Hola! Not so long ago I visited a mexican restaurant here in Los Angeles with some of my friends, and two of them got to try horchata water for the first time in their lives. For those of you who are not familiar with horchata, it is essentially rice agua fresca. The horchata was fine, a bit too sweet maybe, which made me feel like making my own at home to make it creamier and less sugary; but more importantly: make it pink. And no, this is not the type of "red-velvet-this" with food dye, back in my hometown pink horchata is really popular (I guess all over the country actually, but I don't know that for a fact), and it becomes pink with strawberries! So, as you can imagine, it is not only cuter but tastier. Tastier in a different way, I love regular horchata too, but I usually choose the pink "strawberries-and-cream-like" horchata. And if you fill an ice pop mold with it you'll have one awesome treat.
Before I share the recipe, horchata can be prepared in several ways and some ingredients come and go depending on your personal taste or recipe found. Some people skip the milk, others add a combination of evaporated and sweet condensed milk, others skip the cinnamon, and so on. I like the creaminess that comes with adding evaporated milk, but find that adding a whole can of sweet condensed milk makes it too sweet for my liking. I recommend using the ingredients you like and adjust the sweetness as you go. As usual, feel free to use any milk that suits your dietary/personal preferences.
- 5 cups water
- 3/4 cup milk (I used evaporated; any kind is fine)
- 1 cup rice (long-grain white)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar (I used brown and a bit of honey; any sweetener is fine)
- 1 cup strawberries (frozen or fresh)
- In a bowl, add the rice and cinnamon stick, then pour 3 cups of water or enough to cover it all. Let it soak for at least 2 hours.
- Add the cup of strawberries and the rest of the water to a blender, mix until combined. Place in a container and reserve in the fridge until rice is done soaking.
- After the 2+ hours, add the rice with the water and cinnamon stick to the blender. Add the rest of the ingredients: vanilla extract, milk and sugar. Blend together until the rice and the cinnamon stick are as broken down as possible.
- Place a mesh strainer over your pitcher and pour the rice water mixture, press down the leftover rice "pulp" to extract all the liquid.
- Clean the strainer of any leftover rice, then place it back on top of the pitcher. Pour over the strawberry water and remove the leftover pulp.
- Mix with a spoon to blend the horchata with the strawberry water. Taste and adjust sweetness to your liking. Serve over ice and/or chilled.
If you are thinking about those pink horchata ice pops, do make the mix sweeter so it can be more of a dessert. If you are drinking it along with food I wouldn't recommend adding too much sweetener; unless, of course, that is your choice. It is creamy but not thick, so it is pretty refreshing and easily served during lunch or dinner. With the added plus of helping out ease the burning sensation when eating spicy food. And to drop one more weird-useless personal fact, I can't drink horchata without ice, it just doesn't taste right for me; not sure if it has to do with something from my childhood or the sort. Anyways, enjoy a glass of pink horchata with your friends!