I am a scientist who loves to cook because there are many similarities between working in a lab and cooking in a kitchen. I love to share my cooking experience with you and to inspire others to cook.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Rice Milk/Horchata

My aunt used to make Rice Milk whenever she visited us and that was my first time trying rice milk. Before that, I have never associated rice as a beverage since it was more common to have soy milk and cow milk.

Then a few years ago, my friend introduced me to a neighborhood Mexican restaurant and we ordered rice milk, also known as horcharta. I fell in love with this drink and since then, I have always ordered horcharta at every Mexican restaurant that I ate at.

I always find the restaurant Horcharta over-sweetened and either too thick or too thin. Also, many horchatas that I tried were made from instant rice powder that tasted artificial. Therefore, I have decided to make my own rice milk as inspired by my aunt.

The first time I tried making rice milk turned into a disaster and I learned a few tips which I would like to share with you.

(serving: 4 glasses of rice milk, could be more or less depending on your preferred consistency)

1 cup of rice

(many recipes suggest long grain rice, some use Basmati rice. I used medium grain Botan rice, just because this is the rice that I eat. My point is, if you already have rice at home that you use, there is no need to find the exact kind of rice. I think any rice will work unless you are a purist/traditionalist).

Cinnamon power
vanilla extract

Sieve/Cheese Clothe

                         Thanks CL for the gift of this blender

1. Mix 1 cup of rice with 4 cups of water.
2. Blend the mixture at high speed until most of the rice particles are broken down into tiny bits.
3. Let this mixture sit at room temperature for 30-60 minutes.

                                                          Unfiltered rice milk

4. Filter the rice milk through the sieve/cheese clothe or in my case, an oil screen http://foodmolecule.blogspot.com/2011/09/salmon.html
5. Heat the rice milk under low heat for about 10 minutes, stir occassionally
(At this point, you will see some gooey cooked rice forming)
7. Turn off the heat, filter the rice milk one more time.

This is essentially the finish product. What's left is adjusting the consistency of the rice milk to your preferred consistency. If you want a thick rice milk, return the rice milk to the heat and keep simmering but if you want thin consistency, simply add more water. Next, add sugar to sweeten the rice milk. You can consume this rice milk when it is hot/warm/cold. Again, entire up to you. Also, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a splash of vanilla extract right before consumption rounds out this drink. 

How is my Horchata compare to restaurant-version? First thing that I noticed is that my homemade rice milk is rice color, which is translucent white. It is not "creamy/pearly white" like the ones in the restaurant, which is a sign of artificial coloring. Second, the rice flavor does shine in my homemade rice milk unlike the restaurants' which are over-sweetened or tasted artificial.

One last thing, I am surprised how little rice milk a cup of rice grain yields, which is not a lot. If you want one week worth of rice milk for a party or for yourself, you might need at least 5-6 cups of rice.

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