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Lecithin: An Egg Yolk Substitute

    Posted By: Baron Blackfang
Tuesday, 25 April 2006, at 1:36 p.m.

Egg yolks, with 100 mg cholesterol per large yolk, are a real no-no for those of us on a low-cholesterol diet. Yet, egg yolk is a great emulsifier (binder) and has a wonderful flavor. So, what to do? The answer is substituting lecithin granules for egg yolk. Lecithin granules, available from your health-foods store, are a low-cost, white, water-soluble, tasteless phospholipid, having only 40 calories per tablespoon (15 grams). It has a long shelf life, also.

Lecithin is used commercially as an emulsifier, such as in baking and salad dressings, in order to reduce or eliminate eggs in the food product. Nutritionally, lecithin, whose commercial source is soybean oil thus making it suitable for vegetarians, increases HDL cholesterol (the good stuff) while reducing LDL cholesterol (the bad stuff) by making LDL more soluble, thereby reducing arterial plaque formation.

One tablespoon of lecithin granules will substitute for one large egg yolk. I have used lecithin to make meat balls, meatloaf, mayonnaise, and salad dressings quite successfully. Unfortunately, lecithin, being tasteless, can't replace the yolk flavor. Personally, while I used to love fried eggs, I now don't miss the taste of egg yolk.

If you must have the taste of egg yolk but don't want the fat, try using "egg substitute" powder, available at your health-foods store. This product is lecithin granules blended with powdered egg whites, naturally colored and flavored to resemble dried eggs. I haven't tried this product, but your comments would be appreciated if you have.

I hope that you will give lecithin a try in your cooking. If you feel challenged by cooking a low-cholesterol cuisine, please remember that low-fat doesn't have to mean "low taste". It's all a matter of making the proper substitutions. If you need advice on fat substitutions, please post here and I'll try to advise you.

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