Apr 5, 2015

chile relleno! vegan!

If you've been under a boulder the past few weeks, you would not be up to date on the epic chickpea brine discovery, so I'll give a quick run-down for you.

Some clever genius has discovered that the annoying foam that our beans produce during cooking can whip up into vegan egg whites. Let that sink in. What have you missed eating or making since you've become vegan? Chances are good, they contain some sort of egg product: macaroons, angel food cake, floating islands, among other sweets that conventionally are either made completely of eggs or contain a significant amount of eggs.

While I haven't tested this using freshly cooked bean liquid, this process has been proven to work with canned or boxed chickpeas or white beans. Although I've been cooking up batches of beans using my Instant Pot, for this special occasion, I purchased a box of chickpeas. A few, actually.

I'm not sure exactly who came up with this first - - you know the type, looks at the liquid drained from beans and thinks, "hmmm, that looks like egg whites!" but I am grateful. I will try to give credit where I think it might belong. If you know of someone who also came up with this at about the same time (it's possible - two different people invented calculus at the same time while occupying two different parts of the world), I'll add them to the list.

Plant Revolution (French)
Vegan Cookery

Since my facebook page has blow up with all kinds of vegan delicacies using bean liquid, I, of course, could not be left out of the fun.

Chocolate Chip Cookies. Photo courtesy of Somer McCowen

Vedged Out: Chocolate Chip Cookies
Floral Frosting: Macaroons
Seitan is My Motor: Marshmallows

Unlike my fellow bloggers and FB friends, my mind instantly flew to making Chile Rellenos, a chile stuffed with cheese and battered in an egg-flour mixture before being fried. That's right, not being one with much of a sweet tooth, I was itching to try my hand at making a fluffy, crispy stuffed pepper, Tex-Mex style.

The recipe below is my first attempt at making the rellenos; let me tell 'ya, they kick some royal Tex-Mex butt. Some tweaking with the ratio of whipped bean brine to flour would make this even better, but for the debut, this was an amazing Chile Relleno.

Chile Relleno
Serves 4

Sauce: (optional)
1 (15.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cups vegetable broth

4 medium to large poblano peppers
1 cup shredded vegan cheese (combination of different varieties is best)
4 (4-inch) wooden skewers
¼ cup all-purpose flour
Oil, for frying

1 1/4 cups chickpea or white bean brine (liquid from 2 cans of beans)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Sauce: (Optional) Combine the tomatoes and broth in a medium pot over medium-high heat. Cook the sauce until thickened, about 20 minutes. Season with salt and black pepper. Blend using an immersion blender and keep warm.
2. Chiles: Cook the peppers over a flame or directly over the stove top burners, until charred well. There is no need to completely char the peppers. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl and cover with a lid. Steam the peppers for 20 minutes.
3. Peel the peppers using your hands. Do not rinse under water.  Make a slit down the side of the pepper about 2-inches long. Remove the seeds as much as possible, but leave the stem intact. Add about ¼-cup cheese inside the pepper and close the pepper using a skewer. Clean and stuff all the peppers and roll each pepper in the flour. Set aside.
4. Heat about 2-inches of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add three popcorn kernels to the oil; when the kernels pop the oil is ready.
5. Batter: Add the batter to a large bowl and using an electric hand mixer beat the brine until thick and stiff, about 4 minutes. Add the paprika, salt and black pepper. Whisk until the flour is incorporated.
6. Place a pepper into the batter and using a spoon coat the pepper on all sides. Fry the pepper in the hot oil until golden and crisp, about 2 minutes per side. Drain the pepper on paper towels and season with salt. Serve with the sauce.

© 2015 Copyright Zsu Dever. All rights reserved.

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  1. Good lawd, this has me drooling. These look amazing!!

  2. "Some clever genius has discovered that the annoying foam that our beans produce during cooking can whip up into vegan egg whites."
    Mind blown! How have I not heard of this before now? This is pretty big news.
    And your recipe looks amazing! Yum =)

    1. That's why we network :) We can't all catch everything all by ourselves. Happy to have been the bearer of such good news!

  3. I had a feeling this could be done! (:

  4. I've been wondering about this, so glad I found your recipe! So when you make the batter, you whip the aquafaba before adding the flour and seasonings? Also, wonder how this would work with a gluten free flour blend?

    1. Hi Ellen,

      I haven't remade this, but doing it as I did it then, use a hand whisk or hand mixer to whip the aquafaba into soft peaks. Back then I didn't realize that aquafaba can be whipped into STIFF peaks, but it has to be whipped for a lot longer - around 12 to 15 minutes. So go with soft peaks (stiff would be too much in this recipe) and then add the flour and spices.

      I haven't played with it using gluten-free flour, but you will encounter a problem, I suspect, as gluten free flour typically won't bind. Using GF flour, make sure to have some binding flours such as cornstarch or oat flour. I'd probably go with those two and not add too many other kinds of flour, except maybe a bit of rice flour to even out the flavor.

      Hope this helps!

  5. I didn't see you'd replied to my comment. I just tried it tonight with bobs red mill gluten free flour blend. It came out ok, but the aquafaba died as soon as I added the flour. Maybe I didn't whip it long enough. Next time I will try to corn starch and oat flour. Thanks so much!! 😉

    1. You want to sift the flour over the aquafaba and then fold the flour into the aquafaba. This helps with it deflating. Good luck! (and I try to always answer, so leave a comment with confidence.)


Thanks for your comment! I'll check if it's spam and post if it is not. I appreciate your time and effort for commenting! ~ Zsu