How to Make Balsamic Vinegar Pearls

Andy Anderson !


Want to have fun… Want to feel like a real mad scientist in the kitchen? Then how about a little molecular gastronomy… you game?

Molecular gastronomy is a part of food science that attempts to push the edges of the culinary arts. The three components of the discipline are social, artistic, and technical. Other terms are: multi-sensory cooking, modernist cuisine, culinary physics, and experimental cuisine.

So you ready… Let’s get into the kitchen.

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As many as you want
30 Min
10 Min
Stove Top


7 oz
balsamic vinegar
0.5 oz
powered agar agar, or about 1.5 tablespoons
2 c
canola oil, any good oil will do


1Gather your ingredients.
2Add the oil to a container, and place into the freezer for 30 minutes.
3Chef’s Note: The container should be tall… that will give the balsamic vinegar droplets time to form and cool before reaching the bottom.
4Chef’s Tip: Wait until the oil has been in the freezer for about thirty minutes, before performing the remaining steps.
5Put the balsamic into a saucepan, and bring to a lite simmer.
6Add the agar agar and whisk to combine.
7Chef’s Note: What is agar agar: It’s a gelatinous substance extracted from red seaweed and used in biological culture media and as a thickener in foods. It’s very popular in molecular gastronomy.
8Chef’s Tip: You can find agar agar in most oriental food stores, or on the Internet.;keywords=agar+agar
9Bring the mixture to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer.
10Allow the sauce to lightly simmer for about 5 minutes.
11Remove from heat, and allow to rest for five minutes.
12Add the balsamic sauce to a vessel capable of producing small drops.
13Allow the sauce to drop to 130f (55c), give or take a few degrees.
14Chef’s Tip: If the liquid is too hot, the droplets may not cool down enough and therefore not gel completely before reaching the bottom of the glass, resulting in deformed spheres. I HATE it when that happens.
15Remove the oil from the freezer, and add the sauce, drop-by-drop to the cold oil.
16Continue until you have as many drops as you need.
17Wait a bit, and then carefully drain the oil off, and remove the pearls from the oil.
18Chef's Note: Use them in any way that you would use balsamic vinegar… but in a creative way. Enjoy.
Tomato & Mozzarella with Balsamic Pearls
19Keep the faith, and keep cooking.