Molecular Gastronomy 101 – Let’s Spherify !!!

Eaten at a cool new restaurant lately where you’ve been served curry in spheres and been served dessert with watermelon caviar ? Well you can now try doing this at home. While Anmol Chandhok elaborates on how to use these techniques , the Chenab Team promises to equip you with the tools needed from Spain (Guzman Gastronomia – El Bulli Texturas) that will help you transform a dinner at home into a a magical experience !

Here’s what Anmol has to tell you this week –

“Today let’s have a look at how we can, at home, in our own kitchens, actually use a technique I mentioned last week – spherification. The ingredients I’ll be discussing are from Ferran Adria’s ‘Texturas’ range of products.

For Spherification and Reverse Spherification

What you’ll need:

Algin : This will serve as your source of alginate. It’s a gelling agent and can be used with dairy, aqueous, or fruit mediums. To mix this, blend vigourously. Gels in the presence of Calcic or Gluco.

Calcic : Highly water soluble calcium salt that is essential in the basic spherification reaction. It may impart a flavour to the product if used in reverse spherification.

Gluco : Gluco is your source of calcium gluconolactate, which you will use in reverse spherification. It adds no flavour at all to the food. Can be used for alcoholic, acidic, and dairy mediums.

Citras : If you need to increase the pH of acidic liquids before basic spherification, Citras will be your source of sodium citrate. Always add Citras first to the water if preparing a mixture.

Xantana : Xanthan gum is a thickening agent to be used in reverse spherification. It is obtained from the fermentation of corn starch by a bacteria found in cabbage.

Two bowls, tea spoons and a strainer.

Basic spherification is best used when the medium is clear and free of calcium. As the spheres do not stick together, it is suitable for making imitation caviar.

Recipe for Fruit Juice Caviar

  • Blend 0.5g of Algin into 100ml of the juice of your choice (note: the juice shouldn’t be too acidic i.e. below pH 3.6. If the pH is too low the gel membrane won’t form. Add Citras to increase the pH of citrus juices). Immersion blenders work best, but regular mixers are fine too.
  • Allow the air bubbles out. For this you can both heat the juice (and subsequently allow it to cool in your fridge) which will drive out the air bubbles. Alternatively you can let it stand for 2-4h or until the bubbles leave.
  • To prepare the calcium bath, add 5g of Calcic to 1l of water at room temperature and mix well.
  • Take a teaspoon and use it to gently place drops of juice into the bath. Let them stand for about 45s.
  • Use a strainer to pick up the spheres and rinse them in a clean water bath to stop the spherification process.
  • Use a strainer to gently pick up the spheres.
  • Serve immediately, as the spheres will harden within 10-15 minutes.

Fruit Juice Caviar

Suggested serving: Plain; with cupcakes, ice-cream; or plain old high expectations

In reverse spherification, we invert the process in that the juice has the Gluco(10g per litre of juice) added to it and is dropped into the Algin bath (5g per litre of water). Xantana (2g per litre of juice) is used to thicken the juice to give it a creamy consistency.

Reverse spherification is a much more versatile process in that the liquids that can be used may be acidic, alcoholic, or even have calcium in them, such as dairy products. It’s perfect for cocktails. Also, these spheres are longer lasting, upto a few hours, so you can prepare them before hand when entertaining.

Reverse Spherification

Notes: For best results, allow the cold water – Algin bath to stand in your fridge for atleast 8-10h.

Ensure that the spheres don’t touch each other in reverse spherification, as they will stick together. “

Stay tuned for our next post on how you can get yourself a Molecular Gastronomy kit and if you can’t wait until then email us : / 


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