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


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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