Welcome my friends! It has been a while since we last created a recipe from scratch with no help other than our imagination and amateur knowledge of food.
In today’s post, I would like to do two things.
To do so, we knew that Prahran Market would not let us down and we could trust to find ingredients needed for the dish we wanted to recreate.
With no recipe to follow, and just a picture and a memory of what we tasted, the Boy and I visited a few key Prahran Market stalls for ingredients. For information on where we sought the ingredients used for this recipe, scroll straight to the bottom of this post 🙂
We were acquainted with the original dish during March’s Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2012 where sommelier turned chef, Sang Hoon (otherwise known as Father of Ultrasound cooking) was serving up key signature dishes at Number 8 Restaurant in Crown Casino.
The Boy loved the ‘Charcoal’ dish so much that he just knew he had to replicate it one day. I didn’t know what the fuss was about as the meat used in the dish he had was wagyu, which I couldn’t eat. For me to experience this dish, the Boy used two different meats, lamb and beef. When I finally tried it, my view of the world changed.
We bring you ‘Charcoal’, a tribute to Sang Hoon Degeimbre.
(Dish inspired by Sang Hoon Degeimbre’s ‘Charcoal’ dish)
2 packets of Squid Ink (4 grams each)
180 – 200g of Beef Eye Fillet Tail
150 – 180g of Lamb Backstrap
1 sprig of fresh Thyme
1 sprig of fresh Rosemary
1 packet of Furikake (available in good Asian Groceries or Japanese Speciality Stores)
1 cup of Sushi Rice
Garnish (can include Edible Flowers, slices of Radish and Yellow Zucchini)
For the Sous Vide: we used a Portable Induction Cooker (with temperature control), Pot, Thermometer & 2 x zip lock bags (food safe vacuum-seal bags or sous vide bags much preferred)
Squid Ink Puree Ingredients (Recipe adapted from Tom van Zeller):
1 packet of Squid Ink (4 grams)
250ml of Milk (Full Cream)
1/4 Cauliflower head (stalks removed)
Heat a pot of water (or sous vide machine) up to 60 degrees Celsius.
Marinate the beef with 1 packet of Squid Ink and a pinch of onion salt. Do the same with the lamb. Ensure that the squid ink covers all areas of the beef and lamb.
Place beef (with any excess squid ink marinade) and a sprig of thyme into a sous vide bag. Evacuate as much air as possible and vacuum seal the bag.
Place lamb (with any excess squid ink marinade) and a sprig of rosemary into a sous vide bag. Evacuate as much air as possible and vacuum seal the bag.
If you are using a zip lock bag, lower the unzipped bag halfway into your pot of heated water to remove air out of the bag. Continue lowering the bag until it reaches close to the zip, then zip the bag shut.
Once the bags are in the pot of heated water, bring the temperature to 58 degrees Celsius and monitor the temperature.
The lamb will take about 40 minutes to reach ‘medium’ because it isn’t as thick as the beef.
The beef will take about 50 minutes to reach a ‘medium’.
Timings and temperature will vary depending on the cut, thickness and type of meats when it comes to sous vide cooking.
While waiting for the meats to cook, start to prepare the sushi rice and squid ink puree.
Cook 1 cup of sushi rice according to the instructions on the rice packet. You can either use a pot or rice cooker.
To prepare the squid ink puree, remove the florets of the cauliflower head. Slice them thinly and discard any stalks. Place sliced cauliflower in a saucepan.
Pour in the milk and turn the heat on low setting. Cook the cauliflower until they are tender (avoid the milk from ‘foaming’ up during the cooking process).
Once cooked, drain the cauliflower and reserve the milk.
Blitz the cauliflower in a food processor or blender until it reaches a smooth consistency. The reserved milk can be added to aid in the blending process.
Once smooth, place the cauliflower puree in a small saucepan and add in the squid ink. Turn the heat on low and stir the mixture to combine.
If the mixture is too dry, add a tiny amount of reserved milk. If the mixture is too ‘watery’, keep stirring with the heat on low until it reaches a smooth puree-like consistency.
Once done, keep the squid ink puree aside.
Take the lamb out after 40 minutes and the beef out after 50 minutes. Sear the lamb on a very hot pan or grill for about 10 seconds each side. Sear the beef for about 20 – 30 seconds each side.
Leave aside to rest.
Don’t you think the final product of the blackened meats look exactly like real charcoal? That would have messed with my mind if I didn’t witness the entire cooking process. I wouldn’t have believed it was meat otherwise.
To plate up, place some rice on the plate and top it with some furikake. Spoon some squid ink puree next to the rice. Place your beef or lamb on the rice. Decorate the plate with edible flowers, sliced radish and sliced yellow zucchini.
Be creative and decorate it however you want it. You can even add some lumpfish caviar over the rice (last pic below).
Below is the Eye Fillet in Squid Ink, Sushi Rice, Furikake and Squid Ink Puree.
Below is the Lamb Backstrap in Squid Ink, Sushi Rice, Furikake and Squid Ink Puree.
It was definitely a feast for the eyes and mind as well as for the tummy. Aesthetically, it certainly looked like a piece of glistening charcoal set atop sushi rice and decorated prettily with flowers.
Upon cutting the meat through, a beautiful pink flesh (which turned out beautifully medium cooked) is revealed.
The squid ink flavour was not very overpowering at all, and was a little salty, earthy and savoury, providing a good natural marinade for the meats whilst they cooked under sous vide.
All the flavours and texture certainly went together very well and I loved the furikake flavour we bought to sprinkle all over our rice, which provided another depth of smoky flavour to the dish in its entirety.
So how do you think we went on this attempt? Have you ever been privileged and lucky enough to have dined on Sang Hoon’s food?
Where to source the ingredients from Prahran Market:
First pit stop was to get some edible flowers. We knew of only one man that would have this and headed straight for Damian Pike’s stall and voila! There were beautiful violas and snap dragons for $8 a punnet.
Next on the list were colourful veggies. Remembering what my tour guide, Katie mentioned about Paddlewheel, we dropped in for some cauliflower, yellow zucchinis and pink and purple radishes. I like the vegetables from Paddlewheel as there are chalkboards all around not only describing the type of vegetables that were on sale, but also the level of chemical spray on them (low-medium-high).
For the meats, we went to Hagen’s Organic Butcher. We paid $16.90 for the lamb backstrap and $44.95 (per kilo) for the eye fillet tail.
The squid ink was sought from Essential Ingredient at $2.30 (for two packets of 4 grams) and the sushi rice and furikake (a konbu and bonito variety) were from Fuji Mart, a Japanese grocery located next to the market (next to Aldi).
[This post is sponsored by Prahran Market and Nuffnang Australia]
If you need help in locating any of the stores listed above, follow the stall finder.
For more information on Prahran Market see below:
Prahran Market Opening Hours:
Tuesday, Thursday & Saturday, 7:00am – 5:00pm
Friday, 7:00am – 6:00pm
Sunday, 10:00am – 3:00pm
Closed on Mondays, Wednesdays & Public Holidays
163 Commercial Road
South Yarra VIC 3141
Tel: (03) 8290 8220
How to get there: