Everything you need to know about Gelatin and Vegan Gelatin~Gelatin, Agar-agar, carrageenan (EP214)

Everything you need to know about Gelatin and Vegan Gelatin~Gelatin, Agar-agar, carrageenan (EP214)

Today I want to share, everything you need to know about gelatin, agar-agar powder (=Kanten,) and Vegan gelatin(=carrageenan and locust bean gum product.)

These are commonly used gelling agents in the Japanese kitchen; We use different usage for each one of them depends on what texture you want to make.

Today, I am going to be making raindrop cakes with 3 different gelling agent to see the difference, to make a comparison. 

Gelatin (powder/leaf)

Gelatin (Powder / leaf)

Let’s start with gelatin, which widely available and the most popular gelling agent for all of you.

What is gelatin?

Gelatin is a protein obtains from skins and bones of cows or pigs.

I have powdered gelatin and leaf gelatin.

Powdered gelatin is widely available at supermarkets comes in small packages. 

On the other hand, leaf gelatin is used in a professional kitchen rather than a home kitchen.

Gelatin makes soft and melt-in-your-mouth texture jelly because it starts melting at 25 ℃(77℃).

It melts at body temperature, right after touches to your tongue.

You can make soft and wobbly jelly or stiff jelly like a gummy bear by adding more or less gelatin.

Powdered gelatin should be bloomed before use with water. The ratio of water for blooming is 1 part powdered gelatin, 5 part water from the liquid you are going to set. Let it sit for 5 mins until gelatin granules soak up all the water.

In these days, there is a product that you don’t have to bloom before use it. You can directly add in a hot liquid and just mix, and chill, then you can get the jelly. 

Please check the package instruction when you purchase.

Leaf geratin should be bloomed in generous amount of ice-cold water. The reason we use ice-cold water is, gelatin would melt at 25 ℃, as I said, the gelling property would steep into the water if it is room temperature. 

Let it sit for at least 10 mins to swell fully. 

Please do so if the package instruction says a couple of minutes is enough. That’s my pro tip to make a good jelly.

Raindrop cake with gelatin powder
Raindrop cake with gelatin leaf

To make it into a raindrop cake, you will need

・10g gelatin

・ 10g of white sugar

・ a pinch of salt

・400 ml of water.

Here is the instruction.

1)Put your sugar and salt in a bowl, and pour boiling water over it.

Whisk to dissolve.

2)prinkle gelatin powder directly over the hot water.

Today I have powdered gelatin, which doesn’t need to bloom.

Whisk to dissolve completely, and then put the bowl onto an ice bath.

3)Chill until the liquid starts setting.

Transfer to moistened mold. Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours.

Keep in mind gelatin should not boil. If you boil it, weakens the thickening property.

Do the same to leaf gelatin. 

Gelatin will set under the temperature of 25 ℃, it’s going to take a while to set completely.

So you want to chill before it goes into the fridge to shorten the time to set.

Transfer the liquid to a moistened mold when it’s start to set. 

Chill in the fridge at least 2 hours before unmold.

Agar (or agar-agar) = Kanten

Next, agar (or agar-agar) powder, as known as Kanten in Japanese.

I didn’t know Kanten is sold in the name of agar outside Japan.

Agar (or agar-agar) =Kanten

So I mixed up with the other product in the former videos. I apologize for that.

For now, let’s see what the agar is.

It’s a traditional Japanese jelling agent, used for hundreds of years.

Its a seaweed extract to set the liquid stiff and firm.

The jelly from agar looks cloudy, and the texture is flaky, I would say.

It doesn’t melt in your mouth, you have to chew it. 

What is agar-agar?

The seaweed is Tengusa which is translated into agar in English. 


That’s why we you call it agar powder.

It comes in 3 types of forms, One is thread, one is a bar and powder.

Kanten bar
Kanten thread

I use powdered agar today.

To make equivalent consistency to gelatin, you will need,

・4g agar powder

・10g sugar

・a pinch of salt

・400ml water

Here is the instruction.

1)Put in agar powder into a pot and pour water and stir to mix.

Turn the heat to medium, and bring it to a boil.

What you want to do is boil for at least a minute to dissolve agar completely, otherwise, it doesn’t set.

2)Turn the heat to low and add sugar and salt.

Stir to dissolve and transfer to a moistened mold.

Since the agar is set at 40 ~ 50 ℃, work on it quickly while still hot.

Leave it to room temp. and then chill in the fridge.

Raindrop cake with agar

Vegan gelatin (carrageenan and locust bean gum product)

last but not least, vegan gelatin (=carrageenan.)

Well, actually, we call this product as Agar in Japanese, to distinguish from Kanten.

It is made from carrageenan which is another seaweed extract and locust bean gum.

What you can find on YouTube is made of this kind of product.

You can find so many of “Raindrop cake” videos on YouTube like this
“Cool Agar” Vegan gelatin (carrageenan and locust bean gum product)

You can find a wide varieties of Vegan gelatin product in Japan. 

This product is relatively new, becomes very popular about 20 years ago.

Especially, after the raindrop cake becomes to known all around the world 10 years ago.

But I don’t think you can easily access, but I found a similar product online.

What is Vegan gelatin (carrageenan)?

It makes crystal clear jelly as you see, and the texture is slippery and smooth but has a bouncy texture.

I love the texture so much and I use it for so many recipes.

You will need

・13g vegan gelatin

・10g sugar

・a pinch of salt

・ 400ml water

Here is the instruction

1)Mix vegan gelatin with the sugar, first.

Since the granules are so fine, it’s not easy to mix with water itself.

And then, mix with two tablespoons of water.

2)Whisk to combine and transfer to a pot.

Rince the bowl with the remaining water, because it is the part of the ratio.

3)Turn the heat to medium, and bring up to just before boiling.

You don’t want to boil over, otherwise your jelly won’t set.

Transfer to a moistened mold while it is hot.

Vegan gelatin will set at 40℃, work quickly as we did for the agar agar.

Leave it until it comes to room temp, then chill in the fridge.

Raindrop cake with vegan gelatin

It makes crystal clear jelly of all.

Here is the good explanation of this type of pruduct.


Now you found out the difference, so you can make a jelly to your personal preference.

I hope the information is helpful!

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