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Horchata – drink up!

Homemade Horchata

Homemade Horchata

I’ve had several requests for this trendy Mexican beverage. Traditionally made with rice, it’s a good keeper as a street drink since it contains no dairy. This particular recipe uses almonds, too. I prefer using the cinnamon stick, but ground cinnamon (give it the sniff test to make sure it’s still real flavorful) is OK, too.

6 tablespoons long-grain white rice

1-1/4  cups whole blanched almonds (I’ve made it with slivered almonds, too)

1 teaspoon cinnamon or 1” cinnamon stick or to taste

About 1 cup sugar or substitute or to taste

Pulverize rice in blender or spice grinder. Transfer to a large bowl and add almonds and cinnamon. Stir in 2-12 cups hot tap water, cover and let stand for at least 6 hours. Purée in blender until no longer gritty, about 4 minutes. Add 2 cups water, then blend for few seconds more. Set large sieve, lined with 3 layers of dampened cheesecloth, over mixing bowl. Pour almond-rice mixture in, a little at time, stirring gently to help liquid pass through, and then gather up corners of cheesecloth and squeeze out all liquid. Add 2 cups water to strained liquid and stir in sugar to taste. If too thick, add water. Cover and refrigerate. Stir before pouring into glasses.  Adapted from ‘‘Authentic Mexican,’’ by Rick Bayless

Health Tips from Rita’s kitchen:

Rice is the main ingredient in cuisines around the world. I’ve not made this yet with brown rice, but I’m going to try. Have you? Brown rice includes lots of fiber, complex carbs, B vitains ad helps reduce cholestrol, lower risk of colon cancer and helps keep digestion regular.

Cane sugar vs beet: I always use cane, which I think is better for you, even though, yes, it’s sugar….

Caitlin Steininger’s Horchata with lactose free dairy
The photo above is Caitlin’s horchata.

Caitlin is a dynamo when it comes to developing recipes that are unusual and, yes, soooo good. Here’s one she made recently for the National Dairy Council.  Check out Caitlin’s site for more doable recipes at Cookingwithcaitlin.com.

Also, go to National Dairy Council’s site for Caitlin’s horchata video: Dairy Food Tips and Tricks for Entertaining Guests who Experience Lactose Intolerance

Makes 5 Servings
Prep Time: 5min
Cook Time: 180min
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Ingredients​1 cup uncooked white rice
3 cups warm water
2½ cups fat-free (or low-fat) lactose-free dairy milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. cinnamon
2/3 cup white sugar
Blend together the rice and warm water in a blender and transfer to a resealable plastic bag. Let sit at room temperature for 3 hours.
After 3 hours, strain the rice from the water with a fine mesh sieve. Combine the water with the milk, vanilla, cinnamon, and sugar.
Chill and serve cold.

Caitlin’s tips:

Note with alterations the nutritional values will be affected, including lactose content
**This may be made up to a week in advance if stored in an airtight container and refrigerated.
**Enjoy this throughout the day all by itself; or, play with it. Use the horchata as the star ingredient in a panna cotta recipe, or offer it alongside homemade cookies for dipping. Stir it into warm oatmeal, or pour it over rice cereal for a sweet, quick breakfast. Or, infuse the horchata with black tea and serve it hot or cold as an afternoon pick-me-up.


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