You could be forgiven for assuming the above image is a photogenic example of well-whipped egg whites - ready for some delicious meringue related dessert or perhaps even a pavlova (we do have antipodean roots after all).
Forgiven, forgotten but not necessarily correct…as it’s actually a photo of aquafaba.
Aqua-what? - we can hear you silently asking yourself. For those amongst our kitchen with their finger on the pulse of the newest vegan and vegetarian trends, aquafaba is the latest and greatest egg-white replacement.
It was discovered in 2014, when French vegan musician Joël Roessel realised the water from canned beans and other vegetables could be made to form foams much like protein isolates. After sharing his experiments online, showing that the liquid can be used as a foaming agent in mousses and meringues by blending the foam with sugar and starches, his techniques took off and it’s since been up to creative individuals to see what could be done with his culinary discovery.
The material itself is composed from the carbohydrates, proteins, and soluble plant solids which have travelled from the seeds to the water during the cooking process. This unique combination of ingredients gives it a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinising and thickening properties.
The phrase ‘aquafaba’ took slightly longer to fruit, after US based software engineer Goose Wohlt provide the bourgeoning vegan community with a common phrase for the cooking liquid, simply by combining the Latin word for water, aqua, and the Latin word for bean, faba.
According to reports, the most successful aquafaba seems to be from chickpeas (which is what we’re using at LARDO) - other legumes can also be used, but have slightly different compositions and can require more experimenting with the concentration to get the desired results.
Here at LARDO we’ve picked up the aquafaba baton and are excited to run with it as far as we can; so far we’ve used it our new vegan chocolate mousse which (if the regularity by which it sells it out is any indication) has been going down a treat. We’ve also been playing around with some meringue related experiments - soon to be available to eat!
So watch this space, 2019 is an exciting time to be making food!
Team Lardo x