If you haven't heard about the magic of chickpea water yet, prepare to have your mind blown.
So you've just opened a can of chickpeas. Maybe you're going to make hummus, or a curry or something. Bet you don't think twice about the liquid in the can, as you pour it down the sink.
I certainly never had, until the last few weeks when all sorts of posts about chickpea brine started popping up in my newsfeed.
I only half-heartedly paid attention to begin with. Surely it's just another fad, right? Well, no. This is no hippy food fad, it's truly kitchen magic.
Turns out that liquid in the can is full of protein, and whips up *just like egg white*. It even looks a bit like egg white, before you do anything to it.
This magical elixir has a name, and its name is aquafaba (Latin for water bean, I believe). Turns out the can water of any type of bean will work, with varying levels of success and bean aftertaste. It would seem the internet consensus is that chickpea aquafaba whips fastest, holds its shape the best and tastes the least 'beany'.
Ever the sceptic, I thought i'd make some meringue as a starting experiment with this stuff. Turns out it's freakin' amazing and mind = blown.
The internet is going mad with people making all sorts of things with aquafaba. The possibilities are almost limitless as it becomes the new vegan egg replacer du jour.
But of course, even if you're not vegan this is a cool discovery as you're literally making something out of nothing - or something that would have gone straight down the sink.
And the verdict? Really yummy! The texture isn't exactly the same as egg meringue, but it's very close, and I can't taste even a hint of 'beanyness'. Even the raw mixture in the bowl tasted delicious. The big girl child pronounced them delicious, and has no idea they're not made from egg.
Please leave a comment if you've tried this or other recipes with aquafaba. I'd be so interested to hear what you think. I'll certainly be experimenting to see what else can be done with aquafaba.
- Aquafaba from one can of chickpeas
- 1 ½ cups caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla paste
- 1 teaspoon white vinegar
- 1 tablespoon cornflour
- 1 tablespoon boiling water mixed with 1 tablespoon instant coffee
- Preheat oven to 100C fanbake.
- Using handheld beaters, or a stand mixer, start whipping your aquafaba. It will start to foam and thicken. Start gradually adding sugar, and keep beating. After about 10 minutes you'll have very thick, glossy meringue. Just like egg white meringue. Then add your vanilla paste, white vinegar and cornflour.
- I'm unsure whether the cornflour and white vinegar are necessary, but saw a lot of failed experiments on the internet so it seemed like a good idea to stabilise the mixture. It was so thick it hardly seemed it would need it, but I wasn't sure what would happen when it was cooked.
- Swirl through about half of the coffee mixture, being careful not to overmix.
- Pipe or dollop spoonfuls onto a lined baking tray and pop in the oven.
- Bake for about 2 hours, then cool in the oven. Mine still had a little chew in the middle, which while not at all unpleasant, wasn't what I was going for. So if you're after crispy meringue the whole way through, maybe try baking for 2.5 hours.