recipe allows you to make servings of mango pudding in 3 wine glasses and an additional small 6 inch pudding mould.
If you do not know how agar-agar looks like, here are some pictures to show you.
|Red Man Agar-Agar Powder (12g) bought in Singapore.|
|Agar-Agar is also available in strips as shown here. Bought in Antwerp.|
I am submitting this to Aspiring Bakers #20: Asian Dessert Buffet (June 2012), hosted by Moon of Food Playground.