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A Tasty and Refreshing Rice-Based Drink:
Know the Mexican Horchata

Surely it will not surprise you, but rice is literally everywhere. This noble ingredient is the base for half the population’s diet, either partially or wholly and, even though Asia is its first and biggest producer and consumer, countries all over the world are increasingly welcoming both production and consumption of rice.

Rice value

Brown or white, rice has great food value as it contains minerals and proteins and, combined with the right ingredients, it’s a great source of vitamins. This has led to a great use of rice not only for lunch or dinner recipes, nowadays we find rice in snack bars, in side dishes, in desserts and more. Food companies are paying more and more attention to consumer’s needs when they ask for versatility, health and sustainability and they are constantly finding new ways to improve and create more and more options for all. 

Rice, in that sense, plays a key role as it is one of a very short list of ingredients that can be adapted for vegans or vegetarians and also for gluten intolerant consumers, just to name a few scenarios.

Are they all the same?

Rice types are varied and they may not seem so different, but chefs all over the world could easily argue in favor of some varieties when it comes to certain dishes. The difference lies mainly in the length and, consequently, in the starchiness. But it’s not only a matter of cooking or taste, it also has to do with the nutritional value each type brings to your chosen meal. 

Whatever type you choose, it is a fact that rice is filling and highly productive, just a fistful of rice could serve up to three people. And there’s no dish that is exactly the same as the other. Countries and cultures have found each a perfect way to adapt it and give it a twist to this popular ingredient.

Rice in Mexico

Tradition, textures, flavors, versatility and more, Mexico is on the top ten list of countries that welcomed this element and made it their own in more than one way. Rice in Mexico is kind of a key ingredient, the gastronomy staple, as it’s found in almost every dish and meal they take on a daily basis. In spite of not being originally from this country, Mexicans consume it just as if it was. Rice and beans, red rice and even Horchata, rice has found a way to become central in Mexican cuisine. And Horchata just may bring the surprise factor today, rice is no longer something you can only eat, but also something you can drink. That’s right, rice-based drinks are also very popular in the Central-American country, not to mention really easy to make and quite healthy.

Horchata is a traditional drink in Mexico, kind of the non-alcoholic rice-based version of tequila. And, amazing as it sounds, just a cup of rice can become not only your meal, but the drink that will go with it. As you’ll see, this is a sweet drink, but it’s the perfect match for your Mexican dish.

Horchata

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice.
  • 1½ of water.
  • 2 cinnamon sticks.
  • 1 cup of milk.
  • Vanilla extract.
  • Sugar.

Preparation:

  1. With the help of a blender, pour a cup of rice, one cup and a half of water and add two cinnamon sticks.
  2. Blend it all down and let the mix sit overnight (or at least for about 8 hours). You should plan this in advance to optimize the time.
  3. After that time, take the mix and strain it so that you lose all the rest of the rice grains you may have not crushed. Strain into a pitcher.
  4. Add two cups of milk and pour in some vanilla extract. Add some sugar if you like it sweeter.
  5. Stir and blend everything together and let the mix chill for a couple of hours before serving.

Extra tips

If you want to make a vegan version of horchata, you can replace cow milk for almond milk and use the same amount of it.

There’s a coconut-based version which is more easily found in Mexico even though the traditional drink is rice-based. In case you want to try out the coconut version, replace rice for coconut in the blender and make sure you strain it all out when the time comes.

Try it out and enjoy!

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