Archive for the ‘Gelifications’ Category

Molecular Gastronomy – Carrageenan Kappa and Iota

I’m back with some awesome molecular gastronomy adventures. Today I want to take you into the world of the Carrageenan. What are carrageenans? They are composed of a linear polysaccharide made up of galactose units with sulfur side groups. The origin of carrageenans are red seaweeds. There are several types of carrageenans such as, kappa, iota, and lambda. I’m going to focus on Kappa and Iota carrageenan for this post and share an awesome molecular gastronomy recipe.

A short introduction to Carrageenans:

Natural Carrageenans occur in a mixture of kappa, iota, and lambda types. Note that manufactures desperately try to separate the various types as best as they could, nevertheless; total separation is impossible. Carrageenans also vary from mixture to mixture, therefore; they are standardized for a particular application. Note: when specifying for a carrageenan make sure to tell the manufacture whether you will be using it for water based system or milk based system. Carrageenans are most often used in milk based applications due to the fact that are effective at very low concentrations. For example, gels can form at .3% in milk.

The Kappa and iota carrageenan can be mixed to obtain intermediate textures. Kappa carrageenan shows a great combination with the thickener locust bean gum. By combining these two together you get a stronger, less brittle, more cohesive, and less prone to break. I’ve found that the strongest and best ration is 6 parts kappa carrageenan to 4 parts LBG. Kappa-LBG mixes are often used to substitute for gelatin and make for a great vegan friendly dish.

You use Kappa carrageenan by dispersing it in water or milkl under shear and heat until completely dissolved (usually above 60C). Kappa-LBG mixes need to be brought almost to boil to become fully functional, but will set and re-melt at lower temperatures. Solutions up to 3% can be made using cold water dispersion. Solutions up to 8% can be made if the carregeenan is dissolved directly into very hot water under high shear.

Typical usage is .75% to 1% in water, and .35% to .5% in milk.

Kappa Carrageenan is used mostly to gel mixtures – it is the most like agar in behavior. The gel type is thermo-reversible with a texture that is firm, strong, and brittle. Gel temperature increases with ion concentration, with values ranging from 40C – 70C. The setting factor is very fast with a PH tolerance down to pH 3.6 if boiled, lower is not over heated. Moreover, the kappa carrageenan is not freezer stable and has an ion sensitivity when potassium salts are not present. Kappa also forms gels at very low concentrations with milk and the flavor release is good.

Iota Carrageenan is used mostly to gel mixtures – it is more rubbery in texture. The gel type is thermo-reversible with an elastic and cohesive texture. The gel temperature increases with ion concentration, with values ranging from 40C – 70C, and has a fast setting time. Iota is freezer stable and has an ion sensitivity in the presence of calcium or potassium. Once you shear Iota a gel will form and be loaded with a flavorful release. Moreover, iota forms gels at very low concentrations with milk.

Carregeenan Recipe

Vegetarian Marshmallow

27.5 g Cornsyrup

275g Fine Sugar

2.5g Lactose (milk sugar)

12.95g Water

.5g Versawhip

28g Hi Fructose Corn Syrup

1g Genutine x-9303 Carrageenan

Combine in mixer with mixing attachment and mix until you get fluff. Next pour into marshmallow molds (or ice molds) and allow to set. Once set, powder in confectioners sugar and serve.


Enjoy your explorations with the Carrageenan and look for more molecular gastronomy recipe posts coming soon.

Molecular Gastronomy – Agar agar

October 5, 2010 1 comment

Molecular gastronomy is back and ready to dish out more advanced and novice molecular based gourmet recipes. I want to start with a primer of sorts: something to introduce the topic of discourse before we start to deconstruct. For this post we will be focusing on the hydrocolloid: Agar.

Agar: a brief description

A linear polysaccharide made of glaactose units. Agar is a red seaweed and its function is for Gelling (but I will show you a recipe for “cold-oil spherification.”

Agar is very similar to carrageenan but lacks the sulfate groups found in carrageenans. Agar is very adaptable to high heat and is often served hot and allowed to gel while cooling. To use agar in “cold-oil spherification” drop liquid agar at a temperature of roughly 45-50C into a bath of cold oil.

How to use: Disperse in a cold liquid and heat while stirring until completely dissolved. The target temperature for this to occur is about 90C or above.

You will expect to use about .5% to 1% in your recipes

To make a fluid gel: Make an agar gel in the range of .6%-1.2% and shred in blender until a smooth consistency is reached. You could thin out the gel by adding more liquid or you could thicken the mixture by adding some xantham gum. Could be served hot (but never to boiling).

Gel type: thermo-reversible: Thermo reversible gels melt when heated to a high enough temperature. Texture: firm, strong, and brittle. Gel Temperature: Approx 35C. Setting: Very Fast. PH tolerance: very good except for the fact that keeping acidic solutions heated for a long time will cause the agar to break down. Freezer stable: No. Flavor Release:Good.

Note: you could solve the issue of keeping acidic solutions hot, and thereby causing your agar to weep, by adding some more ascorbic acid to your solution to balance things out.


Blackcurrant and ginger fluid gel sauce


100g Simple Syrup

500g Blackcurrant puree (I use The Perfect Puree from Napa Valley)

30g ginger juice

pinch of salt

6.3g of Texturas brand Agar(.8%)


Blender, Scale


1: Add simple syrup to the blackberry puree until you reach a desired sweetness

2: Add ginger juice

3: Add salt

4: Weight blackcurrant mixture and place in a pan with .8% by weight agar. So if total is 780g, use .8% of 680g which will give you approx 6.34g

5: Bring mix to a boil, then reduce heat and let simmer for 2min. Lower heat and stir to dissolve the agar.

6: When agar is fully dissolved, pour into plate to chill.

7: Take the chilled gel and place it in the blender. Blend until smooth.

That’s it for now. Feel free to ask me questions. Stay tuned for more molecular gastronomy!!!

Molecular Gastronomy – Coconut milk ice gelatin

January 17, 2010 5 comments

By Chef Tali Clavijo

Today I started a quest to make a liquid I really love into a gelatin that is frozen cold. How could I do this? Is it even possible to have a frozen gelatin? Can I do this without using any animal products, and make it vegan friendly? I really enjoy one liquid more than anything in the world…Coconut milk!

I just love raw coconut milk. I love making it and love tasting it in various forms and textures. So, after I made some of my world famous coconut milk (e-mail me for the recipe at I started to get ready for the coconut gelatin ice experiment.

For this recipe all I used was 500 g coconut milk, 250 g water, 36 g powdered coconut (dehydrated and graded), 200 g of sugar, 9 g sodium alginate, 2.4 g of calcium gluconolactate, and other 50 g of water.

Raw coconut milk

After I made my 500 g of fresh raw coconut milk I put it in a saucepan along with the powdered coconut and 250 g of water to a heat of 70 ºC.

Coconut milk, water, and powdered coconut to 70 ºC

Once the mixture reached 70 ºC I added the sugar and the sodium alginate and stirred, then added the calcium gluconolactate.

Mixing the sugar, sodium alginate, and calcium gluconolactate

After I added all of the ingredient, I took the mixture off of the heat and added the remaining 50 g of water.

Adding water to the mixture

The final mixture cooling

After I took off the heat I stuck it in the fridge and allowed to rest for 3 hours.

Mixture resting in the fridge for 3 hours

After 3 hours I took out the mixture and placed in my vita-mix

Getting ready to blend mixture in vita-mix

I blended for about 2 min until the mixture was smooth

Smooth blended mixture

I transferred the mixture to a mold and placed it in the freezer for about 12 hours

Transferring mixture to mold

Coconut mixture in mold getting ready to freeze

After 12 hours, or overnight, I took out the mold and got ready to place the final coconut gelatin serving

Flipping my coconut gelatin frozen mold

The final result

Coconut milk ice gelatin

Serving suggestion:

Coconut milk ice gelatin with wlanut dust biscuit

See through ravioli

By Chef Tali Clavijo

Yesterday I decided to test out one of the recipes from the Albert y Ferran Adria dvd. I set off to make the tomato and black olive ravioli using the two gelification agents: the agar agar and the gellan.

"the best for making gells in hot tempretures"

Click on image above to get it now

Click on image above to get it now

I set off to test if using these gelling agents in high temperatures will yield a strong enough gel to make ravioli, or dumplings with. I also set off to test various surfaces that would be best for the skimming part of the gellification process.

The beauty behind gellan is that it is a water-soluble polysaccharide produced by fermentation, which can be used alone or in combination with other products to produce a wide variety of interesting textures. In this experiment we will combine gellan with agar agar. Extremely effective at low use levels in forming gels, I used the LT100 high acyl gellan which forms soft, very elastic, non-brittle, and fluid gels.
What I needed for this experiment was water (500g), gellan (1.7g), and agar agar (4.3g).

The gelling agents

Once I got the measurements down I had to mix the ingredients together and whisk them before introducing the pot to the skillet. Note: it is important you don’t oversee this step because the gells need to be mixed in lukewarm water first.

Whisking it all together

Once you whisking the ingredients together you could place it on the stove top on medium constantly whisking until boiling.

Bringing the gelling agents to a boil

After you have dissolved all the agar agar flakes and the solution is boiling then you have to immediately transfer the gelatin onto a fate surface about 60cm x 40cm and spread to gelatin sheets .5 mm thick. you do this by skimming the gelatin off the top layer of your surface. Note: I tested various surface to do this step on and found that marble, aluminum, and granite surfaces work bests. I suggest you do not use a non-stick surface as the gel will slide and not firm up.

pouring the gel

The gel forming

I also tested pouring the gel on three other surface types.

Testing various surfaces

Once the gel is poured and skimmed off. I allowed it to cool at room temperature for about one hour. I also placed a skimmed sheet in the fridge for the same time.

After an hour had past I noticed that the get had formed a soft, very elastic, non-brittle, fluid gels.
The surface that was the strongest and most complete was on the aluminum surface (this was composed by a layer of aluminum foil. Once the gel was set I cut it into a circular shape.

Cutting with a pasta cutter

Circular gel

the circular gel

Transferring the gel to plate

Circular gel onto plate

Once I transferred the circular gel to the plate I prepared the tomato and fig infused mixture.

the circular gel on plate for prep

tomato and fig infused with lavender honey

Fig and tomato on gel

Once I got the fig and tomato on the gel, all I had to do was fold it.

Folding the gel

I made sure to bring the bottom end to the top end and make a nice pouch.

bringing the ends together

Fig and tomato ravioli

I garnished this dish with some nutella snow to produce a more well rounded texture and tasteful explosion.

garnishing with nutella snow

I also sprinkled some pink clay salt on top

Fig and tomato ravioli with nutella snow

The final presentation

fig and tomato ravioli with nutella snow

In conclusion the gellan did in fact produce a gel that was soft, very elastic, non-brittle, and fluid enough to make a ravioli. Also, the various surfaces tested proved that aluminum surfaces work best when using these particular gelling agents. Together the agar agar and gellan high-acyl produces amazing gels that can be moved around and molded to produces various shapes. When used on certain surfaces, such as aluminum, the gel forms at a faster and more stronger rate.

Feel free to send any questions to