What is horchata de morro?
It is part of the big family of aguas frescas (“fresh waters” in Spanish). The Salvadoran version called horchata de morro is prepared with ground morro seeds and is consumed all over the country. This drink is also prepared with squash seeds, white rice, sesame seeds, peanuts, cocoa beans, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander seeds and allspice. Sugar and vanilla extract are also added. This drink is very refreshing and nutritious. It is consumed by Salvadorans throughout the day.
How to make horchata de morro
All the seeds and the rice are roasted separately in a small pan or in the oven. They are then ground obtaining until a fine powder. This mixture can thus be preserved to easier prepare horchatas later. It should be kept in a sealed box. Then, water or very cold milk is added gradually until the drink is homogeneous. It is then filtered through a cheesecloth before sugar is added, to taste.
Ready-to-use mixtures are also commercially available to make horchata quickly and easily.
What is the origin of horchata de morro?
The word horchata comes from the Latin hordeata, derived from hordeum which means “barley”. This drink, already consumed in Ancient Egypt, became popular in Spain during the Muslim conquest. From the city of Valencia, the recipe for horchata finally won the New World. It is made with white rice and cinnamon instead of tiger nuts as in West Africa and Spain or from local tree seeds such as morro.
What is morro?
The morro seed comes from the tree of the same name, also known as jicaro. This tree grows in dry climates and gives round and hard fruits, it is the seeds of this fruit which are used in the preparation of the horchata de morro.
What are the benefits of horchata de morro?
With such a concentration of seeds and grains, horchata de morro is a healthy, mineral-rich drink. It is rich in vitamins C and E. It is a significant source of magnesium, phosphorus, calcium, iron and potassium. It also contains antioxidants. It facilitates digestion thanks to its enzymes. In addition, horchata de morro can be made with water and not milk, so it can be consumed without problems by lactose intolerant people
What are the other versions of horchata de morro?
The horchata de Valencia or horchata de chufa is made with dried and sweet tiger nuts (a nut, or rather a tuber known as a superfood). This drink is also consumed in Nigeria and Mali where it is known as kunnu aya.
Horchatas can be prepared with vanilla or various fruits.
In Spain and Latin America, horchata de arroz is prepared with rice and sometimes vanilla or cinnamon. In Alvarado, Mexico, people perfume this drink with suchil flowers.
There is an alcoholic version in Venezuela called chicha andina. The non-alcoholic version is called chichi.
There are also versions of the horchata prepared with sweet melon seeds (cantaloupe), jicaro seeds, cocoa or, as in Ecuador, with 18 herbs infused, which gives it a slightly pinkish hue.
Horchata is also used as an aromatic agent in many desserts such as ice cream, sweets, cakes or cookies.
- 1 lb morro seeds
- 1¼ cup white rice
- ¾ cup golden sesame seeds
- ¾ cup peanuts (without skin)
- 1 cup squash seeds
- ¾ cup cocoa beans
- 4 tablespoons cinnamon powder
- 2 whole nutmeg
- 6 tablespoons coriander seeds
- 5 whole allspice berries
- Sugar (to taste)
- A few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
Roast all the ingredients separately, taking care not to burn the rice.
The roasting time is different from one ingredient to another and can be done in an oven, in a pan or on a hot griddle.
Mix all the ingredients together in a food processor until obtaining a fine powder.
It is important to mix them dry (without adding water), as the powder for the horchata can be kept to prepare the drink later and it will last longer, because all the ingredients will maintain their natural moisture.
It is also recommended to keep the ground mixture in an airtight container which will keep the aroma longer.
Add very cold water or very cold whole milk to the previously prepared powder.
Add 1 tablespoon for ½ cup of liquid (water or milk).
Add the natural vanilla extract (optional).
Stir for 1 minute.
Filter the preparation through a cheesecloth.
Sweeten according to taste.