Gulaman, in Filipino cuisine, is a bar of or powdered form of dried agar or carrageenan used to make jelly-like desserts. In common usage, it also usually refers to the refreshment sago't gulaman, sometimes referred to as samalamig, sold at roadside stalls and vendors.
Gulaman is the Filipino culinary use of agar, which is made of processed Gracilaria seaweed; or from carrageenan derived from other farmed seaweed species like Eucheuma and Kappaphycus alvarezii which were first cultivated commercially in the Philippines.
Gulaman bars are used in the various Filipino refreshments or desserts such as sago at gulaman, buko pandan, agar flan, halo-halo, different varieties of Filipino fruit salads, black gulaman, and red gulaman.
Differences between gelatine and gulaman
The term gelatine (or "jelly") and gulaman are used synonymously in the Philippines, although they are very different products. While gelatine is an animal-derived protein, gulaman is a plant-derived carbohydrate made from seaweed. This distinction makes gulaman suitable for those who may not eat gelatine for religious or cultural reasons, such as Muslims.
Gelatine dissolves in hot water but boiling water is necessary to dissolve gulaman. Unlike gelatine which sets at refrigerator temperature, gulaman sets at room temperature. While gelatine can melt at room temperature, it is uniquely thermo-reversible to its previous shape and form.
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