Monday, June 22, 2009
This sweet and creamy beverage originated in Spain, though it is more often associated with Mexican food. It is the perfect compliment to a spicy meal! Although most recipes call for almonds, it was originally made with tigernuts, the tubers of a sedge, Cyperus esculentus (see photo). You can try adding peanuts or cashews instead. It can be made dairy-free, using only rice, nuts and water, or you can add some cow’s milk, too. The recipe below is the one that I use most often, but can be adjusted to taste!
2/3 C uncooked long-grain white rice
1 1/4 C raw almonds nuts
1 toasted cinnamon stick
1 vanilla bean
1 star anise
2 1/2 C hot water
1 C sugar
2 C water or 1 cup each milk and water
1. Soak rice and almonds with 2 1/2 cups of hot water, cinnamon, vanilla bean and star anise. Toasting the cinnamon releases the flavorful oils and will enhance the drink. Soak for at least 3 hours, or preferably, overnight.
2. Remove vanilla bean and star anise. Pour the water, almonds, rice and cinnamon into a blender along with sugar and blend for a few minutes until it is very smooth.
3. Pour the mixture through a fine sieve, or a layer of cheesecloth into a bowl. Use a spoon to stir the solids around, which will help the liquid pass through. Sometime I even squeeze the cheesecloth to remove liquid. Strain horchata again if necessary.
If you want to serve it right away, add 2 cups of water or water/milk mix and serve over crushed ice. If you’re going to store it, add the remaining liquid and refrigerate.