Monday, February 15, 2010

Homemade Horchata (Mexican rice drink) mix

Happy Birthday Face! This is one of my son's favorite drinks. It seems like a perfect post for his birthday and for Mix Monday.
Sometimes, as a kid, we had to drink re-hydrated milk. I don't know if it was the fact that my brother the Professor went through a good two gallons a day as a teenage boy and threw off the family food budget with his baby cow-like ability to suck down the moo-juice, or what. I just know that usually by the end of the week, we had a couple of days of the dry stuff...until pay day. It is what it is, right folks? You do what you have to do to make it work. That is why, I thought I would bring you something kind of cool that I have learned down here in Arizona. It's a delightful drink that helps us stretch the food budget a little.
Admittedly, before I lived in the Arizona surrounded by wonderful Hispanic friends and neighbors, I had never heard of this drink. If today is the first time you've ever seen it...don't feel badly. It's a wonderfully fresh and light tasting drink that reminds me of all the comforting cinnamon-vanilla flavors of joy in rice pudding...except not thick, and not lumpy. It also doesn't take 3 hours to bake in a slow oven. In's pretty much instant. I like to keep a good supply of the mix in my food storage area. Why? Well, my kids love it. Ace, my husband, drinks it by the gallon (and it saves my food budget since he'll drink it instead of gallons of milk). The perk...I can also make it without milk by using soy milk in place of the milk powder, so it's a nice all around family pleaser. Now I can't drink makes my eyes puff up like I stuffed marshmallows under my eyelids. We've talked about that lovely picture before. The nice hot Arizona thing about this drink is that it is served chilled over ice...and it's fantastic.

Here's the deal...if you don't live in the Southwest, it may be hard to find the pre-made mix. If that is the case, you can still make the mix and try it out. If you have a grain mill, you will first need to make some rice flour. Instant rice flour can be made using uncooked still dry "minute rice". The rice starch is pretty much cooked so it will be nicer to your grain mill. If you don't have a grain mill or access to the instant rice flour, I have included a link that you can purchase it online. It's about two bucks. Two. Not bad. That makes a boat load of mix dude. If you want to get gourmet lookin' you can put 1/2 of a vanilla bean and a stick of cinnamon in the mix instead of using the vanilla/ground cinnamon. You'll need to remove the bean and stick when you mix up the drink to serve it. The advantage to that is that you will have a nicer flavor and be able to use that vanilla bean to flavor sugar later on. My only advice is to store the mix about 3 weeks before you use it in order to give the vanilla bean and cinnamon stick a chance to work their magic. If you use the ground cinnamon and regular vanilla, it's ready right away.

The Horchata mix:

For a 1/2 pint jar (one cup plus 1T) that will store and be yummy for about 2 years
yield 2 quarts of prepared drink:
3T dry nonfat milk powder (or dry soy milk powder)
2T rice flour
3/4 cup sugar (or spoonable natural xylitol/ or not natural...splenda)
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp cinnamon

Combine well in a bowl and put in a pint size mason jar. Seal with directions for long time storage, or just put in sandwich size bags for more "everyday" use. It will depend on your family needs.
Pint size mix (yield 1 gallon drink)
6T dry non-fat milk
1/4 cup instant rice flour
1 1/2 cup sugar (or "spoon able" natural calorie free xylitol/or not natural"spoon able" Splenda)
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp cinnamon
To prepare 2 quarts:
Combine mix with 1-2 cups warm (not hot)water and a whisk in a 2 quart pitcher. When combined well, add cold water, enough to equal 2 quarts. You need to chill for about an hour, or serve over ice.

The company recipe reads:
Blend a cup of milk mixed with 2 tbsp of Tres Estrellas Rice Flour, a cinnamon stick and 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Straining all thru a fine colander, mix everything together in a 2 QTS pitcher with water; add ice and sugar to taste. Serve and enjoy! (You may substitute condensed milk instead of regular milk and sugar).

There is also this Certified Organic Horchata Mix by Maria Elena's Aguas Frescas that's about 4$ for a mix that makes 1 1/2 quarts of drink. I think if you make your own mix from organic ingredients...I'm just saying. It could probably be made much cheaper. You can use fructose instead of sugar. You can sweeten it with stevia or xylitol for a 100% natural alternative that is low in calorie. What do you think? I'm giving you some ammo here.
There you go.


Heffalump said...

I have a friend who is vegan who I think would like this. I just have to figure out where to get powedered soy milk in this small town!

word verification=cookey

Rachelle said...

I have been craving me some horchata. I can't wait to try your mix, because frankly that stuff in the store is not cheap.

mlebagley said...

I LOVE HOrchata! Super excited about this post!

Anonymous said...

Silly question....but is this liquid vanilla extract....or is there a ground version of vanilla? :) Thanks - Holly

Chef Tess said...

Yes, liquid vanilla. You can use vanilla bean paste instead, or keep a whole vanilla bean in the dry mix for a couple of weeks. All methods work.