Chef Bricia Lopez’s Horchata
A sweet, creamy Oaxacan recipe.
“My cooking is rooted in family, memories from my childhood in Oaxaca, and everyday life in L.A.,” says Bricia Lopez, partner at Los Angeles’s renowned Guelaguetza Restaurant and author of James Beard-nominated cookbook OAXACA: Home Cooking From the Heart of Mexico.
We’re honored to collaborate with Chef Bricia Lopez as part of our Chef in Residence program—a series celebrating diverse chefs, the traditions that inspire their work, and their personal take on food as medicine. Chef Bricia’s meal—a verdant herb-and-grain salad topped with a drizzle of her signature red mole dressing and paired with a smoky-and-sweet soup—can now be found on Signature Nutrition Program menus nationwide.
She’s graciously offering up another taste of Oaxaca with this recipe for a slightly nutty, subtly sweet, and deliciously creamy horchata (toasted rice water). According to Chef Bricia, the secret to this refreshing recipe—inspired by the one created and still served at the Mercado 20 de Noviembre in Oaxaca City—is using the most aromatic jasmine rice you can find.
“Even on your busiest of days, it’s part of daily life in Oaxaca to buy an agua or a nieve (Mexican-style ice cream) and take a moment to just sit, people-watch, and enjoy life along with it,” she says.
Take note and let this beautifully balanced sweet-and-creamy sip transport you to a blissed-out state-of-being.
- 1 cup white jasmine rice
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 6 cups room-temperature filtered water
- ¼ cup coconut sugar or agave nectar
- 1 cup chopped ripe cantaloupe
- ½ cup pecans, chopped
- ½ cup prickly pear syrup* (optional)
- In a large skillet under low-medium heat, add the rice. Toast until fragrant, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes. Let cool.
- Soak the rice and cinnamon stick in 1 cup of the water for 2 hours.
- Once softened, grind the rice mixture on your blender’s highest setting for at least 2 minutes until consistently smooth.
- In a large pitcher, combine the remaining 5 cups of water with the sugar and stir until the sugar fully dissolves.
- Strain the blended rice mixture through a cheesecloth or double-fine-mesh strainer into the pitcher and stir.
- Serve over ice, top with the chopped cantaloupe and pecans, and drizzle a bit of prickly pear syrup on top.
*Note: Prickly pears grow abundantly in Oaxaca and give the regional variation of this agua fresca its opaque pink hue. If not available near you, you can boil strawberries into a syrup and substitute with that.
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