Chia, flax, aquafaba, vegetable puree, mashed banana – all have their uses depending on what dish you’re making
For egg substitutes, recipes often call for labour-intensive or unusual ingredients. I tried a flax seed and water paste in brownies, and although they tasted nice, the flax and water ran out and separated. Why? What substitutes can you buy from standard shops?
Niamh, Lewes, East Sussex
While eggs can be hard to replace – they give us structure, moisture and the ability to bind ingredients – you can get pretty darn close, Niamh. The Great British Bake Off made aquafaba, AKA chickpea water, the poster child for egg substitutes when the tent went vegan for a week in 2018. Since then, that water lurking at the bottom of a tin, or after boiling up dried legumes, has been touted as the saviour of vegan cooking; hailed for its ability to be whipped, emulsified and act as a binder in sweet and savoury recipes. Why? In their Aquafaba cookbook, Sebastien Kardinal and Laura VeganPower write that it has the same ratio of water to protein and starch (that’s 90:10) as egg whites, which means meringues, “mayo” and Yorkshire puds are no longer off the vegan table. And any supermarket should stock tins of chickpeas.
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