Substituting Agar For Gelatin

A couple of years ago, I tried to make ‘almond tofu’ from scratch using agar but got mixed results; and most of the time, the end result was too firm or didn’t quite have that ‘jiggle factor’ that kinugoshi tofu has.  Iron Chef Chen has an ‘almond pudding’ (which he also refers to as ‘annin tofu’) in his book (p. 97) that uses gelatin to get the job done; Iron Chef Morimoto has a tofu cheesecake that apparently also uses gelatin.  I’ve been contemplating trying both recipes. It’s been my impression that gelatin is used in a lot of applications.  I thought to myself – what if I was going to make a dessert for vegetarians/vegans – how would I do it?   So the first thing I needed to research was what the recommended gelatin-to-agar conversion measurements were.  After running about the net, I came across two pieces of information  –

* http://www.cheftalk.com/t/10901/gelatin-conversion

The discussion here seems to indicate that –

Most common rule: 1 pack of gelatin = 7.1 gms (approximately) = 1/4 oz (exactly) = 4 sheets (about) = 1 tbs granulated (about). However, note that 1 pack of gelatin usually = 2.5 (and not 3.0) tsp.
Slightly less common rule: 1-1/2 sheets of gelatin = 1 tsp granulated. This translates to: 4-1/2 sheets = 1 tbs, a 12.5% difference.

So that suggests 1 granulated teaspoon is about 2.6625 gms

* http://uk.answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20070317042432AAuwTAG

The discussion here suggests that –

To jell about 2 c. of liquid: 1 T. animal gelatin = 2 T. agar flakes =1 tsp. agar powder

The upshot of this is that there appears to be a 3:1 powdered gelatin to powdered agar conversion.

Iron Chef Chen’s recipe for the almond pudding/almond tofu calls for 10g leaf gelatin (that is going to be soaked) mixed into 1 1/4 cups of water (heated) and 1 5/6 oz (55g) of sugar [the weighed out sugar measured out to 5 tablespoons].  This suggests that that would be about 3.756 teaspoons (3 3/4 teaspoons) of granulated gelatin.  Estimating the agar conversion, it suggests 1 1/4 teaspoon of the powdered agar.

I guess I need to contemplate this a bit more before I test this conversion theory and apply it to Iron Chef Chen’s ‘Almond Pudding’.

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  1. #1 by Jim on January 22, 2017 - 5:24 pm

    I’ve read (on the internet) that equivalent ratio is eight to one based on concentration. (gelatin to agar). – not based on weight. And the texture is not as smooth with the agar. I’m trying to make a bird feeder cake that is good for all seasons.

    • #2 by tastingmenu on January 23, 2017 - 9:36 pm

      Hi Jim –

      You might be right.

      I’d been fighting with this recipe for a long time. If you got a chance to read my write up at: https://tastingmenu.wordpress.com/2012/04/24/iron-chef-chens-almond-pudding-vegan-version/ , you’ll see that I found the 3:1 didn’t quite work when I went to pure soy milk and I had to make a further adjustment from the water/soy milk mix.

      So there may be room to tune the ratio; but I suspect, as I mentioned, some of the acidity issues may come in to play and make the substitutions more difficult

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