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A couple of days ago I made a first attempt at dessert sushi. Everything went reasonably well except for the salmon roe which I'd planned to make from orange jello. I made my own mould from plasticine covered in plastic wrap and imprinted all over using a small plastic sphere. This didn't work out; the wrap burst in several places; the jello clung to the wrap too well and the few jello 'eggs' that came out in one piece were only half spheres.

Granted that some of these problems are surmountable, the last problem of producing a perfect sphere is, for me, a conundrum. Does any one have any better ideas?

Salmon Roe

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3 Answers 3

up vote 19 down vote accepted

What you are looking for is spherification. You need to use a different hydrocoloid than gelatin. There are a couple of techniques you can use.

If you want solid spheres, you can mix your liquid with agar agar, which is readily available in the asain section of the grocery store, bring it to a simmer, and then use an eye dropper to drop the liquid in to a very cold olive oil bath (put it in the freezer). The dropping action will give you spheres.

You can also use a mixture of sodium alginate and calcium chloride, but those are harder to find and will need to be ordered online. The advantage is that you can make a sphere with a liquid center that "pops" just like real caviar. You mix the alginate in to your liquid and then mix the calcium in to a bath. You use the same eye dropper technique to get spheres. When the alginate and calcium touch, they instantly form a gel. This holds the sphere together. Leaving it for a couple seconds makes it thick enough to hold up.

All the info you need is available in this free recipe guide from Khymos.

I've actually done exactly this dessert before. You can see some of my lessons and issues in another question here. I did it a second time and opted to use a gelled peach (using agar agar) in the center for more of a maki presentation. Enjoy.

First Try

Second Try

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7  
It's a shame to only be able to only give this post +1, as the pictures alone are worth more than that. –  BobMcGee Jun 17 '11 at 3:29

I've tried making fake caviar with Jello and a syringe myself, but as far as I know, this is a fairly recent technique that became popular when molecular gastronomy piqued the interest of many, and no one has figured out how to do it with just Jello.

You truly need to use a syringe to get the right shape and size, and special compounds and powders--alginate, for example--are necessary in getting each tiny ball to hold its shape when dropped into various baths. The main ingredient, actually, doesn't use Jello at all! This video (silent, but informative) explains what you need and how to do it: Making fake caviar-video.

Good luck!

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You can try this: Heat slightly quince jelly with some water, in order to make it melt. Use a pipette to let drops fall in a glass of cold oil. Use sunflower seed oil, which is not thickening when cold, put it in the fridge before you make your "eggs". That's more natural than other propositions I read here, and really delicious!

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I don't think there's anything unnatural about the other propositions. They're just more on the science-y side. You've essentially suggested the same thing as my agar agar solution, you're just using the natural pectin in quince rather than adding your own gelling agent. –  yossarian Jun 17 '11 at 19:05

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