Kanten, known as agar-agar in the West, is an ancient vegetable gelatin traditionally made by freezing and drying extracts of various red sea vegetables. Kanten’s natural jelling ability, mild flavor, and total lack of calories have made it a favorite with health-conscious cooks around the world.
Kanten comes prepackaged in bars and flakes. Even without refrigeration, kanten sets quickly as it cools, and seals in the natural flavor and sweetness of any fruits and vegetables used. Light and refreshingly cool, kanten dishes are especially popular in the summer. In any season, kanten can be used with vegetables and stock to make molded aspics; as a substitute for pectin in jams, jellies, and cranberry sauce; and in desserts such as puddings and pie fillings.