Horchata de chufas

Spanish horchata de chufa. Creative Commons license, Wikimedia.


I’ve posted a good bit about the huge family of drinks that go under the name horchata. Hence I was delighted when long-term Facebook friend, Stanford Chiou, put me on to this piece on the science of horchatas by Arielle Johnson.

“On a molecular level, horchata-making is about grinding, soaking and blending rice, almonds, seeds, chufas, etc. to encourage their fat, starch and/or protein molecules to migrate into the water you’re blending them with, and to float there as a thickened, milky-creamy mixture known as a suspension. Suspensions with especially tiny particles, like horchatas, will remain in this floating, opacified, viscous state indefinitely.

Starch, protein and fats each interact with water a little differently, leading to differences in the suspensions they form. This means that the texture of a given horchata will vary depending on its base ingredient. Fat molecules, in their pure state, are loath to mix with water and will separate into distinct layers like a broken vinaigrette.The fats in nuts and seeds, however, are fitted with tiny coats of protein, which is much happier to mix with water. These coated fat droplets, known as oil bodies, create an especially thick mixture called an emulsion.”

Source: Your glass of horchata can be a lot more mysterious than you think – LA Times


A fairly complete list of my posts on horchata. I have a bulging file of other historical notes and other ingredients.


Agua Fresca 7: Barley water

Agua Fresca 9: Horchata, the Mexican Rice Version

Tisane, Orzo, Horchata and Orgeat: Part of the Tangled history of Agua Fresca

Agua Fresca 11: Horchata de chufa

Chufa (Cyperus esculentus) again

Agua Fresca 12: Horchata de cebada (barley)

Agua Fresca 14: Horchata rosa

Agua Fresca 17: Agua de horchata de semillas de melon

Agua fresca 18: Venezuelan horchata de ajonjolí

Agua fresca 20: Latte de mando

Agua Fresca 24: Nigerian horchata and the diffusion of Islamic cuisine

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