A taco joint in Brooklyn, NY where amazing ingredients, fresh tortillas and delicious tacos are just the beginning.

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Smooth Smooth Horchata

horchata.jpg Smooth Horchata was not something we just culled from some recipe book and viola we had our dream Horchata. This is an amalgamation of many recipes and much trial and error. We're finally happy with it, of course now the weather is all wrong, but put it somewhere in your summer recipe files. (the real deal, no condensed milk, no dairy . )

Y: ~1qt by volume

Ingredients:
50 g Short Grain Rice (Sushi Rice, most call for long-grain, this worked best for us)
13g Steel Cut Irish Oats, or similar
1g Ceylon Cinnamon (or a whole stick ~ 3")
1g Cassia Bark Cinnamon (usually comes in pieces, a few pieces)
½ Whole Fresh vanilla bean, split and seeded
1g Green Cardamom Seeds, removed from pod (they look like mouse poo, get over it)
50g Blanched Almonds
670g Water (+70 - 150g in simple syrup at end to taste, more if you want to thin a bit)
1g Lime Zest, zest a whole lime
70g sugar 1 -1/2 Ceylon Cinnamon Stick at end (new one)

Notes on Spice Weights: We make a batch about 12x this size for our restaurant and event needs, yielding about 3 gallons. You can't scale down or up the spice amounts and achieve the same results. It takes far less spices when scaling up than you think, but it becomes increasingly difficult to get it in smaller batches. So, this small batch, you'll find will really have a wham bam of spices.

The larger batch is more refined in flavor. You can scale everything in this recipe up by 12 except the spices, here's the weights of the spices scaled up: 7g Ceylon Cinnamon, 7g Cassia Bark Cinnamon, 1 whole vanilla bean, 10g green cardamom, 16g Lime Zest, 2 more Ceylon cinnamon sticks at end.

Notes on Procedure: Read the entire recipe before doing the recipe. Seriously, we know it's long, but it really does take a little effort to get this right.

Equipment:
soaking container; glass or plastic pitcher
whisk
ladle
blender; preferably Vita Mix
extra fine cheesecloth or very clean white t-shirt (to sacrifice)
spice grinder
paring knife
scale; (digital is best! )

Procedure:

  1. Weigh out the rice and the oats.
  2. Using a Vita Mix (or coffee grinder), grind the rice and oats in two batches into a medium grained powder - with the Vita Mix on high, about 30 seconds. If you don't have a Vita Mix, use a spice or coffee grinder in small batches. Put into the soaking container.
  3. Bring half of the required amount of water to a boil. By the time you've finished the steps in the following paragraph, the water should be ready.
  4. Weigh out the cinnamon sticks and blanched almonds. Wrap the cinnamon sticks in small amount of cheesecloth and tie with a string for ease of retrieval. Add to the soaking container - no need to grind these. If you bought cardamom pods, remove the seeds from the pods. This is best accomplished with a small tipped pair of scissors, cut down the middle of the pod, shake or scrape each one out. Add the cardamom seeds to the soaking container. Cut the vanilla bean in half, then in half again lengthwise. With the dull edge of a paring knife, scrape out the inside of all four quarters. Start from the narrow end of the bean and move the knife towards the wide end. Add the vanilla seeds and the scraped pod to the soaking container.
  5. Pour the boiling water into the soaking container and mix thoroughly so that there are no clumps.
  6. Now add the second half of the required amount of water which is at room temperature. Mix again, cover and set aside for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight.
  7. Remove cinnamon sticks from mixture.
  8. Take the mixture in the soaking container in proportional batches (2/3 liquid, ⅓ settled ingredients - we use a slotted spatula to get the settled stuff and a ladle for the liquid) and buzz again in the Vita Mix on high for about a minute or two (each batch), or until the texture of the sediment is very silky, almost like clay slip.
  9. First Pass: Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer, no cheesecloth this first time. If you have difficulty getting the liquid to strain through in the first pass, take a ladle and put it into the strainer and pump the ladle quickly, up and down like a plunger, so that the liquid drains through.
  10. Press the resulting mash with the ladle to get additional liquid out.
  11. Repeat the straining and grinding method at least two times to catch as much of the grit as possible.
  12. The Final Pass: Line a clean, just rinsed in warm water fine mesh cheesecloth or t-shirt into your fine mesh strainer. Repeat the previous blending and passing process with this in place. As you get towards the end of the batch, re-puree the sediment that has been captured with some of the already passed liquid. In addition, if the sediment still looks too large and grainy, you can buzz it again in the Vita Mix with some liquid until you reach the desired silky consistency. The sediment remaining in the cheesecloth should be fairly minimal in proportion to your yielded mixture. It should feel like a slightly damp clay slip or wet fine grain sand.
  13. When you're done straining, put the additional water, sugar, lime zest and whole cinnamon into a pot on the stove and heat it up. Constantly stir until all of the sugar is dissolved. Cool this mixture over ice or until warm to touch. Strain the sugar mixture (to remove the zest) into the main batch. Throw the whole cinnamon back into the main batch as well.We leave this sitting at room temperature overnight or for at least 6 hours.
  14. Finally, after resting, it is ready to serve and will be at its peak flavor over the next day and a half. Be sure to mix the liquid with a ladle or large spoon before serving. You can thin it a bit more to your liking. We added about 1/10 more water and found it perfect.
Next time, what to do with all that leftover horchata:waffles, ice cream, oh my!