Creative food stylist Ajda Mehmet possesses the gift to create something tasteful out of literally anything. With us she shares her knowledge about uncommon but not forgotten vegetables along with the most delicious recipes to prepare them.
A recent discovery about chickpeas, actually chickpea water, blew my mind a little. If you haven’t heard about it yet I am hoping this article will have the same effect on you.
I’m Mediterranean so it’s not like I needed any convincing about chickpeas, and hummus, it’s in a league of its’ own if you ask me. Who doesn’t love hummus?
Bon Appetit named it their 2015 food of the year, hummus has also had a reawakening of sorts with bistros specializing in this one, creamy, moreish, heaven-like substance, popping up all over cities near you.
But back to the chickpea water, aquafaba. Prepare to be amazed by a substance that we usually discard during the process of making our dinner and how it turns into one of the most exciting vegan food alternatives since avocados in dessert
Discovered by a French chef Joël Roessel, you strain your chickpeas as normal but use a bowl to catch the liquid that normally drips away. This thick, egg-white like substance is exactly that, an egg white replacement that can be used in anything from cocktails to cakes, mayonnaise to meringues, yes meringue from chickpea water, I know!
The official Aquafaba website says; “Aquafaba can be used to replace egg whites in many sweet and savoury recipes. Its unique mix of starches, proteins, and other soluble plant solids which have migrated from the seeds to the water during the cooking process gives aquafaba a wide spectrum of emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinising and thickening properties”
Whilst aquafaba doesn’t claim to have any special health benefits, it is primarily composed of starches and proteins, so it’s not bad for you. If you are vegan, you’ll love testing out the many uses it has and with a little trial and error you’ll get to grips with using it very easily.
If you don’t believe me, (I didn’t believe it when I first saw it), you have to try it for yourself and see. You will love these:
Cardamom aquafaba meringues with coconut cream, raspberries and rose water.
For the meringue
Liquid drained from 1 x 400g can of chickpeas
200g caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/2 tsp cardamom
For the coconut cream
1 x 400g can full-fat coconut cream or milk (refrigerated overnight)
tbsp powdered sugar
2 tsp rose water
50g pistachios, roughly chopped
Preheat the oven to 120C. Place the aquafaba into a deep mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer, starting slowly and speeding up, until white and fluffy. This works best with a food mixer but a hand whisk will do the trick.
Add the sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, into the fluffy white mixture, beating all the time at a high speed. Continue whisking for 10 minutes until the mixture is stiff and glossy and the sugar has dissolved. Lastly, whisk in the vanilla and cardamom.
Line a baking tray with nonstick baking paper. Using a large serving spoon, place generous piles of the mixture on to the baking sheet. Place in the preheated oven and bake for 90 minutes, until crisp on the outside. Turn the oven off and allow the meringues to cool in the oven for a further hour.
Meanwhile make the coconut cream. Take the can from the fridge being careful not to shake it. Open the can and scoop out the solidified cream at the top of the can, reserving all the water for another meal. Whisk the cream and sugar with an electric mixer for 3-4 minutes until thick and creamy.
Place the raspberries in a bowl, add the rosewater and 1 tablespoon of water, stir and leave them to soak for 10 minutes.
To serve the meringues, place each individual meringue in a bowl, add a large dollop of coconut cream and spoon over a quarter of the soaked, rose water raspberries. Add a pinch of ground cardamom over the top and some crushed pistachios.