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Gels are a very common preparation in molecular gastronomy. They can be created using a wide variety of different ingredients, including many starches, hydrocolloids, and gelatin. For this recipe I made papaya agar agar gel noodles.
The noodles came out a little more fragile than I had hope so I've increased the amount of agar agar used to help firm up the gel. The recipe is very easy, you simply take papaya juice, bring it to a simmer, and blend in the agar agar. You can either use fresh papaya juice or make your own by blending a papaya with a little water.
To form the agar agar noodles you push the mixture through a tube using a syringe. The width of the tube can vary depending on how thick you want your papaya noodles to be. Mine is 2 or 3 millimeters in diameter but feel free to use whatever size you have on hand.
Once the tube is filled with the papaya agar agar mixture you place it into an ice water bath to let it gel. It usually only takes a couple of minutes. You can then push the noodles out by filling the syringe with air and blowing it into the tubes.
For more examples of agar agar gels you can read the excellent Alinea cookbook.
If you like this recipe you can get more than 80 other recipes from my book Modernist Cooking Made Easy: Getting Started. The book covers many of the popular modernist techniques such as gelling, spherification, and foams. It also explores modernist ingredients like agar, sodium alginate, tapioca maltodextrin, and xanthan gum. It is all presented in an easy to understand format and I think it's the best way to learn about modernist cooking.
Also, if you are just getting started experimenting with molecular gastronomy and modernist cuisine then I highly recommend one of these molecular gastronomy kits. They have everything you need to do many different dishes.
Because they use modernist ingredients, these amounts for this component are given in metric by weight. Learn more about how to measure modernist ingredients in this article.200 grams papaya juice (7 ounces)
Bring the papaya juices to a simmer in a pan. Add the agar agar and mix well, preferably with an immersion blender. If using non-strained juice then strain the mixture through a chinois into a container.To make the papaya agar agar noodles fill a length of plastic tubing with the mixture, using a syringe, and place into an ice water bath. After a few minutes fill the syringe with air and blow the agar noodles out of the tubing. They can be reserved until ready to be served.