You may already be in the habit of dipping a piece of activated charcoal called a binchotan into your pitcher to purify the water. Did you know that you can also use it to gently cook your summer grills without producing smoke or odor? We explain it to you.
In early spring, the menu of the restaurant Les Mérovingiens by star chef Jacky Ribault, located in Noisy le Grand, saw a title of a dish that baffled you: “escalope de foie gras au binchotan”. Arnaud Baptiste, the chef in charge of these places popular with the community of Parisian gourmets who decided to cross the ring road to discover his talent, in fact chose a soft kitchen to snack on the foie gras . And to do this, he chose a coal that has the particularity of heating gently and slowly thanks to a very long combustion: binchotan. The dish delivers a subtle smoky flavor while preserving the softness and not failing to melt in the mouth. This is the whole point of this type of coal.
Originally from Japanese forests, this white oak of the species ubamegashi has been an integral part of Japanese culinary culture for centuries. In the land of the rising sun, the famous yakitoris (chicken, duck and vegetable skewers) are cooked with binchotan, either on a Japanese barbecue or directly over the coals. In the second case, the meat is cooked almost immediately. Better, it doesn’t burn! This is a statement that seems almost implausible.
Binchotan does not even emit carbon dioxide. This activated vegetable charcoal produces very little smoke and emits no odor. This is the solution for those who dream of a barbecue without enjoying an outdoor space at home! Another also for the others who have exchanged their usual barbecue for the plancha, sensitive to public health messages. The formation of gas and smoke and the combustion of proteins when using our barbecue produces substances recognized as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC).
Binchotan is increasingly used by chefs and has another important advantage: it is reusable! If the traditional coal is good for the waste after burning our steaks, the Japanese’s can be operational several times. First, it must be extinguished by immersing it in a container of water before drying for up to two days; the goal is to remove all traces of moisture. An important argument for letting the price pill through. At the Nishikidori supermarket, located in Paris and Ancenis, near Nantes, binchotan can be bought between 38.50 euros and 50 euros for 2 kg.
Nevertheless, using this charcoal requires dexterity as it does not ignite easily. That’s why Olivier Derenne, the boss of Nishikidori, recommends starting his barbecue with the usual charcoal and activating the binchotan on the grill.
(ETX Daily Up)