Because chickpea liquid (or other beans like kidney) is called aquafaba, and it’s been discovered to have some amazing culinary properties and can be used exactly like egg whites!
Good news for vegans or people with egg allergies who have been missing out on light & fluffy mousse and meringues all these years. Lots of egg whites can be hard to digest for some people too.
It does this by containing proteins and fibres from the legumes, giving it amazing emulsifying, foaming, binding, gelatinizing and thickening properties. 2 tbsp. is equivalent to an egg white, 3 tbsp. to a whole egg. And thankfully it doesn’t taste of chickpeas. I like chickpeas, but I don’t think chickpea flavour sweet meringues would taste nice, though don’t quote me on that.
If you soak & boil your own beans, it’s the liquid left over after boiling. Personally I find it too much of a faff and buy tinned, though if you’re on a budget dried beans are incredibly cheap.
My research brought me lots of chocolate mousse recipes using melted chocolate, honey and such.
Unfortunately from a nutritional point of view these are higher sugar and fat, and therefore calorie, so I hoped I could find a high protein, lower sugar version. Aquafaba itself is only 3 calories per tbsp., and with ½-3/4 cup of liquid in an average can of chickpeas (mine had 175ml), you don’t need to hold back.
I couldn’t, so decided to experiment, the idea being simply to whisk protein powder into the liquid and hope for the best without the ‘foam’ losing all its air.
Needless to say the resulting Aquafaba Protein Mousse was a big success! Never again shall I make the crime of throwing out the chickpea liquid!
N.B. this makes a huge, low calorie (100 ish) bowlful, due to the air, so don’t try eating it all at once or you’ll likely feel pretty bloated (speaking from experience…..)
1 x 400g tin’s worth of aquafaba (drained liquid from a tin of chickpeas)
¼ tsp cream of tartare
25g (1 scoop) protein powder; I used a berry flavour protein but most would do
Drain the chickpeas so that the liquid (the aquafaba) falls into a large bowl. Store the chickpeas in the fridge for use in another recipe (such as this high protein hummus).
With an electric whisk, whisk the liquid in the same way you would egg whites, in a circular motion so as to incorporate lots of air.
When almost at stiff peaks, add the protein powder and cream of tartare and whisk again until it is all incorporated and you have a stiff mousse.