Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Horchata

The first time I really thought about cow milk (ew), I stopped drinking it. Even through my years of omnivorism and vegetarianism, I avoided cow milk. It's just ... gross. Because of this, I've tried lots and lots of cow milk alternatives. My favorite (for drinking): horchata.

My most prized vegan "take-out" style meal is potato tacos with horchata.

Pure. Vegan. Nirvana.

The day I realized horchata wasn't cow milk, but rice milk, was a happy one. But beware, if you are also a fan of horchata, you'll need to read the ingredients because some manufactures are adding cow milk to their horchata. Of-course, the best alternative is to make your own horchata. In light of all this, I was delighted to see a recipe for "Mexican Horchata" in The Joy of Vegan Baking. The recipe goes thusly:

Mexican Horchata
  • 1 cup long-grain rice
  • 4 cups nondairy milk
  • ¼ - ½ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • Ice for serving

Place the rice in a bowl and add enough hot water to cover the rice completely. Let cool, and then place the rice in the refrigerator and let it sit overnight.

The next day, drain the water from the rice. (The rice will still have some crunch/texture; it will not be completely soft, but that's fine.)

Place ½ cup of the rice and 2 cups of the non-dairy milk in blender, and blend until the rice is all ground up. Add the remaining ½ cup rice and the remaining cups milk, and blend for another minute. Finally, add the sugar to taste, vanilla, and cinnamon, and blend until the rice is all ground up and the ingredients are completely combined.

Strain through cheesecloth, a fine sieve, or a small strainer, and serve over ice.

Yield: 5 to 6 servings

Perhaps my water wasn't hot enough. Perhaps my blender was not mighty enough. Perhaps my fine sieve not fine enough or my small strainer not small enough, but this recipe went strangely awry. The flavor was awesome but the particulate matter in the drink was too much for me.

Don't get me wrong, all horchata has some floaties in it. That's part of what makes it so satisfying. But the floaties in the batch of horchata I made from this recipe made the drink too thick for me to enjoy. I don't want to have to chew my drinks. Then, the floaties decided to have a floatie convention at the bottom of the pitcher I stored it in and linked their little floatie hands to form some sort of industrial-strength rice clay. It was really gnarly. I barely got it all out of my pitcher.

So, next time I'll probably swing the pendulum as hard as I can the other direction and actually use fully cooked rice. That should help. Either way, horchata rocks. Try it!

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