It's been four months since our trip to Oaxaca in Mexico. The charming colonial city is a fascinating place with a real love and appreciation for food.
It is full of teeming markets, their stalls selling anything from tamales, chupalines (fried grasshoppers), handmade ice-cream to popular drinks such as Horchata de Arroz -- a refreshing drink made using rice.
Oaxaca is also dotted with cooking schools usually run by local B&Bs. We took a class at Casa Crespo run by the charming owner, Oscar. The class began with a tour of a small market and brief lesson about the local ingredients.
Once back at Casa Crespo, the lesson began accompanied by some ice-cold cervesas. We made the best guacamole and salsa I've ever tasted, quesadillas stuffed with zucchini blossoms and string cheese, zucchini blossom soup, Trout with a toasted pumpkin seed sauce, Oaxacan chocolate ice-cream and the delicious Horchata de Arroz.
The heavenly drink tastes like a rice pudding. It's made of ground long-grain rice, water, evaporated milk, cinnamon and sugar. Just before serving it's mixed with small, succulent pieces of rockmelon (cantaloupe) and garnished with slivered almonds.
Before tasting the drink, I was a little skeptical about the addition of rockmelon. And while the rockmelon is not necessary (the drink tastes great without it) the combination is very complimentary.
Horchata de Arroz Recipe
(yields 48 fl oz/1½ l)
1 cup long-grain white rice
2 cups water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tsp of cinnamon
½ cup sugar
2 cups of cold water
1 can of evaporated milk
½ cup of diced cantaloupe
2 tablespoons of slivered almonds
- Soak the rice in 2 cups of water for an hour.
- Place the rice and its soaking water in a blender, along with the vanilla, cinnamon and sugar. Blend the mixture for 1 minute and then pulse for another 40 seconds.
- Strain into a pitcher. Add 2 cups of cold water, the evaporated milk, diced cantaloupe and chopped almonds.
- Stir well and serve over ice.