A long-lasting and crunchy sweet treat that needs no refrigeration, it is often served during Syawal, the Raya month. The glassy exterior is a result of being dried i the sun over several days but this effect can now be achieved using a food drier or dehydrator. Popular in Terengganu, Pahang and Johor and northern states like Kedah. Other name for this treat: Beleda Kering.
This recipe was first published in Flavours magazine.
Wash whole and dry them. When breaking eggs, separate the yolks and retain the rest, including eggshells.
To prepare agar-agar strips:
Soak agar-agar in water to soften. Rinse and strain agar-agar. Heat agar-agar in measured quantity of water in a brass wok or grengseng (stainless steel pot is an acceptable substitute) on medium heat. Stir occasionally to ensure agar-agar dissolves evenly. Add sugar, rock sugar, and coarsely torn kaffir lime leaves.
To make agar-agar jemur:
When sugar has dissolved, add egg whites and eggshells to agar-agar to remove scum. Continue to cook on medium heat. After about 5 minutes, remove kaffir lime leaves, cooked egg white and shells using a slotted spoon.
Strain agar-agar mixture through a fine sieve lined with a muslin cloth into a large clean pot.
Heat pot on low heat to ensure agar-agar mixture remains liquid. Transfer a quarter of the agar-agar mixture into a bowl and add a few drops of food colouring.
Pour colored agar-agar into small moulds or fill a pan about 1-2cm high. Repeat with remaining mixture, using other colours and moulds. Cover moulds with paper (make sure paper does not touch agar-agar surface) and leave agar-agar to solidify overnight.
Unmould agar-agar. If made in a pan, cut into bite-size pieces using a wavy cutter. (Note: Agar-agar pieces will shrink upon drying so make allowance for this when cutting.) Arrange on a tray and loosely cover with a voile or muslin cloth before drying under the sun for several days until a layer of sugar crust appears on the surface.
Alternatively, agar-agar may also be dried in a food drier at 50-55°C for 48 to 60 hours, depending on size.
Keep agar-agar pieces in sealed containers. They will last for several weeks without refrigeration.