Horchata de Arroz
(Latin sweet rice beverage)
Horchata (or-CHA-tah) is a milky white, sweet beverage that was introduced to Spain by the Moors. The original Spanish version is made with ground tiger nuts and is especially popular in Valencia. In Latin America, where the tiger nut is not commonly available, pulverized rice is used. In Mexico, horchata is one of the most common aguas frescas and is ladled from large glass jars set in ice.
These days horchata can be found pre-made in the refrigerated section of markets or as a powder in packets to be mixed with water or milk. In the homemade version, the rice settles out after a few hours. Stir to remix.
Makes around 2 quarts
- Rice -- 2 cups
- Water -- 6 cups
- Cinnamon -- 1/2 teaspoon
- Sugar -- 1/3 cup
- Vanilla -- 1 teaspoon
- Soak the rice overnight in 3 cups of the water. Add the rice, soaking water and cinnamon to a blender and puree until smooth, 2 or 3 minutes.
- Strain into a pitcher through a fine-mesh sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. There should be no grit or large particles in the liquid.
- Stir in the remaining 3 cups water, sugar and vanilla. Adjust sugar to taste and serve well chilled.
- Horchata de Chufa (Spanish tiger nut beverage): The original Spanish version of horchata.
- 1 pound chufa (tiger nuts)
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 1/2 quarts water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- Wash the chufa well and rub off any hairy fibers.
- Soak for 12 hours in water to cover, and then discard the soaking water and rinse again.
- Puree the nuts in a blender with 1 or 2 cups of water. Pour into a pitcher and add the remaining 2 quarts of water and the cinnamon stick. Chill and soak another 2 hours.
- Strain through a fine-mesh sieve or 3 layers of damp cheesecloth to remove any grit and serve well chilled.
- El Salvador: Flavored with ground morro seed (from the calabash tree gourd) and various spices.
- Nicaragua and Honduras: Flavored with ground jícaro seeds (from the calabash tree gourd) and cocoa.
- Mexico-Oaxaca: Tinted pink with a dollop of the pureed fruit of the prickly pear cactus (tuna in Spanish).
- Other Possible Additions: A squeeze of lime juice, ground nutmeg, ground allspice.
- Substitute 3 cups of milk for 3 cups of the water. Or use evaporated milk for a richer, creamier version.
- Add 1/4 to 1/2 cup blanched, chopped almonds to the blender when pureeing the soaked rice.
- Some recipes call for grinding the rice before soaking. Use a spice or coffee grinder to first pulverize the rice. Then add the water to soak. The soaking time can usually be cut in half when following this method.