Rocky Shepheard, creator of The Vegg vegan egg, was kind enough to send me some of the Vegg to try, along with the great cookbook you see here. If you haven't heard of it yet, the Vegg is a powdered, natural product that mimics eggs in both flavor and texture. There is also a baking mix that is slightly different that was created specifically for egg replacement in baking.
The 1.56oz size I received makes the equivalent of 30-40 yolks. This size is available at VeganEssentials.com for $6.99, but you can get the larger 4.5oz size at the Vegg Shop directly for $8.50 and it provides over 99 servings.
I've been working with the standard egg replacement which contains the following ingredients: Fortified nutritional yeast (dry yeast, niacin, pyridoxine hydrochloride, riboflavin, thiamin hydrochloride, folic acid, vitamin B12), sodium alginate, black sea salt, beta carotene. It's a no-fat, no-cholesterol, gluten-free and soy-free option for dishes that work best with either an eggy flavor or that require a binder.
Our first question was "what's sodium alginate?" That was the only ingredient that we weren't familiar with. In fact, to create an actual yolk, one of the the recipe calls for you to add more of this. Well, we looked it up and saw it has been used for indigestion, dental impressions, and even help pull radioactive substances from the body (woah!). But Wikipedia also notes, "In recent years, sodium alginate has been used in molecular gastronomy. Ferran Adrià pioneered the technique, and it has since been used by chefs such as Grant Achatz and Heston Blumenthal. Sodium alginate is combined with calcium lactate or similar compounds to create spheres of liquid surrounded by a thin jelly membrane." Well, there you go--spheres of liquid surrounded by a thin membrane...makes sense. It's totally safe too, by the way, and you can even stock up on Amazon.com.
We made two main recipes so far. The first up: crepes. This is something my boyfriend loved to make, so we were excited to give it a try. I was in charge of prepping the Vegg. You can see the powder in the photo here. This recipe called for 1/4 cup, so I blended 1 teaspoon (I know this photo shows 2tsp, but don't worry, we did it right) with 1/4 cup of water in my mini-blender.
This was actually the trickiest part in both recipes we followed. You are warned not to mix the Vegg by hand--it probably would not be blended enough. So, my mini-blender worked great, but when you're working with such small amounts you really need to make sure you don't have any leftover lumps floating around or stuck to the wall. So, I'd suggest opening the blender once or twice and making sure all the powder was blended in properly.
As you're doing this you will notice the "egg" smell right away...it's a sulfuric smell that comes from the black salt in the mix. The texture is like a whisked egg.
For the crepes, the recipe was fairly simple--blending the Vegg with non-dairy milk, water and flour. The batter stuck together as expected and the crepes themselves were tasty. We sprinkled a little sugar on them and added some fruit preserves. And...had a side of tempeh bacon. They don't look as awesome as the photo in the cookbook, but they were delicious!
Our next recipe was Scrambled Tofu with the Vegg added. This time it called for 2tsp of Vegg powder mixed with 1 cup of water. We did that in the mini-blender again while in the pan we had already sauteed some onions and mushrooms (put aside) and were now cooking the tofu crumbles. I avoided all the other things I normally add into a scramble, such as tahini, soy sauce, and various spices to see what this would taste like on its own. I think all we added was a little garlic salt and pepper at the end.
Here you can see what it looked like right when we poured the Vegg into the scrambled tofu. As we cooked it, the mixture became firmer. At this point you can decide how "wet" you want your scramble and stop when you like the texture. When it was almost ready, we added the mushrooms, onions and chopped tomatoes in. We served them up like breakfast burritos. Although the flavor was good on its own, I always add hot sauce and that made it even better!
Now, my boyfriend is still vegetarian (so he does eat real eggs occasionally) and he has never been a fan of my regular tofu scramble. This, on the other hand, he really enjoyed because it was closer to a real scrambled egg. He said he'd definitely make this again, which is a big step for him :)
We only scratched the surface here with these two recipes. Some other dishes I want to try include the french toast that everyone seems to rave about, quiche, using it to coat veggies before breading and frying, and using it as a binder in a veggie burger (keeping all those tasty ingredients together is a challenge sometimes).
I would definitely recommend the Vegg to all vegans to try at least once. (If you're really put off by the sulfuric egg smell, I might avoid it though.) The cookbook is highly recommended too if you want a great selection of recipes to start your experimentation. If you do a lot of baking, the baking mix would be perfect for an easy substitution for eggs in standard recipes. Overall, I think there are a lot of possibilities here if you used to love the taste eggs or if you're like me and never really cared for them, but like the way they function in food.
Feel free to share your experiences with the Vegg as well!