Octopus mbongo

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Jeremy Chan takes inspiration from the deep, complex mbongo sauces of Cameroon for this stunning octopus dish. The mbongo sauce is fragrant with ginger and lemongrass, and sits perfectly alongside an umami-laden anchovy butter and a single octopus tentacle, confited in smoked olive oil.

First published in 2019





Mbongo sauce

Confit purple daikon

Spiced anchovy butter

To serve

  • mixed spicy greens, such as wasabi or mustard leaves


  • Large vacuum bags
  • Chamber sealer
  • Water bath
  • Ice
  • Spice grinder
  • Chinois
  • High-power blender


Start preparing the octopus the day before you intend to serve the dish. Preheat a water bath to 82°C
Add the octopus to a large vacuum bag with the smoked olive oil and black garlic and seal in a chamber sealer. Cook in the water bath for 3 hours and 10 minutes, then remove and place in an ice bath to chill. Place in the fridge overnight
The next day, remove the octopus from the bag and slice off each tentacle. Clean each tentacle thoroughly and set aside in the fridge while you prepare the remaining elements
To make the mbongo sauce, place the whole tomatoes and the chilli in a large, deep pan. Cover with the grapeseed oil and olive oil and fry on high heat until the oil is split and the tomatoes have collapsed and reduced. There should be a pool of oil on top as the tomatoes bubble away
Meanwhile, finely slice the shallots, ginger and lemongrass. Place in a medium pan with a handle and cover by two thirds with grapeseed oil. Confit the vegetables on a low heat for 1 hour – there should be no caramelisation and the vegetables should all be very soft, sweet and fragrant
In a hot, dry pan, toast the grains of paradise until smoky, then blitz to a fine powder in a small blender or spice grinder
  • 27g of grains of paradise
Using a ladle, skim the oil from the surface of the tomatoes and place in a jug. Pour the oil through a chinois and set aside. Save the lefotver tomato pulp for use in other dishes
Strain most of the oil out of the shallot ginger confit, discarding the oil, and blitz the vegetables with the ground grains of paradise and squid ink until smooth
Pass the mixture through a chinois and add a quarter of the strained red chilli and tomato oil to the mbongo sauce so that it has a black and red split consistency. Set aside
Peel the purple daikon and cut into 8 3cm slices. Place in a saucepan small enough that the slices fit fairly snugly, then pour over enough smoked rapeseed oil to cover comfortably. Confit over a low heat for 25 minutes – do not allow the oil to get so warm that it starts frying the daikon
To prepare the spiced butter, cut the butter into cubes and set aside. Burn the chillies in a hot, dry pan (or over an open flame) then, using gloves, carefully remove the seeds and stalks. Toast the peppercorns in a hot, dry pan, then grind to a fine powder in a spice grinder
Place half of the butter in the base of a high-power blender, then place the chopped anchovies, lemon zest, chillies, ginger and garlic paste and peppercorn powder on top. Add the remaining butter, push down the mixture and blend until very smooth. At the restaurant, Jeremy uses a PacoJet for this process, but it’s fine to use a powerful blender if making at home
When ready to serve, gently reheat the mbongo sauce over a low heat. Caramelise the octopus tentacles over a plancha or a hot, dry pan, and grill the drained sliced of confit daikon
Brush the octopus tentacles and daikon with the anchovy butter, then place on plates next to a spoonful of the mbongo sauce. Quickly roast the spicy greens in a dry pan or on a plancha until crispy, and use the garnish the octopus. Serve immediately
  • mixed spicy greens, such as wasabi or mustard leaves

A deeply thoughtful and analytical chef, Jeremy Chan takes the scientific principles of flavour and applies them to create undeniably delicious food at London's two-Michelin-starred Ikoyi.

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