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Failure: Horchata


"In December drinking horchata, I'd look psychotic in a balaclava"

Vampire Weekend's new song Horchata got me wanting to brew some up. Unfortunately, I hated it. The main question is, did I fail, or do I just dislike horchata? I am going to be in NY next week, so I will seek some out and get to the bottom of this! Have any of my readers tried horchata? Did you like it?

Long grain rice rinced and dried.

Raw almonds, blanched for 45 seconds just to help peel easily.

The rice ground to powder in my spice grinder.

Steph and my mom helped peel the almonds. I was busy cooking Vietnamese food (T.B.Posted Friday).

This sat overnight with a peice of cinnamon.

The next day in dramatic lighting.

After you blend it it's super frothy and delicious looking. Don't let it fool you!

Pancakes anyone?

This is the gross hard rice leftover.

After the above picture, I added sugar and vanilla to the mix.  This was barely in the glass long enough for me to take a picture of it. I threw it away so fast! I REALLY did not like it at all.

I'll let you guys know if I like Horchata when I try it next week at a restaurant. It wasn't even the recipe I choose, because a bunch of recipes I saw were pretty similar. The texture was gritty and pasty. I strained it with a cheesecloth that was folded over many many times, so I can't see how I could strain it any better. And even without the grit, the taste was still pretty rough.


Oh no, how disappointing! I LOVE horchata, and I've never had it where it was gritty. I've never made it myself, and can't imagine what else you'd do differently since your method sounded pretty thorough, but I'm glad you're going to give it another try. It's really delicious.

Sorry! Usually horchata is awesome, especially when cinnamon-y. I concur with Kelly, i've never actually had gritty tasting horchata, but have also never made it.

I've had store-bought horchata and didn't really care for it. I thought it was too sweet and it had the consistency of semen, making it even less of something I want in my mouth.

The few times I've had horchata it's been at cheap mexican food restaurants while hung over. I really liked it but I have no idea what they put in the stuff. There was definitely some spices involved. I'm pretty sure it wasn't just rice and almonds.

Oh! I grew up in California where the Mexican food sings..and yes, Horchata is delightful. Definitely try it in NY and you will see the deliciousness, I swear. PS your photos have improved a lot, they look awesome!

You need to add cinnamon and sugar to it, you can also add more water if it is too thick.

There is something similiar from Puerto Rico called Fresca Avena, which is made with oatmeal.

I love horchata. There is this place in Chicago that serves it hot, right from a window on the street. Well, that was over 10 years ago. Didn't you try the horchata I made at my Mexican party in 2008? I didn't love it - too much effort for what you get in the end. I will still happily buy it though when I see it at restaurants.

It might have been the 2007 Mexican party... but you were here then too.

what's the stuff that people make by chewing something, I think it's rice, and then spitting it out and letting the spit ferment into a pink alcoholic drink? I think i saw bourdain do it in peru....? I thought that's what this was at first. You should find out and make it!!!!

greatlin refers to chicha. I don't know why you chose the recipe you did, but I can't remember ever having horchata with THAT much almond. I suspect the almond overload, not the rice, is the reason it didn't turn out as you expect. Horchata is a little grainy, but shouldn't be pasty. Hope you find some good stuff in NY.

here's my recipe for horchata. it's is absolutely delicious. you can also add in rum if you want to have some alcohol. sorry yours didn't turn out very well. our recipes are very different, so maybe this is more what you're looking for!

2 C Uncooked Long Grain Rice
16 C Warm Water
1 TSP Ground Cinnamon
2 & 1/2 C Milk
2 14 ounce Cans of Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 TSP Vanilla

Mix the rice and warm water together in a large bowl and let stand for 1/2 hour. Reserving the water, drain the rice and place in a food processor. Add the cinnamon and process until a paste forms. Return the rice to the water and let stand for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Strain the rice through a fine strainer. Stir in the milk, condensed milk and vanilla. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with ice.

I love the stuff! I've never tried to make it though. I agree with susan, add rum, or I like vanilla vodka.

oh, perhaps i should be a little more specific with the end of the recipe:

Strain the rice through a fine strainer (i just used a mesh colander), reserving the liquid. Add the milk, condensed milk and vanilla to reserved liquid. Refrigerate for 2 hours. Serve with ice (and rum at this point if you like!).

I haven't had horchata in several years - not since I lived in Mexico - and have never tried to make it. I liked it when I lived down there - it was very cool and refreshing, but it has a unique taste. It was not gritty really, maybe a little powdery at the bottom but not gritty.

The secret to great horchata is....Coconut milk! I went to Columbus'(ohio) Latino festival this summer and tried horchata for the first time, and when I asked how to make it they gave me a list of ingredients, coconut milk being one of them. Also they did not grind the rice, but let it sit in the water overnight with 2 cinnamon sticks. After you strain it you mix the rice milk with a can of coconut milk and a little vanilla. No grit and it doesn't need any added sugar because the coconut milk adds some sweetness. I was a little skeptical at first but you should definitely try it this way!

You should take rice and soak it in water overnight. THe next day you blend the rice with part of the water and a cinnamon stick. After blending it until it is fine. Strain through a cheese cloth. Add another pitcher of water to the gritty stuff on top of the cheesecloth to get enough of the flavor out. I usually strain mine a few times.
Add a can of sweetened condensed milk to sweeten it. And thats it! Growing up in Leon Mexico we drank Agua de Horchata A LOT!!! Enjoy!

I have had horchata made from rice before and loved it. I have not had it made with beans and don't think I would like it either if it were gritty. But I think I really like it because of the cinnamon taste. Love Cinnamon!
I have also bought a bag mixed from the latin store and liked it as well.
I have just discovered your blog by the way and love the pictures and the name and everything.

First of all, I was just randomly checking your blog, and I love it!
Secondly... Horchata is a typical Spanish drink (from Valencia - East Coast) and the regular one is not made from rice or almonds... but JUST tiger nuts ^^ (probably you can google it).
Apart from that, I do not like horchata at all, and the suggestions of adding cinammon to it looks more to "leche merengada" (milk+cinammon+lemon), also for the summer.

Cheers!! ^^

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