If you’ve visited my blog a few times, the chances are that you’ve heard of aquafaba – a miraculous plant-based egg replacer – as I’m in love with its amazing properties and use it often. If this is the first time you hear about it, here goes: aquafaba is a legume cooking liquid that has been discovered to emulate egg whites.
If you would like to read up more about this discovery and the science behind it, check out this informative website set up by the people who discovered that what we all used to chuck down the drain is, in fact, an invaluable cooking ingredient.
People report success with many varieties of legumes (cannellini, black beans and lima beans to name just a few), but I myself love chickpeas and so chickpea aquafaba is the only type I’ve ever used. Below is full explanation on how to get this magic liquid out of dry chickpeas.
You can also use the brine from a tin of chickpeas, but there are a few problems with that. Firstly, most tins contain harmful BPA, which has been linked to many serious illnesses, so many people try to avoid it. Secondly, ideally you do not want any salt in your aquafaba and all tinned chickpea brands I am aware of add sodium. Thirdly, using tinned aquafaba is more expensive than making your own. Finally, people have reported issues with consistency with some brands – some brands work, some don’t. For all these reasons, I prefer to prepare aquafaba from scratch.
What can I use it for? I hear you ask. Pretty much anything you would use an egg white for…Here is a round-up of SOME of the foods aquafaba has helped me make or to make better. If you love experimenting in the kitchen, I recommended joining a group called Vegan Meringue – Hits and Misses on Facebook, where you’ll find plenty of encouragement, great tips and knowledge from a bunch of amazing vegan cooks.
Soak dry chickpeas in plenty of water (chickpeas should be well covered) for about 8 hours. I tend to leave them to soak overnight.
Discard soaking water and rinse the chickpeas. Place them into a pot, which you have a lid for and cover with 8 cups of water. Do not add any salt or baking soda.
Cover the pot with a lid and bring to the boil. Be careful as chickpeas like to boil over if the heat is too high so keep an eye on them until they come to boil. Skim the foam that has come to the top and discard.
After the chickpeas come to boil, decrease the heat to low-medium and simmer the chickpeas (with a lid on) until tender. It takes about 60-75 minutes.
Once the chickpeas are ready, turn the heat off and leave the chickpeas to cool down in its cooking water (this infuses the cooking water with more protein, which gives aquafaba its miraculous properties of an egg white).
Remove chickpeas from the cooking water with a slotted spoon. Make sure the spoon is clean and has no grease residue on it as even trace amounts of grease inhibit aquafaba’s foaming properties – this is especially important if you intend to whip your aquafaba into a meringue.
Depending on the intended application of your aquafaba, you may want to reduce the liquid a little to make it more potent. I find that this is especially necessary for when you intent to use it as a binder, in vegan meatballs for example. Please remember also that the more reduced the liquid the more intense chickpea flavour will be so when you intent to use it for desserts, like meringues or chocolate mousse, you do not need to reduce as much or at all. To reduce aquafaba, return the remaining cooking water to the stove. Set the heat to low-medium and reduce aquafaba (without a lid) for about 30-45 minutes until some of the water evaporates and you are left with thick yellow liquid.
Let the reduced liquid come to room temperature and then transfer to a clean container and store in the fridge – once chilled aquafaba will turn gelatinous and resemble an egg white. If you are not in a rush to use your aquafaba, pop cooked chickpeas back into the container with aquafaba and store them together overnight – this will make aquafaba even more gelatinous. Store in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.