The Fabulous Plant-based Phenom
The first person to turn me onto aquafaba was an incredible chef with a tiny vegan restaurant in Ventura. I reached out to her shortly after I discovered her restaurant had closed, with my heart laying heavy on my chest (from sadness--not indigestion). I had discovered her tiny spot near the beach only a year earlier with it's amazing pistachio mint shakes, killer burgers--long before the new bio burger hit the scene, pad thai, tostados, soups that made your cells dance and salads brimming with vitality. She had tons of tantalizing offerings on her menu and colorful, hand painted graphics of om’s and Sanskrit words etched all over the ceiling and walls. It was a boho throwback, and Ganga and I loved everything about it!
One day this fab chef came calling on us at White Lotus bearing gifts. She brought rose water meringues, plant-based butter, all kinds of cool things that wowed the tastebuds. I can't really say that I was a major meringue fan, but what she had created truly blew my mind. How did a plant-based, planet crusader come up with a vegan meringue? Aquafaba, she confided trying to allay my perplexed expression. And now, I see aquafaba everywhere...on fancy drink menus, in plant-based mayos, as the secret ingredient in all kinds of baking.
Oh, and for the yet initiated, aquafaba is simply chickpea water. The water remaining after chickpeas are cooked. The water is poured off and sometimes cooked down a bit further to bring it to a thicker consistency. That's it, voila! Anywhere you would use egg whites, you may use aquafaba. Also, an easy cheat is to use the water from organic, canned chickpeas because it is already thick.
Check out the recipe that follows on how to whip this fabulous, phenom into shape and then explore and go crazy. The world of vegan baking and even drinking is at your finger tips.
1 15oz. can of organic chickpeas
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar (optional, but can make a better whip)
Drain chickpea water from can. Place water in a mixing bowl. A hand mixer is going to make a better whip and be easier than using a hand whisk. Adding 1/8 tsp. of cream of tartar will make firmer, faster peaks.