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Cold Oil Spherification – Sriracha Pearls

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The Sriracha pearls are a simple and fantastic way to add a touch of molecular gastronomy to your dishes. The sriracha sauce is transformed into small jelly balls using agar agar with the cold oil spherification method. You can use this simple and fun technique to make caviar-like spheres with practically any liquid. Don't get confused with the juice caviar made with Basic Spherification which is liquid inside; these small spheres are all solid and can also be made with acidic ingredients such as the Balsamic Vinegar Pearls. Watch the video below to learn the technique.

Sriracha pearls with cold oil spherification - fake caviar

The cold oil spherification method consists of cooling droplets of a hot agar solution below 35 ˚C (95 ˚F) by releasing them in cold oil using a syringe or pipette. Agar agar needs to be heated to boil for jelling and sets at a temperature of about 35-45 ˚C (95-113 ˚F). The droplets need to cool down and set before they reach the bottom of the cold oil container to keep a nice spherical shape.

Sriracha Vinegar Pearls Ingredients

- 50 g (3.5 oz) Sriracha sauce

- 50 g (3.5 oz) chicken stock or water

or replace the above with 100 g of the desired liquid

- 1.5 g (1.5%) Agar Agar

Oil Bath

- 1 cup of oil or enough to fill tall glass, cold from being in the freezer for at least 1 hour


1- Start by placing the oil in a tall glass in the freezer for at least 1 hour. It is better if you use a tall glass so there is more time for the Sriracha droplets to get cold and gel before reaching the bottom.

2- Once the oil has been in the freezer for at least 1 hour, put the Sriracha sauce and water in a saucepan, dissolve the agar agar and bring it to the boil, stirring constantly with a beater. Take off the heat and skim to eliminate any impurities.

3- Wait a few minutes until the temperature drops to 50-55 ˚C (~120-130 ˚F). 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.

4- Fill a syringe with the hot Sriracha agar solution and expel it drop by drop into the cold oil. The syringe needs to be high enough for the drops to sink when they get in contact with the oil but not too high or the drops may break into smaller drops creating “baby” spheres. Do not use a Caviar Maker or it will be very difficult to clean with the agar solidifies inside.

5- Wait a few minutes and then remove them from the oil using a slotted spoon or passing them through a sieve and rinse them in water. You can keep them in a covered container in the fridge for later use.

Sriracha pearls with cold oil spherification -splash

  • Nate

    How long do these typically hold for?

    • QuantumChef

      No problem with these, you can hold them for several days in the fridge as long as they are covered.

  • irish_chef

    Can you make these using tomato sauce? I’ve been trying and its not working out. Also will the caviar maker work with this method?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, should work with tomato sauce. What’s the problem you are having? DO NOT USE the caviar maker or it will be very difficult to clean when the agar solidifies inside.

  • Lesley Davies

    If you re just going to cut and paste the recipes in can you at least make sure they
    are edited properly..
    This one is shameful…

  • Kim

    Is agar agar the same as gracalaria agar

    • QuantumChef

      Should be but not all agar products are the same and there are different qualities so we can’t confirm you’ll get the same results.

  • ZheniaP

    Hi I’m wanting to make burgers, I am just wanting to do cold oil specification with my sauces both the mustard and tomato sauce. I have a container of agar ager but i was wanting to know how much agar agar is in the small packets you sell? Is it 1.5g?

    • QuantumChef


      • ZheniaP

        Thank You

  • Todd

    Are the sriracha pearls liquid inside?

    • QuantumChef

      No, all solid.

      • Chris Roach

        these guys just don’t get it chef

  • Todd

    I am just starting with Molecular Gastronomy. What would be the best route to take? Gelification or Spherification?

    • QuantumChef

      Spherificarion is a good place to start.

  • scott

    Aloha,I am doing liquor based pearls is there a way to keep it liquid inside? MAHALO

  • Todd

    If I use basic spherification can I make SRIRACHA pearls with liquid inside?

    • QuantumChef

      Don’t know about the acidity or calcium content of Sriracha, but if not high, yes, it would work.

      • Jack Lavalette

        Hi QuantumChef,

        Just to understand the whole process a little more clearly, why didn’t you recommend using the reverse spherification technique as this will not only keep the liquid inside but will also factor out the potential problem of calcium content in Sriracha?

  • Alexandre Miguel Ferro

    What’s the size of the syringe?

  • Στέλιος

    can you do that with gelatin instead of agar agar, so the chewing feeling will be smoother?

    • QuantumChef

      No, it doesn’t gel fast enough.

  • churukah

    I would think the use of oil would be due to heat capacity; but it turns out oil has less heat capacity (thus cold capacity) than water.
    Why is oil the preferred medium for this application? What’s the problem of using cold water or other mediums?

    • Ali Carr

      Is it not because of the density of the liquids? The drops will sink if you use oil?

      • churukah

        It also would sink if you used water.

    • QuantumChef

      They oil slows down the droplet so it has time to solidify before reaching the bottom.

      • churukah

        Now it makes sense :) Is the time it reaches the bottom a function of density or viscosity? If it’s viscosity; maybe we can use cold water and some thickeners to benefit from the heat capacity of water.

        • churukah

          I think it’s both; density and surface tension; from what I read, it’s quite hard to model. The best way to test is experimenting.

  • Carmel Masterson

    If I was to make the balsamic pearls and then seal them in a jar, how long would they last do you think? Being a vinegar, I would think it should last very well, but I don’t know much about the agar (I’m thinking about making and on-selling them).

    • QuantumChef

      Like you suggest, it probably lasts several days without a problem but I can’t provide you a specific shelf life. Sorry, not my expertise.

  • Phaleasha Christopher

    Hello, what is the ratio of agar to liquid in order to make caviar?
    One satchel of agar to how many ounces of fluid?

  • Sean Robinson

    Using this method, is it possible to just gel the outside and leave the inside liquid, as in spherification, by not leaving it in the cold oil for as long, or not having the oil THAT cold?

    • QuantumChef

      It is not possible, sorry!

  • Cam

    How would the recipe change if you are using agar agar flakes not powder?

  • Tom Zyankali

    You can use base spherification too if you neutralize the acidity of the Sri Racha (pH 3,8) by adding 10% baking soda (NaHCO³). This lifts the pH to the neutral range and your fine with base spherification and a liquid core.

  • Richard Walker

    Will this work with lime or lemon juice?

    • QuantumChef

      It depends on how acidic the mixture is. The lower the PH, the weaker the agar gel.

      • burhan

        hello listen brother

      • essexgirl999

        QC can one counter that by increasing the amount of agar in the mix for more acidic liquids?

  • hattie

    Can I reuse the oil for cooking or save it it for spherification later?

    • QuantumChef

      Yes, you can reuse it. Just pass it through a fine sieve if there are broken pearls in it.

  • Dalibor Dado Pehar

    can xanthan or guar gum be as replacement for agar?

    • QuantumChef

      No, they are very different

  • Krishna

    I was trying to make coconut and lemon grass Caviar for some reason it will not happen not sure why Please help chef..

    • QuantumChef

      Using the method on this page? What problem are you having?

  • Krishna

    the spears will not set properly. too soft n does not hold shape.

    • QuantumChef

      Do they become hard at all once the temperature drops?

      • Krishna

        Not at al it is too soft to hold the shape. I tried with both coconut milk and cream. could not succceed

        • Michael hart

          it will be very sweet love for u ok

  • Krishna

    i was using the same method mentioned on the receipe

  • George

    I could not get balsamic pearls to set either. The oil was at 38 degrees F and I kept the glass in an icebath for the second try. On the second try I let the vinegar mixture cool down and still no luck.

  • George

    Once I put the balsamic/agar mixture in the refrigerator it did set-

  • sunil

    not holding the shape…i used orange juice to make the cavier…..when i drop the orange juice and agar mixture in chilled oil the droplets sink to the bottom of the glass but not holding shape.

    • QuantumChef

      Do they get solid eventually? If yes, the oil may not be too cold and/or the mixture is too hot.

  • George

    I’m not have any luck getting the pearls to form. I’ve tried colder oil and cooler mixture and still no luck. The container I use is approximately 12 inches tall. It sits in a 38 degree F ice bath I fill it with cold oil around 32 degrees F to within an inch of the top of the container.
    I have also let the mixture cool down almost the point where it is staring to set up.
    If I put the mixture in the refrigerator it does setup.

    • QuantumChef

      You should try cooling the oil even more in the freezer. Most cooking oils don’t solidify until they reach a temperature of ~5-10 F
      It seems that everything else you are doing is correct, not sure what else to tell you.