Hooray for Horchata!

Horchata

If I’m going to turn on the TV, it’s likely that I’m watching the Food Network.  I love food and I enjoy getting to see all the different ways ingredients can be used to make good home made food.  I also get ideas when I see a traditional recipe.  My mind just goes there… I start thinking about how I can tweak it to make it healthier, gluten free, dairy free, sugar free, etc…

While I was watching last week the show “Mexican Made Easy” came on.  Ok… so I enjoy food… and I really enjoy cultural food, like authentic Mexican food.  The host of the show caught my attention when she started talking about a traditional drink called “Horchata.”  A creamy, cinnamon, sweet drink made out of rice that’s best served cold over ice.  With this heat we’ve had, that sounded perfect.  Her version was a quickie recipe using oats and dairy milk, so I went on the hunt for the original, which she said was made from rice and almonds.

I found number of recipes for this drink and I tweaked it to make it hypoallergenic, yet keeping its deliciousness!  It’s like a vamped up rice milk or almond milk…depending on how you look at it.  🙂

This drink is rich, sumptuous and flavourful.

I have to admit… this recipe will require some patience and presence when in the final stages.  I’ll explain later.  But creating recipes with heart and attention makes everything taste better!

HEALTHY HORCHATA

Note: before starting be sure blender is large enough to contain 2L of fluid.  If not, blending may need to done in batches.

*BEFORE BED PREP:

Start with 1 cup rice (any rice will work – I used short grain white rice, but brown, basmati, etc. would work)

Place rice in a spice grinder and grind it down as fine as you can get it.  Most spice grinders are small, so I ground my rice up in 3 batches. This will likely be like a corn meal consistency or slightly larger.

Combine ground rice, 2 cups almonds, 1 cinnamon stick and 3 1/2 cups of warm water in a bowl and let sit overnight.

These ingredients don’t need to sleep through the night to have it all work out.  If prepped during the day, it just needs to sit for minimum of 8 hours.
*AFTER SOAKING:

I fished out the cinnamon stick (now soft) broke it up and threw sticks plus the soaked mixture into my blender.  Blend.

Add 2 1/2 cups of water to mixture.  Blend.

**NOW THE PART THAT REQUIRED PATIENCE!

This mixture needs to be well strained to get it creamy.  Every recipe site downplayed this part!  🙂  It takes time, not an extensive amount of time, but the outcome is worth it!

STRAIN mixture… This is what I did.

Most recipes recommend a stainless steel strainer for the first strain and double layer cheese cloth for the second strain… I started out doing this and the metal strainer just got clogged up.

So… went to my old faithful… I used my NUT MILK bag!

FIRST STRAIN – though the nut milk bag

SECOND STRAIN – poured the mixture over a double layer of my nut milk bag  (I like pouring into a sauce pan… no reason, just my receptacle of choice).

Once I poured out a little, I squeezed out the liquid with the double layer nut milk bag.  I did this in batches to minimize clogging the mesh, so I would wash off the surface particles between pouring. Patience, a smile and some TLC required.

THIRD STRAIN – not mentioned by other recipe sites… but I found the liquid still slightly grainy.  I really wanted to get the liquid very smooth and creamy.  This third strain was easy through the double layer nut milk bag, and it just took away the last little bits.

*CHILL:

Add 2 more cups of water, 1/2 cup maple syrup and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract to the strained off Horchata liquid.  Combine well.  Yielded just over 1 L of Horchata.  Transfer to pitcher and chill in fridge until ready to drink.  This drink will keep in the fridge for 4 days.

My Finished Horchata - Hooray!

… And look-ie what we have here!  I did it!  I had a beautiful, smooth, delicious glass of Horchata for my afternoon pick me up.  It was ice cold and dreamy!

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