Last week, I offered up a little tutorial on making your own horchata, or spiced rice milk agua fresca.
While this creamy, sweet refreshment is traditionally made with long-grain white rice (and can be made with any number of other ingredients including basmati or jasmine rice, nuts, seeds, etc.), a recent experiment with just the opposite—short-grain brown—yielded surprisingly delicious results.
The flavor of this brown rice horchata is not extremely different from its white rice counterpart. You’d expect some of that earthy, nuttiness to come through in the final product, but I found it to be very subtle, and not too different at all from the classic.
A small splash of vanilla adds a comforting warmth and brings the flavor even closer to its authentic variation. Be careful with the cinnamon—I soaked mine for a few days and found that, without removing the stick, it lent some bitterness.
Brown Rice Horchata
Yield: 1 quart; 4 (8-ounce) glasses
1 cup short-grain brown rice
4 cups distilled water
1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons raw sugar, plus more to taste
Place rice, water and cinnamon stick in a covered container and refrigerate overnight.
Pour all ingredients (soaked rice, water, cinnamon stick, and vanilla) into a blender and pulse to break up rice and cinnamon. Blend for several minutes, until rice is finely chopped and liquid is cloudy.
Pour through a wire sieve and/or layer of cheesecloth into a quart jar or small pitcher. To get the most out of your horchata, spoon the chopped rice pulp into a stretch of cheesecloth, pull the edges up to encase it and squeeze the liquid into your jar or pitcher.
Add sugar, stir until dissolved and taste. Add more sugar until horchata reaches your desired sweetness.
Serve over ice or refrigerate up to two weeks. Horchata tends to separate as it sits, so give it a good stir or shake if it’s been a while since you had a glass.
Originally published for PK4 Media.