Molecular Gastronomy 101 – Play with your food !

All of us were taught to eat quietly & NOT play with our food . Life is funny because now that we are adults we look forward to doing just that ! Wondering what we are talking about ? Anmol Chandhok , student of Food Technology at ICT tells us how & why …

” I loved Ratatouille. And not just because the underdog won or because the nice guy got the girl; what I loved the most was that a rat understood that eating food is about so much more than filling our stomachs, it’s about the flavours and the mouth feel and the aromas – the entire experience (this is something that comes inherently to us Punjabi men).Don't Play with your food...

The same goes for molecular gastronomy. I don’t anticipate it to become a mainstay of your workplace canteens anytime soon, but the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ you’ll get from your audience once they’ve really experienced it will be incredibly encouraging. But before I can tell you what you can actually make in your kitchens, let’s have a look at what some of the techniques you can use are:


Probably the most well-known of the molecular gastronomy techniques, spherification involves the formation of droplets of almost any liquid with the membrane(formed essentially by a very simple reaction between sodium alginate and a calcium salt)holding the droplet in place so thin, that it’s hardly perceived by your tongue at all. When the liquid to be ‘spherified’ is mixed with sodium alginate and immersed in the calcium bath, it’s called ‘Basic Spherification’, and when the liquid contains the calcium salt and is immersed in the alginate bath, it’s called ‘Reverse Spherification’. The techniques used are varied as per the liquids involved, but the end product is the same, an explosion of flavors in your mouth with the slightest bit of pressure

Sous vide (pronounced soo-veed)

One of the myths debunked by molecular gastronomy was that searing meats seal in their juices. Instead, it was found that a lot of the juices were lost and took a lot of the flavour with them. Sous vide is a cooking technique that’s very similar to our very own ‘dum pukht’ style, where the food is allowed to cook in its own juices, preserving the taste and nutritional qualities as well. The ingredients are simply sealed in an airtight plastic bag, and placed in a water bath at much lower temperatures than you’d normally use for cooking, like 50-650C for meats, for a much longer time, sometimes as long as 3 days. The result is food that has been cooked very evenly, with all its juicy goodness intact.

sous vide

An important aspect of molecular gastronomy is exemplified by this style of cooking – the need for precision. The temperature of the water bath must be accurately controlled to within a few degrees, especially when keeping the food in longer, for best results. The good news is that sealers and immersion heaters will soon be available at more affordable rates in India. ” Stay tuned for more on how to bring Molecular Gastronomy to your table at home and the ‘funtastic & flavorsome’ foods served in India today using techniques of Molecular Gastronomy.”

The above article is a part of our Knowledge series and the views and comments above are personal views of the author and not the company.

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