1704 Vegetarians in Paradise/Aquafaba Book Review
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Vegetarians in Paradise

Vegan Books

Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes
Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water

By Zsu Dever
Foreward by Goose Wohlt

Vegan Heritage Press, 2016
Paperback, $21.95

Who would have thought that the juice from a can of chickpeas was not destined to be poured down the drain, but instead has become an essential ingredient in the kitchen as a possible egg replacement?

Aquafaba Goose Wohlt, who writes the forward to this cookbook, was an early discoverer of this liquid that came to be known as aquafaba. Author Zsu Dever credits him for the naming by combining the Latin words for water (aqua) and beans (faba).

Wohlt shared his discovery on a Facebook page called "What Fat Vegans Eat" in March 2015 spurring the vegan community to go wild over this new egg replacement, especially in meringues.

In this volume Dever provides an An Aquafaba Primer where she discusses What It Is, How to Make It, How to Whip It, How to Use It, and How to Store It.

Although anyone can easily drain the liquid from a can of beans, Dever writes, "Homemade aquafaba is stronger, more stable, tastes less of legumes, and goes much further in cooking than aquafaba from canned beans or other types of beans." She says that canned beans may often have a legume taste while the homemade "is completely indiscernible in cooking."

She admits aquafaba has its limitations. "Aquafaba by itself will not create custards, eclairs or omelets," she writes. "Unlike eggs, aquafaba is not a stand alone ingredient."

In a chapter titled Condiments, she offers recipes for vegan butter, cheese, mayonnaise, yogurt and salad dressings that magically emulsify with the addition of aqufaba. This bean liquid makes fluffy Breakfast dishes like waffles pancakes muffins, crepes, and French toast possible without eggs. Of special note are the unique recipes for Tamagoyaki Rolled Omelet and Matzo Brei.

International fare can now grace the vegan table for Lunch and Dinner. Here the cook can employ aqufaba to recreate delicious, moist and tender favorites like Galushka, Fasirt Hungarian Burgers, Levantine Kebabs, Challah, or Brioche.

Zsu Dever Desserts are spotlighted in two chapters: Sweets from the Pantry and Sweets from the Oven. Sweets from the Pantry yields old fashioned, rich favorites like Marshmallows, Fantasy Fudge, Lemon Meringue Pie, and Caramel-Praline Cashew Ice Cream.

Sweets from the Oven shows the value of aquafaba in creating Pound Cake, Chewy Fudge Brownies. Autumn-Spiced Bread Pudding, and a variety of cookies.

What to do with all those beans accumulated in making the aquafaba is covered in Bonus: Bean Recipes. Chickpeas are roasted, barbecued, or baked. They are also transformed into dishes like Falafel Doner, Shiro Wot, Chickpea Gulyas, and Korean Dak Galbi.

Because the recipes are both international and vegan, Dever is wise to include a two-page Ingredients glossary. She concludes the book with an Equipment list, Special Procedures, Resources, and Roundup of the "Vegan Meringue - Hits and Misses!" Group. This roundup is a two-page listing of recipes and people who used aquafaba in those recipes.

In Aquafaba, Zsu Dever has fashioned an entire vegan cookbook for people who want to avoid eggs, but still want the revered classic genre of light and airy dishes that were formerly made with eggs. What makes the book special is that she reaches across continents and utilizes aquafaba in so many tempting international dishes. The book is smartly laid out, features easy-to-read fractions in the ingredient lists, and offers brilliantly photographed illustrations of unique dishes. Both the novice cook and the experienced chef will find much to savor within its pages.

Click here for past book reviews

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