Tag Archives: vegan

Horchata

10 Feb

horchata

By Patric Baird

We live in lactose-intolerant times and producing viable alternatives to milk is big business, with almond, oat, soya and rice milks providing healthier equivalent to cow juice. Even if your gut is fine with the white stuff, who wants to pour a cocktail of pus, hormones and antibiotics on their Corn Flakes? Although not exactly famous for their vegan sensibilities, the Spanish have long been grinding up tiger nuts with water, sugar and cinnamon to produce horchata, the traditional form of a delicious beverage sold all over Spain and Latin America, although the Mexicans make their horchata with rice. Luckily for the nut-intolerant, these exotically named tiger nuts – or chufas, as they are known in Spanish-speaking countries – aren’t nuts at all, but actually the tiny wrinkled tubers of a sedge grass plant (Cyperus esculentus) found throughout the Western Hemisphere as well as southern Europe, Africa, Madagascar, the Middle East and the Indian Subcontinent. It’s well worth ditching the dairy for this healthy alternative – it’s rich in vitamins, as well as iron, potassium and other beneficial minerals, while low in sodium and saturated fat. My first experience of breakfasting on freshly pressed, chilled horchata and churros at a Valencian pavement cafe some years ago triggered an enduring affection for the drink and, while a simmering Spanish streetscape isn’t always available, I still enjoy the occasional cheeky horchata in the UK at London restaurant chain Wahaca, or can have bottles delivered by the Tapas Lunch Company.