Add Some Black Magic to Your Cooking!

A new range of activated charcoal for colouring food and drinks has been launched by KitchenLab.  Black rice (made from squid ink) has always been a favourite in the Who’s For Dinner kitchen so it’s great to know that you can now make pretty much any type of black coloured food from black ice cream, black doughnuts, black pizza bases, black cocktails and black pasta to name but a few. The key ingredient in this food colouring product is activated charcoal. This 100% pure, food-grade, organic product is made by heating coconut shells to extremely high temperatures until they are carbonised. The ash produced is then processed to form a premium quality, ultrafine powder that can be used as an ingredient. The activated charcoal powder has no flavour, odour or aftertaste so will have no detrimental effect on foods or drinks. It is reported to have certain health benefits, however, as it adsorbs toxins (a process whereby substances are gathered on the surface of the charcoal particles) thus preventing them from being absorbed by the body.

A further, practical, benefit is that it provides a means of colouring food that is suitable for vegans and vegetarians unlike traditionally used squid ink.  KitchenLab’s activated charcoal powder is available in both a 250g and 500g tub. It should be used soon after opening but, to keep indefinitely, it can be refrigerated or frozen.

Here’s a recipe that you might like to try!

KitchenLab Recipe Suggestion – charcoal tempura battered avocado served with smoked apricot puree

Avocado in Charcoal Tempura Batter



300g water

100g vodka

125g plain flour

1tsp cumin

Pinch of salt

15g Special Ingredients’ Activated Charcoal

1.5g Special Ingredients’ Methocel (purified cellulose)


To make the batter, blend all the ingredients together and then pour into a cream whipper and charge with CO2.

Place whipper in the fridge for around 2 hours.

Cut avocados into chunks and dip in tamari or soy sauce.

Coat pieces of avocado in flour and shake off excess.

Dispense batter from the whipper to cover the pieces of avocado.

Drop into a fryer pre-heated to 190 °C and cook for 2-3 minutes until crispy.

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