Before the vegan episode of the Great British Bake Off, many people wouldn’t have been that au fait with aquafaba.
In a matter of weeks, however, the chickpea water egg alternative has become totally mainstream. In fact, it’s so standard that it’s just been added to the Official Scrabble Players Dictionary by Merriam-Webster.
Defined as ‘the liquid that results when beans are cooked in water’, aquafaba will score you a very respectable 22 points (with the potential for 66 if you land on a triple word score square.
Vegan egg replacement
A relatively new discovery, it first reached prominence in 2014 after Joël Roessel, a French musician, found that water from canned beans and veg could be made to foam up to make chocolate mousse.
The problem was that his kidney bean foam wasn’t stable enough on its own, so he had to add starch and gum to make meringue. As a result, his recipes were a bit too technical for the bog standard plant-based cook to master, and they didn’t really taste like the non-vegan version.
His blog recipes then caught the attention of vegan software engineer and foodie Goose Wohlt in the states who discovered that the liquid could be used as an egg alternative for loads of stuff.
“Hearing about the French video, he wondered how chickpea foam could be used to make a stable vegan meringue,” the Aquafaba site says.
“This led him to a surprising key discovery – that with the right adjustments, chickpea liquid by itself can act as a direct egg white replacer. He showed that you can create perfect meringues with unrivaled taste and texture using normal egg white techniques. All you needed was just sugar and properly filtered and adjusted bean liquid.
“He posted his discovery to the popular vegan facebook page, What Fat Vegans Eat, as a simple meringue recipe with two ingredients, sparking a minor revolution of sorts.”
The word was coined in 2015 by Wohlt in order to give the community a name for such a common ingredient. It comes from the Latin or water, aqua, and bean, faba.
Primarily composed of starches and proteins, it’s incredibly low calorie – weighing in at up to five kcals per tbsp.
If you want to learn more about aquafaba, you can visit the official Aquafaba site here