Ever since I learnt the importance of dietary fiber (watch my interview with Michael Lustgarten, PhD here), I’ve been trying to increase my daily intake of both soluble and insoluble fibers. It’s not easy, though; even root vegetables like burdock, often considered one of the richest sources for fibers, contain merely six grams per 100 g, Though I do incorporate other fiber-rich foods like raw cacao beans (30 g fiber per 100 g) and chia seeds (34 g per 100 g) in my diet I am continuously looking for other easy sources for this important nutrition.
While reading a Japanese cooking book, I was reminded of kanten (agar), which has traditionally been used as a curdling agent. It is made of two different seaweed species; “tengusa” (Gelidiaceae) and “ogonori” (Gracilaria) to provide a perfect consistency. Both species are types of red algae and contain a very high amount of dietary fiber, a whopping 80 g per 100 g!
If you are not a regular seaweed eater, kanten may be an excellent addition to your diet; beside a high amount of fibers, seaweeds also contain various fight chemicals that possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and even anti-cancer properties.
4 g Japanese kanten powder – I like this one in a ready-to-use 4 grams portion
You can replace kanten with agar like this one
3 dl Juice of strawberries – I use liquid that naturally results from thawed strawberries
2 dl distilled water
1 – 3 tsp organic raw honey
1. Put the kanten and the water into a small pot. Heat the mixture on a low-medium heat constantly stirring. Let it boil.
2. As soon as the mixture starts boiling, lower the heat to low. Keep cooking it for another 4-5 minutes constantly stirring. At this point, the kanten is completely melted and the liquid should look a little thicker than pure water.
3. Add the strawberry juice to the pan, making sure to add the juice little by little to prevent a pre-mature curdling in the pan. Turn off the heat when all the juice is added. Add the raw honey. Stir to make an even mixture.
4. Transfer the mixture into a square ramekin. Let it cool in the room temperature before transferring to the fridge.
5. It takes about one hour before the kanten solidifies.
Bon appetit. Enjoy!