Sunday, July 05, 2009

Cilantro Horchata

It's that time again: Weekend Wokking time!

We knew we couldn't miss an edition of Weekend Wokking, and since the ingredient was CILANTRO (a favorite), we doubly couldn't miss this edition. It's a tough ingredient, for sure, for how does one make cilantro the star of a dish?

So, what to make?

It seems like our energy levels the past few weeks have been dipping considerably, and we seem to be "very busy" for unknown reasons, but we didn't want to just phone this one in. So, we thought something simple, yet something that's still a little unique, was in order.

We present to you, Cilantro Horchata!

Actually, I believe our first idea was a rice pudding, but we were even too lazy to make that.

Oh, by the way, JS has just made a groundbreaking discovery as to our dipping level of energy. Ready for it?

It's Dexter!
Well, Dexter and age!

We've had the first season of Dexter on DVD for the longest time, purchased at Costco so long ago, and finally decided to watch it. We finished the season in three or four nights, staying up until only 2am or so. So, we decided to test fate. After discovering that Costco did not have Dexter for sale, I bought Season 2 via Amazon. We had about 5 days of rest before Season 2 arrived, and so were very cocky.

We watched Season 2in a mere two nights, staying awake until 4-ish (ok, 5-ish) in the morning. Holy, that took its toll! That was a week ago, and it seems the two of us are still paying for it. Age!

Good thing there's quite a bit of time before Dexter: The Complete Third Season comes out on DVD. ;D

Back to our horchata.

Cilantro Syrup

The cilantro portion of this item comes in syrup form. I made simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water), and steeped cilantro stems from a few bunches of cilantro in it.

After an overnight stay, they were strained out, leaving me this amber-y simple syrup.


When one refers to "horchata" in North America, they usually refer to the Mexican rice-based horchata usually flavored with cinnamon. For Asians, think "rice milk".

To make the horchata, I soaked some rice in water overnight. The next day, I buzzed the whole lot in a blender with more water until liquified.

At first, I strained the mixture through a coffee filter, but found that it strained out all the rice sediment! It left me just water, more or less. So I simply strained everything through a fine sieve.

The resulting drink was a tiniest bit gritty, and had to be stirred occasionally. Any tips on how to prevent the rice and the water from separating?

Oh yes, that is our cilantro plant. Our garden is in a state of... non-growth, let's just say. Everybody's bolting in there! So yes, our cilantro plant is now flowering, not yielding any leaves for us to use at all. I used the flowers as garnish for our cilantro horchata.

As for the flavor of the cilantro horchata, it certainly was refreshing and cilantro-y. Although, I believe that, as in all things cilantro, it is probably an acquired taste. =)

If Wandering Chopsticks and Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok (the host for this edition) will indulge us, we have one more cilantro entry for Weekend Wokking coming up (tomorrow's post)!

update: Our second entry is posted!
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak

eatingclub vancouver Weekend Wokking posts:
Ravioli "Caprese": Tomato, Basil, Bocconcini
Eggplant "Clafouti"
Pumpkin Congee w/ Pumpkin "Beignets" & Sesame-Roasted Pumpkin Seeds
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese w/ Pipián Verde
Adobo Mushroom Tart
Duck and Orange Crêpes with Orange-White Wine Sauce
Almond Eggplant "Bisteeya" (Bastilla)
"Mashed Potato Beef Burger" (Red-skinned Potato Salad in Taiwanese Sacha Cheeseburger)
Korean Soybean Sprouts Pancake (Kongnamul Jeon)
Lemon Chamomile Tiramisu
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Clear Oxtail Soup with Corn, Cabbage and Potatoes
Beijing Pickled Cabbage
Salsa Romesco ("Queen of the Catalan Sauces!")
Aguadito de Pollo (Peruvian Chicken Soup)
Bangus Belly à la Bistek (Milkfish Belly with Onions, Calamansi and Soy Sauce)
White Pork with Garlic Sauce, Two Ways (蒜泥白肉)
Mr. Zheng's Soupy Tomatoes and Eggs with Tofu (蕃茄雞蛋跟豆腐)
Steamed Fish and Tofu with Chinese Black Beans
Spinach and Cheese with Puff Pastry, Three Ways

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eatingclub vancouver Mexican
Tacos... then
Tacos... now
Chicken Tortilla Soup
Semi-Lime-cooked, Semi-Yucatecan Shrimp with Garlic Chips
Chicken, Broccoli and Cheese with Pipían Verde
Quickie Turkey Tortilla Soup
Tacos of Carnitas with Pineapple, with Roasted Salsa and Sweet Potato
Shrimp a la Mexicana (Camarones a la Plancha)
Enchiladas Verdes
Cilantro Horchata
Strawberry Cilantro Salsa, on Grilled Flank Steak
Mexican Ancho Guajillo Chicken
Chipotle Ground Turkey on Flour Tortilla
Tacos... again (July 2009)
Tacos al Pastor with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Tacos with Beer-braised Carnitas Filling
Shredded Beef and Tripe Tacos
Duck Enchiladas with Chipotle Peanut Salsa
Blueberry Tres Leches Cake
Crab Tostada
Homemade Mexican Chorizo Sausage
Torta (Mexican Sandwich)

eatingclub vancouver Beverages, a selection
Matcha Latte (Japanese Green Tea Latte), Hot and Iced
Caffè Latte with Almond Milk
Cilantro Horchata
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Turkish Çay (Turkish Tea)
Squash Churros with Orange-Sage Hot Chocolate
Avocado Shake

Cilantro Horchata
Makes approximately 1 liter (1 quart)

Cilantro Sugar Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
cilantro stems, 2 to 4 bunches

1 cup raw rice
1 1/2 cups water
4 cups water

Make the cilantro syrup by simmering the sugar and water in a small saucepan until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the cilantro stems to the syrup and steep, minimum 1 hour, or overnight. Strain out the stems and set syrup aside.

For the horchata, soak the rice grains in the 1 1/2 cups of water overnight, covered. The next day, place soaked rice and liquid in a blender and process until very smooth/liquified. Add the additional 4 cups of water. Strain though a fine sieve while chilling in the refrigerator. Stir well before serving.

Individuals can add cilantro syrup to taste, or simply mix together the syrup and horchata in a pitcher and serve.

We're submitting this recipe to Weekend Wokking, a world-wide food blogging event created by Wandering Chopsticks celebrating the multiple ways we can cook one ingredient.

The host this month is Darlene of Blazing Hot Wok.

If you would like to participate or to see the secret ingredient, check
who's hosting next month.

Check out
all Weekend Wokking Roundups.


  1. This looks wonderful, a great idea, if I ever get my hands on that much cilantro! I've heard that the flowers pervent the leaves from growing, so you should get more leaves soon. But I've never been able to grow cilantro for more than a week.

  2. Its like a horchata and a spicy lassi had a baby.

  3. This is such a great idea - and quite clever too!

  4. This sounds so unique to me but elegant.

  5. How come you ladies are always so inventive? I looove the idea of a cilantro horchata!

  6. Oh, and I can't wait to see what else you come up with regards to cilantro. I know what you mean about being lazy though. Gotta do my own entry!

  7. This is a really interesting, creative idea. I'd never heard of a cilantro horchata before. Great idea to garnish with the cilantro flowers, it looks beautiful!

  8. The flowers on the drink look beautiful!

    As for the separation of the liquid, that is as expected. I don't recall ever seeing the drink without that "effect".

  9. taste traveller:
    Our plants have bolted... Will probably get seeds soon, although I've never tried getting seeds from a fresh plant before.

    maybelles mom:
    Haha... it's their love child.

    Everyday Cookin':
    Thanks! =)

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Gotta warn people about it eing an acquired tast, though. Hehe. =) Or, its "controversial" taste (as you put it).

    Fearless Kitchen:
    Thank you! Since our cilantro plant didn't really give us much leaves, I thought it might as well provide some other use!

    Thanks! I was wondering how to garnish it; putting cilantro leaves in it just seem silly. =)

    Oh, OK... so there's no magic trick to stabilize the drink. Good, it's not an "epic fail"!

  10. oh my, the drink is so beautiful. nice photography. I am so envious of your blooming cilantro plant!

  11. I know a few people who hate cilantro but I really like its taste. Sounds like a natural addition to horchata.

  12. noobcook:
    Haha... but then, that means it's going to die soon (the plant). =)

    Cilantro is the best! I have to fight the urge to try and convert cilantro-haters.

  13. Never seen cilantro flowers, they're just adorable!

  14. Simply gorgeous! I'm a fan of cilantro too compared to parsley (except Italian flat parsley). What I learnt from my favorite Almond Milk seller when I was young, he used the traditional Chinese granite grinder to grind the almond meal before adding water and cook it. Maybe this technique can be apply to this Horchata. Of course, the large granite grinder is the problem... unless, if using the Indian traditional granite grinder. You know, the one with large tubular granite rolling pin and a rectangular granite flatbed :-D

    Btw, your cilantro flowers floating on your horchata reminded me of Snow Crystals!!! It's making my brain can't think how to solve the horchata problem :-D

  15. can't add much more then what's been said already--ingenious and great use of all the ingredients!

  16. I never know that cilantro flowers are so pretty! great post!

  17. Cindy:
    Ravenous Couple:
    Thanks! =)

    Thanks for the info! Man, I knew we needed some sort of specialized equipment for this! Hehe... Although, if I'm not mistaken, I think there are perhaps some home grinders available... I just don't know from where!


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