Have you ever heard of Horchata de Chufa?

imagesI didn’t before Jackie de Oliveira at the IWP July 2015 lunch was telling us about a drink called Horchata de Chufa (Orchata in Portuguese) and singing its praise. Surprised that no one had heard of it, she told us that it was sold on street stalls in Spain and she loved to drink it and how refreshing it was in hot weather. We asked the waiter and he had vaguely heard of it but they didn’t sell it.  Jackie said it was made from a nut that grows in the ground and it is a milky white nonalcoholic drink.

I wrote the name down and the wonderful internet gave me the information.  It is a drink made from tiger nuts.  Horchata is the drink in Spain. Chufas (or tigernuts) are the brown edible nuts like tubers that come from the root of the nut sedge plant.

What is it?

The name comes from the drink and the tigernuts hence the Spanish name horchata de chufa. The drink is white, milky and served iced cold.  It tastes distinct from anything you’ve ever had. It tastes like almond with a sweet, starchy, and bang flavor.

It gives you a rejuvenating feeling like nothing else you’ve ever drank.

Horchata does wonders for your health. High in unsaturated fatty acids which are good for your skin hair, and mood.

It is healthy? The nutrients are from the chufas (or tigernuts) which are 25% fat, 30% starch, and 7% protein. They are also rich in fibre to boast your metabolism and increase your energy.

tiger-nutsThe key ingredient of this drink, tigernut, is grown in the Community of Valencia in eastern Spain. Tiger nuts were introduced to the area by the Moors. This drink is a specialty drink in the region.  To make the horchata, chufas have to be grown and harvested, cleaned, and a 3-month period is needed to dry them.  Then the chufas are ground, mixed with water, sugar, and sometimes lemon juice before the filter process to become horchata.

I remember eating tigernuts as a child in the UK and enjoyed them very much. We could buy them from a jar in the sweet shop. It is many years since I have seen them.

Below, Lauren Rothman’s recipe for home made Horchata de Chufa

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup tiger nuts, covered with water by 2 inches and soaked for 24 hours at room temperature (see note)
  • 4 cups hot (not boiling) water
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • Ground cinnamon (for serving)

DIRECTIONS

  1. 1.

    Line a fine-meshed sieve with a double layer of cheesecloth and set it over a deep bowl. Drain tiger nuts and add to blender. Add hot water and blend on high speed until homogenous and almost smooth, about 2 minutes. Carefully pour blended nuts through cheesecloth-lined sieve. Gather ends of cheesecloth together and squeeze out remaining liquid.

  2. 2.

    Add sugar and salt to horchata and whisk together. Cool completely, then transfer to a bottle or container and store in the refrigerator for up to one week. Serve horchata over ice, sprinkled with cinnamon.

Tags: Chris Rola | Chufa | Horchata | Spain

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