Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Horchata – No Tigers Were Harmed in the Making of this Drink

When it comes to delicious, unique, and refreshing summer drinks, it’s hard to beat horchata. There are countless ways to make this, but my preferred method is easy, relatively quick, and doesn’t require any tigernuts, whatever those are.

Apparently, that’s what the original Spanish version contained, among other things, but we’re doing a Mexican-style horchata, which is done with rice and almonds. The result is something that sort of looks like milk, but is much lighter, and pairs perfectly with all your favorite summer foods. I know, summer’s almost over, but not here in San Francisco, where our hottest weather is just ahead.

Depending on your tastes, you can alter the amount of sugar, as well as the ratio between rice and almonds, but what you can’t alter is the need to strain this before serving. Unless you like gritty drinks, you’ll want to pass this through a very, very five sieve, multiple layers of cheesecloth, or both. I hear a plain white, cotton t-shirt also works nicely, but I’ve never tried.

As you saw, I tested a nut milk bag, which allowed a little too much sediment through for my tastes, but regardless, do not skip this step. It’s especially important if you’re not leaving the mixture to sit overnight, since the particles won’t have as long to soften. Other than that, there’s not much that can go wrong, and I really do hope you give it a try soon. Enjoy!


Makes about 2 quarts of Horchata:
1 cup long-grain white rice
1/4 cup raw almonds
1 cinnamon stick, or 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
7 cups cold fresh water (4 cups to blend rice, 3 cups added after)
ground cinnamon to garnish, optional

Note: Once blended, let sit overnight before straining, if possible. This way the water has plenty of time to leach out the goodness from the rice and almonds. The four-hour method does work, but you don't get quite the same flavor. Along the same lines, many horchata "experts" actually prefer to not blend immediately, but rather let the mixture sit overnight to soften, before blending the next day. If you like how this comes out, feel free to experiment, and test for yourself.

16 comments:

Malb said...

What brand of long grain rice do you use and does the rice need to be rinsed?

Alberto Lopes said...

Is this how you make those "rice milk" drinks?

Dan LaPorte said...

My completely unrelated (to this recipe) comment is *MY* food wish!
Have you ever had little, baby meatballs, usually served with a sauce as an app or as bar food, something called Bitterballen?
I had this once, decades and about 3,000 miles ago...

Cheers

Nicolette Hardinger said...

The nut milk bag pictured in the video is not a good quality. The mesh is too wide for good staining of any nut milk.

Omneah said...

I am so intrigued by this recipe. We have a Saudi drink called Gahwat Loz that has all the ingredients in this recipe but is vastly different. It is a mixture of milk, rice flour, and blanched crushed almonds boiled together and flavored with sugar, cardamom, and orange blossom water.

Jane Coburn said...

No tigers involved at all. It's a plant. Looks a bit like pistachio nut minus the shell.I'm looking forward to making this over the weekend. But I am assuming you don't cook the rice first.

QC said...

My rice isn't blending well. Maybe I should try the soak then blend method next time...

Edward said...

Just a general thank you, Chef. I scale your recipes up to serve various meals including a Sunday brunch at our little winery's museum's restaurant each week. Lately I've been serving the sweet hot mustard chicken thighs with the Brutus salad on the side. I usually make between 20 and 60 portions depending on reservations.

As per your recipe, I slit the thighs and marinate them over night. I don't cook them on top of sliced onions. Instead I cook a lot of onions in the manner of the way your start your American French onion soup. 30 minutes into cooking the chicken, I add a quart of chicken stock split among the pans of chicken, and at the end of cooking I separate the fat from the rest of the cooking liquid and add the result to the onions and cook them a little longer, reducing the liquid slightly. This makes an amazing chunky sauce with a lot of the flavor from the marinade mixing with the onions.

I serve the chicken over mashed potatoes with the onion mixture poured over the top. This combined with the Brutus salad is a very popular, surprisingly light meal for a Sunday brunch.

I've also served your Maialle al Latte with polenta to real Italians to much applause. Thanks again!

Luca Gacy said...

Would heating up the mixture speed up the process or is there a reason why that wouldn't help?

Luca Gacy said...

Would heating up the mixture speed up the process or would it not help at all.

Rob Moy said...

A little bit of mexican vanilla complements the flavor!

Nicole Cooper said...

Can i make this in my food processor instead of the blender? My blender is not so great.

John said...

"The 'h' is silent, but your guests won't be." Gold. It's why we love you, Chef John!

Don Dillashaw said...

Thanks for the great recipe Chef John! My young adults like there horchata on the sweet and creamy side so I did a little tweaking and it came out awesome. I used 1/2 cup almonds, 3/4 cup sugar, a pinch of salt and one extra cup of water at the end. Other than those minor changes everything the same... delicious!!

Nigel Lovatt said...

Never heard of this until I saw the video. I gave it a try today and the family loved it. Many thanks.

Edward said...

@Malb
Any long grain rice will work and no, don't rinse it because it is the starch that contributes the rice component of the flavor to the drink. Rinsing rice removes quite a bit of the starch, which is sometimes desirable when cooking rice to make it less sticky, although sushi rice, for instance, is rinsed repeatedly give it a clean glossy look for nigiri and tekka maki. The rice wine vinegar and sugar it is flavored with makes it sticky again afterwards.

I haven't tried it, but naturally scented Jasmine rice might have an interesting flavor.