The Aquafaba Project: Savory and Spicy Tofu
Last week, I posted an experiment in baking with “aquafaba,” the water that you drain from a can of cooked chickpeas. This week, I am experimenting with homemade “aquafaba,” and I’m trying the magical goop to replace eggs in a crispy breaded cutlet.
If you look at the photo below, you can see that the homemade chickpea water is quite a bit darker. My theory is that the manufacturers put clear water in with the chickpeas when they can them, and the extraction happens in the can, not in the cooking. But that is just my theory. Maybe the variety of chickpeas they use is just paler.
I cooked 2 cups of soaked chickpeas with 4 cups water in the pressure cooker, and then drained off the remaining 2 cups bean water. I boiled it down to a cup, and when I chilled that, it gelled to a texture almost as thick as an egg white.
Then I added about a teaspoon of arrowroot, and beat it with the whisk attachment of my stand mixer. It became as fluffy as whipped eggs, although not stiff. It also deflated if left to stand for more than a few minutes. I took this photo and then re-whipped it, and it was nice and fluffy again.
I then coated the tofu with about a teaspoon of salt mixed with about a tablespoon more arrowroot, to give it something to stick to. I mixed thyme and a little more salt into the crumbs, and dredged the tofu. The aquafaba did a good job of creating a nice, thick crust.
So I baked it for about 35 minutes, total, flipping the slices at 20 minutes. I used just enough oil, so it wasn’t greasy at all. The crust was nice and crispy when it came out.
So my savory “aquafaba” experiment came out really well. It would be fun to play around with more herbs in the coating, and different sauces. Marinated tempeh would be a great thing to coat this way, as it has both more texture and flavor than tofu. The chickpea water did a fine job of replacing eggs, and had a good flavor, just a hint of nutty, bean taste.
So if you were throwing away the water from your beans, it’s time to start saving it. If you aren’t going to use it right away, just freeze it. You can thaw it in the fridge when you get a craving for banana bread or crispy tofu cutlets.
I love saving money, and not wasting food, and this is a win-win for me and my budget!
Crispy Panko Crusted Tofu with Spicy Mango Sriracha Sauce
1 pound extra firm tofu, pressed and patted dry
1 cup aquafaba
1 1/2 cups panko bread crumbs
1 teaspoon dried thyme
oil for pan
1 large mango
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 slice fresh turmeric, or 1/4 teaspoon dried
2 tablespoons agave or honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons Sriracha sauce
1/2 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 400 F. Lightly oil a sheet pan.
Whip aquafaba and a teaspoon or so of arrowroot until fluffy. Mix the panko and bread crumbs, and dredge the tofu. Bake for 20 minutes, flip and bake for 15 minutes longer.
While the tofu bakes, make the sauce. In a vitamix or food processor, combine the mango, ginger, turmeric, agave, lemon, Sriracha sauce and salt and process until smooth. Serve at room temperature.