Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Horchata!

I had Horchata for the first time with my coworker last summer at a Mexican fast food joint called 9 Beans and  Burrito. I'd never had it before and I have to say I was pleasantly surprised.
Horchata, if you don't know, is rice-cinnamon drink; sometimes it's made with nuts as well. I haven't tried this yet but almonds might be nice to try.

I found a recipe online to make Horchata, but ended up changing the amounts of the ingredients. Here's what I used:
  • 1 1/3 cups uncooked white rice
  • 2 cinnamon sticks
  • 2 cups water + 3 cups water
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
Rice, check...cinnamon, check....milk, check....

Just like any recipe--especially in this one--you can adjust the amounts of everything to fit your tastes. You can use more or less cinnamon, adjust the amounts of water vs. milk, change the vanilla, and the sweetener. I'm a firm believer of taste-as-you-go for most recipes. 

1. Put the rice, cinnamon sticks, and 2 cups of water into a blender and blend for about 15 seconds until fairly well blended. This helps blend the teeny tiny pieces better. Then add the rest of the water and blend for a minute or so. The smaller the pieces (more surface area), the better!

Cinni-rice

Blend blend blend....

2. Let sit overnight or at least 6 hours. I put it in a pitcher instead of letting it sit in the blender. Stir it every now and then if you remember.


3. Strain the mixture and make sure you save the water! That's the whole point! My mesh strainer worked well. Cheesecloth would work too but would take longer. A colander would probably have holes too that are large. It's easier if you stir it up first before you strain it, otherwise the rice likes to get stuck in the bottom of the pitcher and it's kind of a pain to dig it out.


4. Whisk in milk, sugar and vanilla. It's best to start out small with these ingredients--a little bit at a time, taste, add more, taste....and the good part is that you can always add more water or milk in case you add too much sugar or vanilla. 




5. Chill and drink up!


A few notes:
  • I have no idea how it'd work with any other kind except white rice. 
  • You might be able to use honey or agave nectar or splenda to sweeten with instead of white sugar. I haven't tried it yet.
  • My ingredients are how I like it. It's a little on the sweet side and some people don't like it so sweet, which is why I suggest adding a little bit at a time. The original recipe I used actually called for 2/3 of a cup of sugar! I cut it in half, but decided I liked it sweeter than that and 1/2 cup works for me. Play around to find out what you like! Same with the vanilla--the original recipe called for double what I used!
  • You could try adding almonds to change the flavor. 
  • I used 1% milk. If I had used 2% or whole milk I might've used less than a cup, but I think skim would make it too watery for me. 
I hope you like it!