Aquafaba Pisco Sour: Can AI be a creative inventor?

As Artificial Intelligence (AI) creeps into every crevice of life, fear looms about if AI will surpass human dominance. Society’s giants have weighed in cautioning researchers and inventors. And, Ted talks abound on both sides of the debate. Once when I was giving a public talk in Netherlands, I was heckled by a small group: an animated exchange ensued with the moderator (in a language foreign to me; hence the hecklers really failed to agitate me). I surmise that they were staunch luddites worried about AI elbowing humans out of the way. I only wish AI was that “intelligent”. Then AI could plough through all the data and demystify cancer, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s. Then we, the mere mortals, could follow through with inventing deliverable cures.

You may be surprised to learn that AI has already made inroads into the kitchen with cookbooks authored by computer programs. Occasionally at the cafeteria, at my place of work, we are presented with dishes designed by a computer program (executed by our intrepid resident Chef). While the results are commendable, I hesitate to endorse the creativity of AI. What could impress me, you ask. Let me give you two food inventions of this century that came out of human intelligence: GABA rice and aquafaba. The former is a technique of cooking nutritious rice and the latter is a mind-blowing egg-white substitute (no, it’s not one of those protein isolates). If AI generated an idea even 10 notches below the brilliance of these, I will concede in a heart-beat.

Before I get back to the core of this posting, I would be remiss if I do not reiterate the significance and role AI in modern society. As mind-numbing tasks are being handed over to AI, like suggesting your next favorite movie, or automatically organizing your photos, or vacuuming your floor, it will be long long time before it can get stunningly creative.

Now to aquafaba, the amazing ingredient. My friends had raved about Pisco Sour, a frothy Peruvian cocktail, but I always hung back when I saw egg whites go into the cocktail shaker. When I learned that aquafaba (bean water) is an excellent substitute for egg whites, I followed a classic Pisco Sour recipe with the substitute. The result was brilliant! Enjoy. [Also check out the aquafaba version of Ayurvedic Shot]

Special tools:.

Vitamix Aer or a cocktail shaker.

Ingredients

  • 1 oz Pisco + 1 oz aquafaba [see below] + 1 oz fresh lemon juice + ¾ ounce simple syrup + 2-3 ice cubes
  • few drops of Grapefruit bitters

Method

Mix all the ingredients, except bitters, in a cocktail shaker or the Vitamix Aer. Pour the frothy drink into a glass and splash 2-3 drops of bitters (serves 1).

Notes, hints, tips:
  1. You can make the aquafaba yourself as below or simply use the liquid from canned garbanzo. Make sure it is unsalted.
  2. Pisco is a strong Peruvian brandy, made from white grapes. You could use 2 oz per serving for a stronger version.
  3. Simple syrup: Dissolve equal amount, by volume, of sugar and water, in a microwavable cup. Nuke for 30 secs and stir. Cool.
  4. Homemade Aquafaba: Soak 2 cups garbanzo beans overnight. Add water (about 1 cm only above the layer of beans). Bring to a boil, then turn down heat to low simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. [Check after 1 hour with a bite-test and decide if it needs more cooking.] Remove the cooked beans—these should be still holding their shape—with a slotted spoon. Do not mash the beans into the water. Thicken the water on heat for another 15 mins. This makes about 3 ½ oz of aquafaba (see picture below). You could cool it in the fridge. Do not be alarmed to see it gel (like aspic). See pictures below for possibly different consistencies that you may get at different runs (left & center).
    The cooked garbanzo can be used for other recipes- hummus, chole, falafal etc.

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