Horchata is so nice. It is so sweet and milky yet light and refreshing on the palate, it has the flavor of Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and it makes me doubly happy because I associate it so strongly with Los Angeles. My recent trip there was not complete until I had a cupful of homemade horchata from Huarache Azteca in Highland Park. Mmm.
In Spain, horchata is traditionally made from chufas, a small, nutty, oily tuber that really sounds quite nice, but I have never seen any horchata de chufa in America (and I have looked). Horchata can also be made from barley or oats, and in Mexico and Los Angeles it is almost always made from rice – and often blandly translated as “rice milk.” It is so much more.
The horchata I had in LA only made me crave it more, but as far as I know, it doesn’t exist in Racine. So I decided to make it myself. I got this recipe of the internet and tweaked it a bit – I wanted to make almond horchata, because I hear it approximates the taste of horchata de chufa – and it was a great success. ¡Viva horchata!
Horchata de Almendras y Arroz (Almond and Rice Horchata)
1/2 cup rice
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
5 cups water
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
1/2 cup honey
1/2 cup milk or half-and-half
- Pulse the rice and almonds in a blender until they are well pulverized, but not powdered.
- Pour in water and vanilla and let sit for at least three hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain liquid through a cheesecloth or nylon. Return liquid to blender after rinsing it out thoroughly.
- Add all other ingredients and blend until homogeneous. Pour into a pitcher and chill. Stir before serving.