Aquafaba, a new addition to the list of egg substitutes, was first discovered by a French Chef in 2014. This weird-sounding egg replacement is also referred to as ‘bean liquid’ or ‘bean water’. The word aquafaba comes from the two words – 'aqua' meaning water and ‘faba’ meaning beans.
What is Aquafaba?
It turns out that the liquid normally drained from a can of chickpeas or beans, is an excellent egg replacement.
This viscous liquid has a similar protein profile as that of an egg, and can impart the same binding, emulsifying, thickening, and leavening properties as an egg would do in a recipe.
How to use aquafaba?
The liquid submerging the chickpeas is drained and then whisked, beaten, or whipped using a stand mixer.
Whipping or whisking is only required to be done if the eggs are to be whipped in the recipe. Otherwise, the chickpea liquid can be used as it is in the recipe.
How much to whisk or whip?
Whisking by hand will be too cumbersome and time-consuming. The amount of whipping will vary, depending on the dish being used in.
For an egg wash, just whisk until it becomes foamy, whereas for a marshmallow, whisk until firm peaks are formed.
Aquafaba has certainly made its way into the Vegan world, and is used in all kinds of vegan recipes because of its ability to mimic the properties of eggs.
They give height and texture to baked goods. They can also be whipped and used in dessert recipes. While 2 tablespoons of aquafaba replaces one egg white, and 3 tablespoons replaces one whole egg.
What can aquafaba be used for?
It acts as an egg binder and can be used to bread foods before deep-frying. It can be used to make vegan mayo, vegan butter, vegan whipped cream, aioli, marshmallows, mousses, meringues, and other baked goodies.
In comparison to eggs, aquafaba is not rich in nutrients. It’s a combination of broken down starches and a small amount of protein. It is low in everything from calories to vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, etc.
Chickpeas or assorted beans
Technically, the bean water left over from any bean will do. Chickpeas are the most popular aquafaba base because of their natural yellow tinge that mimics the egg white’s natural hue.
Canned or cooked beans
For beginners, canned chickpea water is better, because the consistency of cooked chickpea water can be too runny and thin for baking purposes.
For the aquafaba to work, it must have a viscous egg-like consistency before you whip it. If freshly cooked bean water is used, it should be simmered down until it has a thick, gelatinous consistency.
A can of chickpeas or white beans is not costly. Moreover, the part used for aquafaba is the drained liquid, which is often discarded. So, this is good value for money. Vegan mixes can be now replaced with a lovely homemade, inexpensive recipes with this bean water.
When is aquafaba not ideal?
Aquafaba can be easily used in dishes where eggs play the role of moistening, leavening and thickening, but does not do very well in recipes where eggs are an integral part of the dish, like scrambled eggs, devilled eggs, etc.
Aquafaba recipes do well in dishes that call eggs for a more supportive role.
Aquafaba is comparatively a new discovery, and the scope of its use is still in its infancy.
While aquafaba doesn’t give the same structural integrity to cakes like eggs do, it’s a matter of time before tried and tested aquafaba recipes become regulars in every household.