liquid nitrogen
Liquid nitrogen is a method used to freeze ice cream. Image Credit: Shreya Bhatia/ Gulf News

What you need to know:

  • Gulf News is going on an ice cream trail this Ramadan.
  • Our fifteenth pick of the month is liquid nitrogen and ice cream.
  • Be prepared for our list of 29 ice creams for 29 days.
  • End your fast and enjoy the summer months with these sweet and cold treats.

Food trends are very popular on social media. Whether it is black ice cream or gold on food, everyone is waiting for the next big thing. A trend that continues to be popular on the internet is the use of liquid nitrogen in the culinary arts. Welcome to our next pick of the month…

#15 Liquid nitrogen ice cream

What is molecular gastronomy?

The concept is a subdivision of food science, which investigates the transformations of ingredients that occur in cooking. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, the term was coined in 1988 by late Oxford University physicist Nicholas Kurti. Using liquid nitrogen as a method of freezing, is a technique that comes under this umbrella.

What is liquid nitrogen?

Liquid nitrogen is nitrogen in a liquid state. It is an extremely cold, colourless liquid that has a boiling point of −195.79 degrees Celcius. According to reports, the usage of the chemical dates back to 1890, when it was mentioned in a recipe book written by Agnes Bertha Marshall, an English culinary entrepreneur. She was popular in the Victorian period, and was known as the “Queen of Ices”, because of her work on ice cream and other frozen desserts.

Why is liquid nitrogen used?

Liquid nitrogen is used in dessert and in some drinks because of its rapid chilling ability. It is also used to create a ‘smoky’ effect, which occurs when the chemical comes in contact with surrounding air and creates a vapour. Basically, it is an Instagram favourite.

Chef Varun Nadkarni, who has worked with liquid nitrogen, said: “When used in ice cream, liquid nitrogen most definitely changes the texture of the dessert. It freezes the ice cream so quickly, it helps bring out the flavours more. It affects the ice cream on a molecular level and opens the pores, thus helping with the flavour.

Shreya Bhatia/ Gulf News

“However, when one is dealing with liquid nitrogen, people need to be very careful. It is dangerous because the chemical is almost 200 degrees below zero, freezing point. You need to know exactly how to handle the chemical.”

Residents respond…

Dubai resident, Mariam Moustafa Ali Ghazi said: “Using liquid nitrogen to produce ice cream is certainly trendy and quick. It also adds the element of entertainment, and is educational.”

The 31-year-old Egyptian national added: “I’ve seen liquid nitrogen being introduced in drinks as well but that’s more for show and presentation, which attracts people to try it.”

Dubai resident Nikhil Mammen is a fan of liquid nitrogen being used in food. The 24-year-old Dubai resident said: “The consistency is different and it tastes more like gelato in my opinion. I think because it is a fresh idea it tends to be on social media more, kind of like black coloured foods.”

Nitrogen gas
Liquid nitrogen is very cold and forms a vapour when it comes in contact with surrounding air Image Credit: Shreya Bhatia/ Gulf News

Where can you find it?

A lot of restaurants in the UAE use molecular gastronomy while making their dishes. If you are looking to have fresh ice cream made with the help of liquid nitrogen, head to Ice Cream Lab, in Dubai Mall and The Inventing room in La Mer.

At ice cream lab, the ice cream is prepared in front of you with the help of liquid nitrogen. Customers can chose their flavours and toppings.

Area manager of Ice Cream Lab, Arun Sharma told Gulf News: “The company wanted to come up with an ice cream, which is creamier, tastier, softer… There is no use of artificial flavours or colours and everything is made using natural ingredients.”

Some ingrediants are sourced naturally, while others are imported.

“All five star to seven star hotels across the world have been using liquid nitrogen for decades as a part of theatrical serving of food. This is the first time it has reached the mass. But today the world is becoming more and more knowledgeable and hence they are educating themselves on the same.”

Another place that uses liquid nitrogen to make their products is The Inventing Room at La Mer, Dubai. Liquid nitrogen is used to make almost all their products, including their ice creams.


Price: Dh25 Ice Cream Lab (starting) and Dh20 The Inventing Room (starting)
Where: Dubai Mall (Ice Cream Lab) and The Inventing Room (La Mer Dubai)
Availability: Molecular gastronomy is popular in the UAE. If you are looking for more such options, visit Quattro – Mankhool, Farzi Café in Citywalk and Carnival by Tresind.

Have you tried this? Tell us your experience. And watch this space for the rest of the Ramadan picks of the month. 

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