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Dining In 2 minutes 01 September 2017

Aquafaba: Vegan 'Egg White' And Recipes To Use It In

Whipped chickpea water is the surprising solution.

desserts Healthy recipe

Vegans are some of the most imaginative cooks you’d ever come across. When your diet excludes meat, honey, eggs and dairy products, workhorses of most recipes in the culinary world, it’s time to get creative. From plant-based milks (think flax, oat and quinoa) to tofu and tempeh, vegans have found a substitute for almost every well-loved omnivore recipe. 

Up till recently though, a viable substitute for one ingredient has stumped vegans—egg whites. Common egg substitutes include tofu, flax seeds, chia seeds and bananas, but these replacements don’t work for egg-white-only recipes such as those for foam-topped cocktails, meringues, mousses, macarons, marshmallows or angel food cakes, just to name a few.

But that was until a certain software engineer in central Indiana, Goose Wohlt uncovered, and thereafter coined the name, aquafaba, in 2015. Sounds fancy? Not really. The magical ingredient is something we often pour down the sink: water from a can of chickpeas.

Aquafaba is the strained liquid from soaked chickpeas
Aquafaba is the strained liquid from soaked chickpeas
Regular egg whites are about 90% water and 10% protein, and although aquafaba only contains about one per cent protein, it also includes a similar mix of starch, sugar and a small amount of a chemical called saponins, which is the agent that causes things (like detergent) to foam up.

The ingredient has since taken the vegan world by storm, spawning an official website by Wohlt, Facebook groups and cookbooks. Earlier this year, the word ‘aquafaba’, made up of the two Latin words for ‘water’ and ‘beans’, even made it into the Oxford Dictionaries database.
Whipping a can of chickpea water turns it into froth
Whipping a can of chickpea water turns it into froth
According to Wohlt, the rule of thumb is one tablespoon of aquafaba for one yolk, two for one white, and three for a whole egg. Whipping a can of chickpea water turns it into froth instantly, and a good whizz with an immersion blender results in stiff, glossy peaks. After cooking, there is no residual beany flavor or smell, and best of all, it contains few calories. You’ll just have to try it to believe it.
Simple Vegan Meringues
Simple Vegan Meringues

Simple Vegan Meringue
Use this as a starting point for lemon meringue pies and pavlova

Ingredients 

  • Liquid from 1 can chickpeas (about 125ml)
  • 1 tsp cream of tartar
  • 120g Caster sugar 


Method 

  1. Preheat your oven to 120C.
  2. Wipe a small amount of vegetable oil on a sheet of baking paper and place on a baking tray. This will prevent the meringues from sticking.
  3. Measure out the same volume of caster sugar to aquafaba. Pour the aquafaba into a large mixing bowl and add the cream of tartar. Beat the mixture with a handheld electric whisk until it looks white and glossy. Continue whisking while slowly adding in the caster sugar until the mixture thickens up and forms stiff peaks.
  4. Spoon out blobs of the mixture on the baking paper, leaving about an inch of ample space between. Bake in the oven at 120C for about an hour, till the crust is slightly golden and firm to touch. If it is still sticky, check again in 10 minute intervals.
  5. Leave the meringues to cool on the counter.
Fluffy Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Fluffy Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Fluffy Vegan Chocolate Mousse
Makes about 2 portions

Ingredients

  • Liquid from 1 can chickpeas (about 125ml)
  • 100g 70% dark chocolate, melted bain marie
  • 2 tsp icing sugar
  • A pinch of salt (omit if aquafaba is salted) 


Method

  1. Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl placed over a pan of simmering water and turn off the heat, allowing it to cool down as you go on to the next step. 
  2. Beat the aquafaba with a handheld electric whisk until stiff peaks form and then add the icing sugar and salt, whisking for another 15 seconds.
  3. Make sure the chocolate is cooled down and gently fold it into the meringue bit by bit with a spatula and stir it just slightly enough to incorporate it. Serve it, or let it cool in the fridge overnight to harden a bit more.
Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise
Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise

Homemade Vegan Mayonnaise
Makes 1 cup

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
  • 1/2 tsp ground mustard, optional
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp unsalted aquafaba
  • 1 cup neutral-tasting oil (light olive, grapeseed or sunflower oil will work) 


Method

  1. In a small bowl, add the vinegar, ground mustard, salt and chickpea liquid and blitz with an immersion blender for a second till just combined.
  2. With the immersion blender running, slowly drizzle in the oil 1/4 cup at a time. As the mixture thickens, move the blender around to combine evenly until the mixture is thick enough that it doesn’t run off the blender.
  3. Transfer the mayonnaise into a jar and store in the fridge for up to a week.
Recommended reading: View all recipes here

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