When I arrived in Valencia, with no guidebook and little clue as to what to do, I saw a sign advertising horchata. Oh, I thought. Now I remember why I’m here! 

As a relatively recent foodie, I have very little culinary knowledge. My initiation to horchata was through a song from Vampire Weeekend. ♪ In December, drinking horchata; I’d look psychotic in a balaclava

Horchata

My Impression of Horchata

At first taste, I instantly thought the drink was old. Not that it was sitting out or tasted bad. But the experience of drinking it just seemed…traditional. But actually, horchata de chufas (made with tiger nuts, as it is here in Valencia) is an old drink. It dates back to when the Moors were in Spain.

I can see the appeal of the drink here, though. It’s refreshing. And being in the Mediterranean—everything is about being refreshed.

Recipe for Horchata de Chufas

I didn’t snag some sort of authentic, top-secret recipe, but mashed up the one below from here and here.

Ingredients: (serves 4)
9 oz (a little more than a cup) chufas
1/2 cup sugar
1 quart of water
1/2 of a cinnamon stick (optional)

  1. Clean and rinse the tiger nuts very well. Rinse them under running tap water if necessary. Remove and discard the bad ones.
  2. Soak them in plenty of cold water for 12 hours. Double check the tiger nuts that float on the surface because they are usually bad.
  3. Drain them. Rinse them again and check again for bad ones.
  4. Add the chufas and 1 glass of the water to a blender or food processor to grind them into a soft paste.
  5. Slowly add the rest of the water. Mix well. Add in the cinnamon stick and allow it to rest for 2 to 3 hours.
  6. Sift through a cloth filter. Sieve it again if you need to. It should be free from any impurities. My drink was pure milky white.
  7. Add the sugar and mix well.
  8. You now have a fine, milky liquid that can be placed in the fridge to be served cold. Or you can also serve the horchata in slushy form (which I also saw…but didn’t try) as you would ice-cream. Simply put it in the freezer, stirring occasionally so it doesn’t freeze solid.

And then dip your churros in it. Yumm!

If you end up making it, let me know and send in a photo! I’ll add it to this post.

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46 comments

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  1. M. Paloma

    Does anybody know where in Cape Town, South Africa one can get Tigernuts (chufa) to make Horchata? I have it whenever I am in Spain as I love it.

  2. Well, I can’t claim to be a horchata fan and I can’t even say I have many friends who are but I’m glad you liked. To me it’s like cold stale ovaltine but each to his own. At least you drank it in a great city!

  3. Well, I can’t claim to be a horchata fan and I can’t even say I have many friends who are but I’m glad you liked. To me it’s like cold stale ovaltine but each to his own. At least you drank it in a great city!

  4. Well, I can’t claim to be a horchata fan and I can’t even say I have many friends who are but I’m glad you liked. To me it’s like cold stale ovaltine but each to his own. At least you drank it in a great city!

  5. Adam

    Wow. Thank you so much for sharing your story, Mrogles. Glad to hear you're okay, though. Chufas are a type of nut from what I understand, so I can see how people may be allergic to it.

  6. Mrogles

    I am from spain and love Horchata de Chufas. Have had it during my childhood. Yesterday, I made horchata after many years and I ended up in the hospital with a severe allergic reaction to them, my under-eyes got extremely swollen, closing up my left eye and nearly closed the right one. My throat started to close in, I couldn't breathe. Just be very careful with Chufa.

  7. So horchata is Spanish? Always assumed it was Mexican. It's all over California taquerias. And we used to have to make it by hand at the last restaurant I worked out. So laborious, but so delicious.

    Thanks for the history lesson!!

  8. Pingback: Weekend Update: 5/22/10 | LivingInTransit

  9. It's a very popular drink in Latin America as well and has it's own variations. I had a great one in Mexico that also added coconut milk which made it very creamy.

  10. Adam

    Yeah I'm not so sure about that, but apparently Angela's Cafe in East Boston (see comment above) serves it. It's always more fun to make it yourself, though.

  11. Adam

    ¡Si, muy bien!

  12. Adam

    Thanks for commenting!

    “Smooth” is definitely a word I'd use to describe it.

  13. Adam

    haha! I'm going to take every chance I can to put good music into my posts.

    And I can't believe how well you know me!

  14. Adam

    Thanks for commenting Nick!

    Two Canadian girls I met recommended the place to me (it was recommended to them from their Rick Steves' guidebook): El Siglo. It's right off Plaza de Virgen—a pretty popular spot.

    I'll have another post soon about things to do in Valencia. You should have a great time!

  15. Adam

    I'll have to try that!

  16. Adam

    chufas are tigernuts! some kind of nut, from what i understand, that grows in the Valencia region. Same as oranges!

  17. Adam

    Yeah, horchata is really popular in Central and South America but I think it's a different recipe.

  18. Adam

    Thanks Jeannie!

  19. Love Vampire Weekend! And now Horchata! Cute post, A. :)

  20. Love Vampire Weekend! And now Horchata! Cute post, A. :)

  21. I love horchata! They have it in Guatemala as a frequent street food and it’s a great way to cool off :-) I feel like the cinnamon though is a necessity…it’s so sweet of a drink that I need that extra bit of flavor!

  22. I love horchata! They have it in Guatemala as a frequent street food and it’s a great way to cool off :-) I feel like the cinnamon though is a necessity…it’s so sweet of a drink that I need that extra bit of flavor!

  23. Not surprisingly, horchata is huge in California. I think it’s even better than a Corona with Mexican food…

  24. Not surprisingly, horchata is huge in California. I think it’s even better than a Corona with Mexican food…

  25. Not surprisingly, horchata is huge in California. I think it’s even better than a Corona with Mexican food…

  26. Not surprisingly, horchata is huge in California. I think it’s even better than a Corona with Mexican food…

  27. Eli

    Look down your glasses at that Aranchiata, man. Every since I heard that song I’ve been dying to try horchata. But my question for you is, what the heck is chufas?

  28. Nick

    Great post, I’m allergic to nuts unfortunately but I’m going to Valencia in September. How did you find it and where can you recommend exploring?

  29. Nick

    Great post, I’m allergic to nuts unfortunately but I’m going to Valencia in September. How did you find it and where can you recommend exploring?

  30. Eli

    Look down your glasses at that Aranchiata, man. Every since I heard that song I’ve been dying to try horchata. But my question for you is, what the heck is chufas?

  31. As soon as I saw the title of this post on Twitter I KNEW you were gonna talk about Vampire Weekend!

  32. As soon as I saw the title of this post on Twitter I KNEW you were gonna talk about Vampire Weekend!

  33. Living in Southern California, we eat (and drink) a lot of Mexican food… and horchata is my favorite. It kind of tastes like a smooth, milky, liquified rice pudding. Make sure to constantly mix it up or else the sugar and cinnamon sink to the bottom.

  34. Living in Southern California, we eat (and drink) a lot of Mexican food… and horchata is my favorite. It kind of tastes like a smooth, milky, liquified rice pudding. Make sure to constantly mix it up or else the sugar and cinnamon sink to the bottom.

  35. Alison

    I had a Horchata at Angela’s Cafe in East Boston and it was fab. The ones in Valencia are probably even MORE fab, si?

  36. Sounds delicious, but I’m not sure where I would get the chufas here.

  37. Sounds delicious, but I’m not sure where I would get the chufas here.

  38. yummmmmmmmm I think I drank this exact thing when I was in Spain last year! But my friend who bought it for me to try was German and didn’t know the correct name for it! I loved it! oh and I also love Vampire Weekend!
    I hope your having a great trip so far! :)

    • Adam

      It was good, wasn’t it? I kinda wish I tried the slushee version, though, because it looked good, too.

  39. yummmmmmmmm I think I drank this exact thing when I was in Spain last year! But my friend who bought it for me to try was German and didn’t know the correct name for it! I loved it! oh and I also love Vampire Weekend!
    I hope your having a great trip so far! :)

    • Adam

      It was good, wasn’t it? I kinda wish I tried the slushee version, though, because it looked good, too.

  40. juan

    Adan,
    Por fin demostraste que si estas en España. Gracias por la receta y ojale que te a ido bien chico. Seria una lastima que no pudiéramos ver donde visitaste y que viste. Bueno hasta el próximo comentario…

    Juan

    • Adam

      Thanks Al! More posts to come on Valencia. Just having a hard time uploading photos.

  41. juan

    Adan,
    Por fin demostraste que si estas en España. Gracias por la receta y ojale que te a ido bien chico. Seria una lastima que no pudiéramos ver donde visitaste y que viste. Bueno hasta el próximo comentario…

    Juan

    • Adam

      Thanks Al! More posts to come on Valencia. Just having a hard time uploading photos.

  42. Alison

    I had a Horchata at Angela’s Cafe in East Boston and it was fab. The ones in Valencia are probably even MORE fab, si?

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