Agar agar. A gelatine-like product which is extracted from a brownish-white seaweed with thorny projections called tengusa. It is a useful vegetarian alternative to gelatine. It is dried in the sun and then boiled creating a viscous substance which is sold after processing into thin, transparent, white sheets. When dissolved in water it cools to a jelly. It has a great capacity for absorbing liquid. It is available in other forms, of which the most common are bar and powder. Agar-agar sets quickly and does not melt at room temperature. It is used by the Japanese in soups and confections, by the Chinese in yokan and the food industry in everything. It is represented by E406.