Just as we round off Cinco de Mayo weekend, we may still be thinking about horchatas, concha, and beef tacos. I have been thinking about horchatas and the fact that I never found them appealing until now. What could you do with tea other than sip it hot under a blanket or drink it with ice on a warm sunny day? Horchata is generally known as a Spanish and Mexican milky cold drink blended with raw rice. The rice sits in the liquid for hours so that the fine starch particles can soak up the water and create a viscous beverage. My version is Japanese due in part to the sushi rice I used as well as the tea, Genmaicha which is made from the leaves of Bancha tea, brown rice, and popped rice kernels. I thought, well, if I'm going to spin this classic around I better use a tea that makes sense like one with rice in it.
Genmaicha is classified as a Japanese green bancha tea that has been picked a few weeks after the first tea harvest. The first harvesting of the tea's plant would be considered the sencha tea leaves. The Gemaicha has course bancha tea leaves and toasted grains of rice with a few popped kernels per handful. Wafting the dry leaves will immediately get you envisioning yourself snacking on buttered popcorn with the initial aroma of a toasted butter. While the tea steeps, you will notice the aroma loosening up a but due to the dilution from water, but it still holds strong in flavor. When sipping Genmaicha you taste toasted rice as if you were parching some in hot oil for risotto, however there is a grassiness that comes forward too. The longer you steep the more intense the flavor and color will be, so while steeping at the appropriate temperature of 190 degrees for maximum 3 minutes, you should see a light minty green color appear. This is a great detoxing tea when you're feeling a cleanse or after eating stuffed Castella pancakes or super sweet Custard Fish.
2 Cup Water
2 T Genmaicha Tea leaves
1/2 Cup+ 2 T Sushi Rice
3/4 Cup Coconut Milk
2- 3 T Honey
1. Bring water to 190 degrees and add the loose Genmaicha tea leaves. Let steep for 1-3 minutes. Let tea cool down before adding rice.
2. When tea has cooled, add raw sushi rice and blend in blender until course. Let sit for 2 - 3 hours and strain liquid through sieve leaving rice bits behind.
3. While liquid is sitting, fry 2 tablespoons of sushi rice in hot oil until they pop into mini kernals. Transfer to paper towel to soak up any leftover oil. Set aside.
4. After a few hours, blend honey and coconut milk into tea liquid until smooth and frothy.
5. Add ice cube and kernels to the Genmaicha Horchata and drink through a straw in a sassy tall glass.
Make Genmaicha tea ice cubes instead of using regular cubes that will dilute the drink. Make tea as you would above and pour hot into prepared ice trays. You can purchase cube shaped rubber ice trays at any home goods store.