What is aquafaba?

Detou's vegan basil-almond meringue with aquafaba

Detou's vegan basil-almond meringue with aquafaba

Aquafaba is growing in popularity among the vegan community as an egg substitute. But what exactly is this strange sounding ingredient?   

It looks like something you might chuck down the sink. But aquafaba - the murky liquid left over after cooking legumes such as chickpeas and beans - is growing in popularity as a vegan-friendly egg substitute in recipes ranging from mousse and meringues to mayonnaise and beyond.

Its name is a mash-up of the Latin word for water (aqua) and bean (faba). You can use the fluid drained from canned chickpeas (salt and sugar contents vary, so read the labels first), but Brisbane chef Damon Amos says it's worth cooking pulses from scratch to retain better control. "Reduce the cooking liquid by half, let it settle overnight and then use the clear fluid which sits on top, discarding any sediment below," he says.

Amos has been experimenting in the run-up to opening Detour, his new vegan-leaning restaurant in Woolloongabba. "We've been playing with a vegan basil-almond meringue dessert," he says. For the meringue, he reduces the leftover liquid with a sugar syrup to stabilise it, then uses an almond cream to mask any lingering bean or chickpea notes.


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