[Traditional latkes are great for many occasions! These aquafaba-based latkes (potato pancakes) are vegan, sugar-free, gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free, egg free, soy-free, nut-free and yeast-free. Suitable for all stages on an anti-candida diet if made without potato starch.]
[Potato pancakes (latkes) made with aquafaba! How yummy do these look??]
About a year ago, I started hearing buzz in the blogging world about a new miracle ingredient that was called aquafaba. There were pinned posts, tweets, and even entire Facebook groups devoted to the stuff.
So, of course, I had to find out what it was. Turns out aquafaba (which means “bean water” in Latin) is nothing more than the brine (ie the liquid) from canned chickpeas! Who knew that something we’d all been straining out and throwing away could be magically converted into a multi-purpose, almost miraculous vegan replacement for egg whites?
Now, after many months of kitchen play, the pioneers and culinary creatives have taken aquafaba and run with it. We’ve found out that the best aquafaba is actually derived from home-cooked chickpeas (those you buy dry, soak, and cook the next day), that pretty much any dried beans can generate usable aquafaba (though I wouldn’t use the liquid from black beans for much except chocolate-based desserst, as it is, like its source, black), and that it’s a snap these days to make plant-based meringue, macarons, pavlova, buttercream–and any other dishes where egg whites used to cause vegans to gaze longingly at foods they missed but couldn’t quite reproduce effectively.
[Classic waffles made with aquafaba–can’t wait to adapt this recipe for the ACD! Photo: Zsu Dever.]
With the new aquafaba craze also comes this beautiful new cookbook, Aquafaba: Sweet and Savory Vegan Recipes Made Egg-Free with the Magic of Bean Water, from Zsu Dever, author of the blog Zsu’s Vegan Pantry.
Zsu is a trained pastry chef who had already mastered all the vegan specialties until this point. She took it upon herself to examine every aspect of using this miracle liquid, from exactly how to make your own so the texture is foolproof (whether from canned beans or home-cooked); to storing it; to using it for buttercream, macarons, meringues and dozens of savory uses as well, including as an emulsifier.
[Traditional meringue cookies from the book (these are made with sugar). Photo: Zsu Dever.]
Recipes in the book include everything from condiments; breakfasts, lunches and dinners; sweets from the pantry or sweets from the oven; to bonus bean recipes (for when you make your own aquafaba and have leftover beans); plus all of the ingredients and equipment you’ll need to best use your aquafaba.
Some of the recipes I can’t wait to try include Country-Style Aged Sharp Cheese, Worcestershire Sauce, Classic Waffles, Toasted Oat Waffles, Tamagoyaki Rolled Omelet (like you get in Japanese restaurants!), Sundried Tomato and Artichoke Quiche, Swedish Meatballs, Fantasy Fudge, Lemon Meringue Pie, Meringue Cookies, Swiss Buttercream, as well as many of the bonus bean recipes. (I’ll need to adapt some of these to be either gluten-free or sugar-free, or both).
[Zsu’s Fudgy Brownies made with aquafaba. Photo: Zsu Dever]
Today’s recipe is a European classic–latkes, also known as potato pancakes. These are like individual hash browns, both crispy outside and soft inside, with an additional boost of flavor from chopped parsley. Great as an appetizer or side dish–or brunch staple.
If you’re looking for a way to enjoy a wealth of yummy recipes that would normally use eggs, be sure to check out Aquafaba.
reprinted with permission from Aquafaba ©2016 by Zsu Dever
These latkes are perfectly crisp on the outside and melt-in-your-mouth on the inside. The added potato starch increases their crispiness, but it is not essential. Some russet potatoes tend to be on the drier side, but to be safe, place them in a lint-free kitchen towel, fold up the edges and give them a good wring to remove excess water. Serve this the traditional way, with nondairy sour cream and applesauce.
2 pounds (about 910 g) russet potatoes [I’d use redskinned to make this ACD-compliant]
1/2 medium onion
1/4 cup (60 ml) aquafaba (see Note)
1/4 cup (60 ml) potato starch, optional
2 Tbsp (30 ml) minced fresh parsley, optional
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) sea salt
1/2 tsp (2.5 ml) baking powder
1/4 tsp (1 ml) ground black pepper
High-heat oil, for frying, such as canola or peanut [I’d use coconut oil]
Peel the potatoes and shred them using either a food processor with the shredding blade or a box grater. Place them on a kitchen towel, fold up the edges, twist the towel around the potatoes, and squeeze out all the water that you can. Place the potatoes in a large bowl. Shred the onion and add it to the potatoes. Add the aquafaba, starch, parsley (if using), salt, baking powder, and black pepper. Mix very well.
Heat about 1/2 inch of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add two or three kernels of popping corn and heat the oil until the corn pops; this is an indicator that your oil is hot enough. Remove and discard the popped corn.
Using a 1/4-cup measuring cup, place 3 to 4 portions of the potato mixture in the hot oil and cook them until golden brown, about 2 minutes. Do not press down on the latkes. Flip the latkes and continue to cook another 2 minutes. Drain them on paper towels and serve as soon as possible. Make sure to give the potatoes a stir before measuring, and do not crowd the skillet or your latkes will not be crispy.
Makes 14 to 16 latkes.
Note: Although aquafaba is best if homemade using the recipe provided in the book, you can use aquafaba from canned chickpeas. Use the organic, low-sodium, canned chickpeas and strain off the liquid into a measuring cup using a fine mesh strainer. Note the amount of liquid you acquired, then add it to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid reduces by 1/3. Cool the aquafaba completely before using.
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