Thursday, 6 February 2014

HORCHATA: Mexican rice milk flavoured with vanilla and cinnamon

A little something I created especially for the Valentines week!

The year was 1997. I was a chubby and gawky 11-year-old. And  there I was sitting wide-eyed, an awkward smirk lurking on my lips, right in between my uncle and his girlfriend (who is now his wife) watching Shah Rukh Khan bobbing his head to Chand ne Kuchh Kaha. I do not remember anymore what propelled my uncle to take me on what I think was a date with his girlfriend, but yes I accompanied them to Priya to watch  Dil To Pagal Hai and yes that's when I heard of this day called Valentine's Day for the very first time in my life .

That year it was all the rage at school. We waited for February 14 with animated excitement. Ours was a girls' school, a convent at that, and so it was going to be nothing like an American high school drama but we were excited nonetheless. The few of us who already had boyfriends by now or at least claimed to,  had promised to share their Valentines Day stories with us and those of us who were still single were convinced that we would find our love on Valentine's Day. Stupid as we were, we had greeted every teacher a Happy Valentine's Day in unison in the typical singsong manner in which we wished them a good morning, afternoon, evening and while some of them were big sports and others wished in return our wish with slight awkwardness, one Mrs C told us in her immaculate English and voice like steel, that we had no clue what V-Day was and that she wouldn't tolerate such nonsense in class.  

Anyway, I do not know about others, but I didn't find my love on that Valentine's day or for many more to come and when I did find him it was not on Valentine's Day, but that's another story. Anyway, I am not a huge V-Day buff, I mean for me life itself is a celebration of love but I have no problem at all if we have a mandatory, designated day when your spouse/ girlfriend/boyfriend feel totally obligated to shower you with gifts and flowers and chocolates. In fact I quite like it. As I write this post my guy, in his office cubicle,  is probably racking his brains and biting his finger nails off planning a surprise for me, panicking as the day nears. Sales reports and targets do not get you killed.

And I love the thought.

So, talking of love I thing it is very very important to express your love. And you can express your love the best in the language you know the best. And I think for me it's food. Cooking for my loved ones is my way of showing my love for them and I thought this week, as a run up to V-Day I'll bring you 7 dishes that will set to romance quotient to the sexiest high. How? Well these seven dishes have as their ingredients some of the best APHRODISIACS (Nature's love pills) known to man.

I did a little research and came up with a list of aphrodisiacs which will be the main ingredients in our dishes this week. Yes of course there's chocolate but there are several others and some quite surprising
1. Honey
2 Cinnamon
3. Almonds
4. Walnut
5. Vanilla
6. Banana
7 Avocado
8. Beetroot
9. Mustard
10. Garlic 

 So here's to LOVE, SEX AND MAGIC

 HORCHATA: Drink to love


And when we're toasting love, we need a killer drink. So the first recipe for the Valentine's Special Series is Horchata OR Orxata, or simply Mexican rice milk. In fact, Orxata is quite popular across Latin America and there are a myriad versions. This one is loaded with the goodness of almond, the sensuous comfort of vanilla and the heady aroma of cinnamon — together they make for  an aphrodisiac-overload.

Now the recipe


Long  grain rice - 1 cup
Almonds (blanched and skin removed) - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1 cup or to  taste
Water - 4 +4 cups
Cinnamon stick - 2 inch (broken into smaller bits)
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Cinnamon powder -  to dust as garnish


Wash and rinse the rice well. Then, in a bowl add rice, cinnamon sticks and blanched almond and add 4 cups of water.

In a blender grind well  the mix of rice, almonds, cinnamon stick and water.

Pour the mix back in a bowl and add another 4 cups of water. Keep it for at least 6 years, best over night.

Now, blend the mixture in batches in a food processor until it is as smooth as it can be. Then carefully strain it through a cheese cloth or a very fine sieve.

Stir in the Vanilla extract and sugar and chill.

Serve on the rocks with a dusting of cinnamon powder. In fact, I used cinnamon flavoured ice cubes.


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