Monday, July 26, 2010

Recipe Friday: Rice Milk

My apologies for this not being posted on Friday. I did not do something right for the auto-post thing to happen like it was supposed to. 



Being of the lactose intolerant variety, I have had to avoid dairy for years. I did not know that rice, soy and the plethora of other milk alternatives even existed until I was in college. Even then I did not have them often as they're often more than a little pricey on a student budget. A couple of years ago I sat drinking some chai tea with vanilla soy milk while watching birds through the front widow of the apartment in St Louis when I thought to myself, "You know, this stuff exists commercially for a reason. There have to have been humans in general in various cultures worldwide who had to find alternatives to dairy so it had to exist non-commercially before that, right?"




And so I began searching the net for recipes, of which I found and tested several for rice and nut milks. I would like to try my hand at soy milk, but have not yet sourced the appropriate beans for doing so as I'm quite content with my rice and nut milks. This is my favorite recipe for rice milk and is my non-dairy starting point for many milk-based drinks and other recipes which do not require a rich flavor or higher fat content to taste good. The rice milk resulting from this basic recipe is much thicker than any you would get in the supermarket; it can be thinned considerably and it can also be spiced, sweetened or blended with other 'milks' to suit your recipes and personal preferences. It also has no additives unless you put them there so it will taste different from commercial rice milk, which is usually sweetened and has added salt. 


Basic Easy Rice Milk
This recipe, with no additions or alterations, makes one quart.

Ingredients
1 cup cooked rice, brown or white (leftovers are fine)
3 cups water

Variations to this recipe are very easy to do. Here are a few or my suggestions:
2-4 tablespoons honey or equivalent amount of sweetener of your choice
2-4 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of cardamom or ginger
dash of salt and 2-4 tablespoons curry-type seasoning (for making curry sauces occasionally, though I find nut milks to work better for this purpose)
few squirts of hot sauce (works well for use in soups)
1/4-1/2 cup powdered cocoa + 1 teaspoon vanilla extract added to sweetened rice milk (serve cold for chocolate milks or heated with added marshmallows and a little coconut oil for hot chocolate)

Instructions

1. Cook rice.
Using this rice cooker, my rice is usually done in 30-50 minutes.

You can choose either white or brown rice as your starting point. I prefer white rice as I find the final product has a smoother texture and does not have the brown flecks that would be present when using brown rice. Leftover rice is fine for use in this recipe and because a batch only uses 1 cup, I find that I can make a batch after dinner very easily with leftover rice.

2. Measure coked rice and water into blender and whir until everything is liquefied.
Rice and water all measured out and ready for whirring.


3. (optional) Measure add-ins and blend into the rice milk.
I added a few tablespoons of this along with some cinnamon, cardamom and honey to make one of my favorite rice drinks.


4. Pour into quart jar and store in fridge.
Rice milks ready for use! Left: With added horchata mix and spices  Right: plain with no add-ins  Middle: 1/2 spiced and 1/2 regular mixed and ready for immediate consumption!

You may strain your rice milk using a couple layers of cheesecloth if you so wish. I find this to be unnecessary for most applications, but if I were making something that required an extremely smooth texture I would do so.





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