Cold Mango Ginger Carrot Soup with Green Tea Cream Float and Coconut Caviar

by Jeanne Benedict

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Some of my blogging friends had posted great step-by-step shots of their adventures in molecular gastronomy or cooking, most notably blogger Mira Uncut. Knowing that I wanted to create something really unique for my husband’s birthday dinner party, I started experimenting, and this delicious cold soup is what I ended up serving.

I must say, had I followed the spherification instructions and recipe exactly, I wouldn’t have had some of the trials and tribulations I encountered. For example, my first idea was to create a Bloody Mary Caviar to top sour cream on a slice of cooked, chilled purple potato, but the Bloody Mary mix liquid was too heavy. Then I switched gears and tried to make a tart lemon caviar but the acidity didn’t allow for proper spherification. My very first try was using juice I had in the fridge, which I added some sugar to, so the aha moment came with a bit of back-peddling trying figure out how the first edible orbs were so successful.

The ratio in the recipe that follows only seems to work with a liquid that has a light water-like consistency and a teaspoon of sugar really helps it out. To be honest, this topping is all about a playful texture as the sodium alginate necessary for the spherification kind of blinds the taste — and I’m all about taste.

In summation, a spoonful of sugar helps the spherification go down! (Cheezy, I know!) By the way, the soup is amazing and the green tea float works incredibly well with it all. Your guests will get a playful pop in their mouth with a hint of coconut, then a smooth sophisticated yet subtle coating of green tea cream followed by a refreshing and bold mango soup with carrot and ginger nuances. But the best part about this appetizer…it’s a great make-ahead item and an ideal meal staller. I had intended to serve it with my salad course but got backed up. I easily assembled the ingredients in Champagne glasses and carried them out to guests, keeping them satisfied and wanting more while I put together my fussy little salad sculptures. Enjoy.

Cold Mango Ginger Carrot Soup with Green Tea Cream Float and Coconut Caviar

3/4 cup peeled, chopped carrots
4 teaspoons peeled, fresh ginger, finely minced
3 cups peeled, chopped fresh mango
1 1/2 cups water
1 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon salt
Green Tea Cream (recipe below)
Coconut Caviar (recipe below)

Place carrots in a small saucepan and cover with water. Cook over medium-high heat until carrots are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain carrots in a colander and cool completely.

Place all the ingredients in a blender and process until smooth. Pour soup into a pitcher, cover, and keep cold until ready to serve.

When ready to serve, pour soup into Champagne flutes and float 1 tablespoon Green Tea Cream on top of each top with 1/2 teaspoon Coconut Caviar. Serve immediately.

Makes about 8 (4 oz.) servings

Green Team Cream

1/4 cup green tea ice cream
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Add ingredients into a cold bowl and beat on high speed until thickened. Cover and keep cold until ready to use.

Makes 1/2 cup

Coconut Caviar

9 ounces coconut juice
1 gram sodium alginate
1 teaspoon sugar
18 ounces cold water
3 grams calcium chloride

Add half of the coconut juice into a medium bowl. Whisk in the sodium alginate until completely dissolved or use an immersion blender to make this process easier. The sodium alginate will clump up and it will take a while for it to fully disolve. When dissolved, add the remaining juice and the sugar. Whisk the mixture to incorporate. The mixture should be thick and a bit gloopy. Strain the mixture through a mesh seive into a empty bowl and allow it to rest to get rid of the air bubbles.

Add the 18 ounces of water into a large bowl and stir in the calcium chloride until dissolved.

Pour the coconut mixture into a plastic needle nose bottle or a food grade syringe.

Drop the mixture, one little droplet at a time, into the calcium chloride bath. Spheres should form immediately and rest at the bottom of the bowl. If they float to the top or don’t hold their shape – something’s wrong. Did ya skip the step about letting it rest to get rid of the air bubbles? I did a couple of times while experimenting, and this is what made the spheres float to the top. Or maybe the sodium alginate wasn’t fully disolved…also a possible cause for recipe malfunction.

Make as many spheres as you want and then let them sit for a minute in the bath. Meanwhile, add about a cup of clean water into another medium bowl. Scoop out the spheres and put them in the new bowl of water to “rinse” them off for a minute.

Strain spheres into a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use — but they’ll only keep for about a day.

Makes about 1/4 cup of glorious pearly spheres

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