Aquafaba, aka bean water, is the new egg replacer that has recently taken the vegan world by storm. Simply whipped as you would whip egg whites into a meringue, it beautifully mimics the fluffy, airy, barely-there mouthfeel and flavor that you get from eggs. It is magical!
Over the last few weeks, eager vegans have been purchasing cans of chickpeas for the brine that is usually discarded. With this simple throw-away ingredient, one can make meringue, pavlova, cookies, cakes, mousse, marshmallow fluff, mayo, pretty much anything for which one would use egg whites. How intriguing!
Three easy steps for meringue:
- Open a can of chickpeas
- Drain the chickpeas
- Beat the water into fluffy meringue
There is no confirmation yet as to why this works… so far a lot of speculation. My only real question is: Do we really need to get this miracle ingredient from a can? ‘Not a fan of the can.
Why go can-free?
- More nutrients! Anything that sprouts still has life in it, and more nutrients. Canned beans are convenient, but they wont sprout. Dried beans do!
- Some canned foods contain unwanted ingredients.
If dried chickpeas produce the same result, with no weird canny chemical reaction involved, no BPA, no salt, and no miscellaneous unwanted ingredients, I’m in!
First, credit where credit is due… for the back story on Aquafaba, please click here. There is already an entire community devoted to understanding the properties and uses for aquafaba. Save yourself a lot of time and trouble by reading up on fails and successes in the community.
Bean water, as an ingredient, is not new. It makes a GREAT vegetarian broth for soups and stews, in lieu of chicken broth. The froth on the water of cooked chickpeas can be used as a leavening agent to make bread. Apparently, this was a technique used by Greek grandmothers in times of poverty. Clever!
It is also great for thinning out hummus, and for making a variety of sauces. The viscosity gives your dish body, and the broth can add a very subtle layer of flavor.
Can you do this without a can?
Turns out, yes you can!
And I like it better. It produces a clean taste, no tinny notes. When flavorings are added, it perfectly mimics egg white flavor and texture.
Making aquafaba, aka bean water or bean broth, from dried beans…
Optional: Soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, preferably spring water. One cup of dried chickpeas will grow to about 2 1/2 cups after the are soaked overnight.
You may get a stronger meringue by not soaking the beans first. However, soaked chickpeas cook in 50 minutes or less every time, and produce tender and delicious beans with no fuss.
My bean broth from presoaked chickpeas whipped up into meringue just fine.
After soaking, drain the water.
Add soaked chickpeas to a pot and cover with water, by about 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until beans are tender. This will take about 50 minutes. Begin checking beans around 35 – 40 minutes. If you have not soaked your beans, that’s fine, just allow for whatever cooking time the beans need. They may cook quickly or very slowly. When they are tender and you like them, they’re done!
With a slotted spoon, remove chickpeas from the water. Place them into a mason jar or another heat-safe container for refrigeration. Continue to simmer water until it is reduced to about 1 1/2 – 2 cups. Pour water over chickpeas and cover, for storage.
Here is just the broth. It is cooled and ready to use. 🙂
Starches in the chickpeas make the water slightly viscous.
The color will disappear when you beat it into meringue. Once aerated, it becomes a beautiful creamy white color, just like egg whites.
Aquafaba – without the can!
aka: bean water or broth for the ultimate egg white replacer
Chickpeas work very well. Other beans can be used as well, some more successfully than others.
- 1 cup dried chickpeas
- water for soaking, 2-3 cups
- water for cooking
Soak dried chickpeas in water overnight, preferably spring water. (Soaking is optional. See notes.) After soaking, drain the water. Add soaked chickpeas to a pot and cover with water, by about 2 inches (over the top of chickpeas). Bring to a boil, then reduce to simmer. Cook until beans are tender. This will take about 50 minutes. Begin checking beans around 35 – 40 minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove chickpeas from the water. Place them into a mason jar or another heat-safe container for refrigeration. Continue to simmer water until it is reduced to about 1.5 to 2 cups remaining liquid. Pour water over chickpeas and cover, for storage.
When you are ready to use your bean water, just strain out the chickpeas (which you can use countless ways).
Notes: One cup dried chickpeas = about 2 1/2 cups soaked chickpeas (soaked overnight)
It may be possible to get results from the soaking water; I have not worked enough with it to determine its potential. Also, you can certainly skip the soaking step. This may even yield a stronger meringue. I prefer to soak first to get a more reliable cooking time for my chickpeas. Otherwise, they can be a bit temperamental. If you have not soaked your beans, allow for an adjustment in cooking time. They may cook very quickly or very slowly.
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