Sunday, February 26, 2012

Molecular Vegan: Scallops with Carrot-Ginger Caviar

Print Friendly and PDF
Ever since I made vegan ricotta, I've been a little obsessed with molecular cooking techniques and methods. Because of its formidable ability to transform textures, flavors and shapes, molecular cooking methods have an endless potential to offer to vegan cuisine. This is my first attempt at spherification, using sodium alginate mixed with a carrot-ginger infusion, which was slowly dropped into a calcium chloride solution to form tiny, springy, bright orange caviar. Applied atop some vegan scallops, this is both a feast for the eyes as well as the palate.

2 large carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
One piece of ginger (about the size of your thumb), peeled and roughly chopped
1/2 -1 cup cold water (for thinning out the juice)
2 grams sodium alginate
500 grams cold water
2.5 grams calcium chloride
2 TB Earth Balance
1 jumbo-sized king oyster mushroom, sliced and marinated in a bit of vegetable broth for a few hours
fennel fronds, for garnish (optional)

Place the carrots and ginger into a blender and pulverise well. Add in enough water to make the carrot-ginger mixture equal 300 grams. Blend again, strain out the pulp with a strainer (or you can conversely use a juicer or prepared juice). Measure again, and add a little more water if needed so the liquid equals exactly 250 grams and place in the refrigerator for about an hour so all of the air settles out of the mixture. Once the carrot-ginger mixture has settled, slowly whisk in 2 grams of the sodium alginate. Place into a small squeeze bottle.

Place the 500 grams of water into a wide, shallow bowl. Using a whisk, dissolve in the calcium chloride. Using the squeeze bottle, slowly drop the juice into the bowl to form tiny spheres. Once all of the juice has been used, slowly tilt the bowl into a fine mesh strainer, then empty the caviar out onto some paper towels to drain.

Melt the Earth Balance in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the marinated mushrooms into the skillet and saute for about 3-4 minutes on each side, or until a slight char is achieved. Top the scallops off with some of the caviar and garnish with fresh fennel fronds, if desired.


  1. Wow, this is so beyond me that I can't even get my head around it. Lovely, though! Truly a feast for the eyes. I'm fascinated by this type of cuisine...

  2. Holy crap! That is all sortsa wildly creative! How fun!

  3. Your presentation is divine!

    I find molecular cooking techniques unbelievably intriguing yet never came around trying anything. You make it sound so easy I meay give your caviar a go!


  4. This looks absolutely delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at

  5. SOooo impressed. This is gorgeous. I have been playing with agar and Irish moss over on my blog but haven't graduated to this. You inspire me!

  6. Okay, we really need to get you a restaurant now!!

  7. I love hearing about your adventures with molecular gastronomy. Such an interesting subject. The set-up for your photo is perfect!

  8. I don't think I've ever tasted a King Oyster Mushroom. I'm very intrigued by this recipe! I agree with the others who've posted comments about molecular cooking and find my curiosity piqued. Can you describe how the end product tasted?

    1. verivegi, I would say that the texture is more prevalent than taste here. It's kind of soft, with a faint carrot flavor. The "scallop" is very soft in a different way and, together, they give an earthy and clean feel. It's hard to describe it exactly, so hopefully this answers your question!


Thank you for visiting my blog and for your feedback!