I am sure most of us know the jest of agar-agar creations, since they are not difficult and even the packaging itself spells out what already has to be done. Therefore, the below tips are just meant for further sharing and references. Feel free to add on to the list if you know of others !
Mixing of colours in agar-agar creations can be quite a skill. I guess the best way to do it (for me), is probably adding the colours on a per drop basis, until you get the desired tone you need. As I always prefer pastel shades in my agar-agar, the addition of milk or coconut milk is necessary to create a white base colour before adding any other colours to achieve the “pastel” effect.
Normal agar-agar powder yields a transparent jelly and the addition of colours just provide a deep transparent shade which can be easily achieved. So it depends on how you want your jelly creations to turn out.
Of course, having many different kinds and shapes of moulds means you can create more agar agar with various shapes and types. Therefore, I never failed to grab any nice mould should I come across one. Because some of the designs can be “limited editions”, and these moulds will never get spoil or expired, so better to get them now rather than wait till they are no longer in production and regretting later. This is my “philosophy” lor, of coz they cannot be of exorbitant prices, if not I will think twice too! Hahahha! There are a few sources from where I get my moulds from, namely Gim Hin Lee at Haig Road and Sunlik Trading at Seah Street and from online Rakuten Japan and Q0010.sg. You can do a simple google search on these places and should not encounter any difficulty in finding what you want.
Almost all kinds of moulds can be used for agar-agar, plastic, metal, brass, silicon, even ice-cube trays. Except for paper ok ! From what I gathered, silicon moulds have the greatest ease of removing the jelly from the moulds, followed by metal and plastic. If you have problems removing the jelly from the mould after it hardens, use a toothpick to go around the sides of the mould to release it carefully. Otherwise, dab the mould with droplets of water before pouring in the agar agar mixture right at the beginning, for ease of unmoulding it later.
If you need to create more than one layer of the jelly, use a fork to poke holes throughout the harden agar agar before pouring in the next layer. This will ensure that the layers stick well to each other and not break apart after unmoulding.
Because I had a pack of coconut powder on hand, I used it this time to replace the coconut milk. All I can say is… Please use fresh coconut milk next time instead. Nothing beats that. The coconut powder is indeed not as ideal to be used in jelly as the taste came out to be less fragrant than fresh one.
And for small designs like these, where you intend to use a different colour for the eyes/ears, you will often face the problem of having too much agar agar liquid spilling out of the small little holes. In this case, a cotton bud is useful in sucking up the excess spillage to continue with your work.
While excess care and of coz more time is required for detailed and small designs, the agar agar mixture could have harden even before you finished your masterpiece. Just on the stove again and reheat the mixture till they turn into liquid and you are good to proceed.
Some suggested the use of a syringe or straw to fill up the small gaps in the mould, however I used a small metal teaspoon instead and fill it up carefully by every droplet, into them. It works fine for me, so it’s really up to individual’s preferences of convenience.
As for the eyes of these creatures, you could use a toothpick to dip into some black edible ink and dot onto them. However, do take note to dot a very mini dot as the color will spread as it goes into the agar-agar. You won’t want to see a cross-eyed agar agar animal, rite ?
Hope the above have been useful. And if I encounter any further interesting tips to note, I will pen them down again !
For method, you could refer to my previous post here or simply following what’s stated on the agar agar powder packaging !
In the meantime, happy mid-week !!