January 7, 2010 10:09 PM   Subscribe

Molecular gastronomy filter: What delicious puddingy things should I make with agar agar (or gelatin or cornstarch)? I primarily eat salmon and pork belly, but I'm trying to branch out protein-wise. Looking for flavor ideas rather than recipes!

I'm obsessed with reading blogs about Alinea and other innovative restaurants. Living in Korea without any fancy kitchen appliances, most of the recipes are out of reach. But agar agar is easily obtainable so I'm trying to put together a series of recipes with pudding. I've seen sesame pudding with ayu fish, olive oil pudding with cheese, sage pudding with pork, lemon pudding with clams, banana pudding with duck, eucalyptus pudding with porkbelly, and oyster cream.

The common alinea method is to steep something in liquid, add agar agar, chill until set, then blend to make smooth. I really like cooking salmon and pork belly but I'm also open to other fish, beef, or maybe chicken. And tofu! Or just pudding by itself! What flavors do you think would be delicious in pudding consistency?

BONUS QUESTION: what other molecular gastronomy workhorse ingredients are likely popular/available in Japan/Korea?
posted by acidic to Food & Drink (6 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
You can't go wrong with molded salmon mousse...this grapefruit agar gelee looks pretty good, too.
posted by aquafortis at 10:32 PM on January 7, 2010

You might find some good tips at this blog, written by a woman who is cooking her way through the Alinea cookbook.
posted by hindmost at 11:09 PM on January 7, 2010

Here are some ideas for agar agar.
posted by leigh1 at 6:16 AM on January 8, 2010

They were big on aspic molds back in the 50s...any thoughts on making aspic cubes with chicken (etc) embedded in it?
posted by carlh at 6:42 AM on January 8, 2010

Any sort of fruit or veggie would be great as a pudding/gelee - I would recommend you puree and strain out the solids for fear of otherwise making something the consistency of baby food. Stocks would also work well (use your salmon heads and bones if you're getting them whole), and some would contain enough gelatin on their own that they would set without agar (although if you're lacking kitchen space and equipment you'd probably be better off "cheating" and adding some extra thickening agents rather than simmering large quantities for hours). Many traditional types of sauce could also work well in this format - I think tarragon and other fines herbes would be appropriately delicate for the preparation you describe above (low heat = flavor retention), or you could opt for the bigger flavors of chilis, garlic/onion/shallots, etc. I would highly recommend the appropriately Bible-sized cookbook Sauces for ideas on flavor combinations in your puddings, as that's the book I'm thinking of as I answer.


My understanding is that In Asia, kudzu is the local starch of choice when it comes to thickening/gelatinizing liquids. Also, you would probably be able to find any number of umami ingredients that could enhance/star in your puddings - a soy, seaweed, and strong fish sauce gelee would go great with fish or other white meats (if you like fish sauce, that is).
posted by caminovereda at 12:33 PM on January 8, 2010

I know China and Taiwan also use chia seeds, sago, tapioca for thickening/gelatin.
posted by wongcorgi at 1:40 PM on January 8, 2010

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