If you are looking for healthy summer drinks, this incredibly delicious and refreshing horchata deserves a place on your must-try list. This easy-to-make milky drink is naturally sweet, velvety and so tasty you’ll want to enjoy it all day long. Another great thing about matcha horchata is that you can make it either vegan or vegetarian, with or without sugar, and add other ingredients to tweak the flavor.
The traditional Spanish horchata made with tiger nuts, rather than rice, served as an inspiration for this matcha horchata recipe. It’s creamier than rice horchata and you can make it with 3 ingredients only. Besides, there are many good reasons to include these small nutrients-rich tubers into your diet.
So, what exactly is horchata and why should you try it?
What is matcha horchata?
Horchata is a milky drink made of rice, almonds or tiger nuts. It’s popular in Latin America and Spain. Different countries will use a different base ingredient. Spanish horchata is made with tiger nuts, while Mexican horchata is usually made with rice. Base ingredient will have a strong impact on the flavor and texture, making each horchata unique.
Matcha horchata is made with all the original ingredients, plus matcha powder. Since horchata has a color similar to regular milk, adding matcha will not only give a beautiful green color, but will add all the potential health benefits of matcha tea as well.
Is horchata a milk-alternative?
Horchata is a type of milky drink, but it’s technically not a milk alternative, especially if you add a creamer or some other type of milk. It’s usually denser and thicker than milk alternatives and often contains additional ingredients, too. Common addons are cinnamon and vanilla extract, evaporated milk, sugar or regular milk. However, to make a basic Spanish horchata with matcha you’ll only need 3 ingredients – tiger nuts, water and matcha powder. Tiger nuts are naturally sweet, so sugar is optional.
Difference between Mexican and Spanish horchata
While both drinks are refreshing, they are slightly different. One is typically made with rice, while the other is made with tiger nuts. The process differs slightly too. Both rice and tiger nuts need to be soaked first, but the water from soaking the rice is usually not discarded, while the water from soaking the tiger nuts is. Next, rice will have a less creamy texture, so adding milk or a creamer will improve it. Tiger nuts are already creamy enough, so you don’t need to add any other ingredients.
Spanish horchata with tiger nuts may provide a myriad of benefits and is a wonderful alternative to a dairy milk.
What are tiger nuts?
Although called “nuts”, tiger nuts are technically small tubers, rather than nuts. They are rich in fiber, healthy fats, starch and protein, many minerals and vitamins, amino acids and flavonoids. They contain a high amount of omega-6 fatty acids, and their oil content is similar to that of olive oil . Tiger nuts are available from specialized shops and can either be peeled or unpeeled. You can eat them raw as a snack, but they are most commonly used for making a delicious and refreshing horchata. These small tubers have a very interesting nutty and naturally quite sweet flavor.
Tiger nuts may be especially good for people with diabetes or those who want to improve digestion, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol .
Is horchata vegan?
Horchata is not always vegan by default, because it can contain some type of dairy, such as condensed or evaporated milk or regular milk. Spanish horchata is often vegan, though, especially if you make it at home. Some Spanish horchata recipes may include milk too.
You can make it vegan without losing consistency and flavor:
- Reduce the amount of water to get a denser and creamier texture
- Add a non-dairy creamer or milk
Ingredients for making Matcha horchata
Water – always choose filtered water with no odor. This matcha horchata is a water-based drink, so the water will influence the flavor.
Tiger nuts – you can use either peeled or unpeeled tiger nuts. Soak them overnight before making horchata. While you can use different tiger nut to water ratio, it’s best to use approximately 3.5 ounce of tiger nuts per cup of water. The more tiger nuts you use, the better the texture will be. If you plan to add a creamer or a milk, you can reduce the amount of tiger nuts.
Matcha powder – use high-quality matcha powder that’s vibrant and fresh. Tiger nuts have a nutty and sweet flavor that goes well with a deep and intense flavor of matcha powder. Both ceremonial grade matcha and an all-purpose matcha will be a brilliant choice. Powders with sweeter and deeper umami notes may work better than intensely grassy teas.
Sugar – Tiger nuts are naturally very sweet – sweeter than almonds or rice, so sugar really is optional. You can replace sugar with a sugar alternative or use honey instead. Authentic Spanish horchata is always sweetened and, in fact, it’s much sweeter than regular milk alternatives.
Steps for making Matcha horchata
Soaking the tiger nuts – always soak tiger nuts overnight. It doesn’t matter how much water you use as long as they are all covered in water. You will discard the soaking water later.
Blending and straining – use a blender or food processor to blend tiger nuts with fresh water. You want to blend them well so it’s easier to extract the milk. If you want to add other ingredients such as cinnamon or flavor extracts, add them now. The best way to strain it is using a cheesecloth.
Adding matcha – there are two ways to add matcha to horchata – by either preparing matcha using one ounce of hot water, whisking it with a chasen and stirring it into horchata, or stirring it directly into horchata and using an electric hand frother to blend it. Making matcha with hot water could potentially increase the benefits and intensify the matcha flavor.
Serving and storing – Store horchata in the fridge for up to 24 hours. It’s best served over ice. If the matcha settles on the bottom of the jug, simply stir it before serving.
Matcha Horchata Recipe
- 4 oz tiger nuts
- 9 oz water + 8-9 oz of water for soaking
- Sugar – optional
- ½ teaspoon of matcha
- Soak tiger nuts overnight.
- Strain and discard all soaking water.
- Add soaked tiger nuts and fresh water into a blender and blend for a couple of minutes. Pour horchata into a clean jug. Add sugar if needed.
- Sift matcha into a clean cup, add 1 oz of horchata, use an electric hand frother to mix it well, pour it into the jug and stir.
- Serve over ice.