Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The night chickpeas blew my mind

Here are some meringues.
aquafaba meringues

Here is the mixture before I cooked them.

So far so meringue. But there are no eggs in these meringues.
I had known about this idea for several months but hadn't made a recipe. There are many ingredient substitution ideas floating around the internet and one gets a little jaded.
Even if you are no vegan or can eat as many eggs as you like without an allergic reaction, this is well worth doing because it feels magical.
These meringues are made with the juice/brine from a can of chick peas. Yes that brownish liquid you normally pour down the drain. It even has a name, a website and a Facebook group these days - aquafaba. These are aquafaba meringues.
Here is the basic recipe I made:

Egg free meringues
The juice/brine drained from one can of chickpeas (about 3/4 cup)
1 cup of sugar
1 tablespoon of vanilla essence (I have also seen a recipe use almond essence and perhaps coffee is also worth a try)

Tip the chick pea juice into your mixer and start the mixing.
Once it starts to look frothy and and closer to cream coloured than brown looking (about 5-10 minutes on a med-high mixing setting), start to add in the sugar slowly, letting it mix between additions.
Add in your flavouring and mix to the thick consistency of meringues (stiff peaks as they say - see picture above).
Pipe or spoon onto a tray and cook at 115C on fan bake for 60-90 minutes. Then turn off the oven and just leave to cool in the oven until completely cold.
Store in an airtight container or serve as you normally would meringues to the amazement of your friends and whanau.
It is the protein in the chickpea juice (just like the protein in the egg white) that makes this work. You can do other things with this juice like make egg free pancakes. J Kenji Lopez-Alt is a great person to tell you all about it. Here is his pancake recipe with aquafaba and he has made egg free mayonnaise too using it.
Obviously the next big question is - can you make a pavlova? There are recipes on the internet but in my first browsing, they all just seem to be big meringues - light and crispy.  Can you make a pavlova with the proper crispy on the outside and marshmellowy in the middle? It is definitely on the list to try next time I make Chana Masala with my chickpeas.
Now buy a can of chick peas and blow your mind.

5 Favourite Sights Seen

  • 1996 Watching tropical lightning turn night to day, outside a little wooden church in a small village in Sabah.
  • 2004 Flying down the Rainbow Valley at 8000ft in a cessna on a clear blue day.
  • 2003 Seeing and hearing Michael Schmacher rolling out of the pit garage in his Ferrari in Hungary.
  • 2009 Chancing upon 100 or more dolphins just off the Kaikoura Coast swimming around, jumping out of the water, doing somersaults and generally having fun.
  • 2006 Finding a pool at the bottom of a waterfall in the bush at Kaikoura that was full of playing baby seals.