I love making drinks. Besides brewing espressos, teas, and tisanes, I enjoy creating syrups for lemonades. Occasionally, I brew beers and have experimented with water kefirs in the past. One of my favorite pursuits is making faux milks. Among my top picks are almond, soy, cashew, and hemp milk. But the milk alternative I love the most is tiger nut milk, also known as Horchata de Chufa. As a young kid, I couldn’t get enough of it during our family holiday in Spain’s Valencia region. The taste of Horchata de Chufa is sweet, almondy, and has a unique thick creamy mouthfeel.
Interestingly, I used to believe this milk was made from almonds, but a few years back, I discovered it’s actually made from Tiger nuts, also known as Cyperus esculentus or Chufa in Spain. A tiger nut is a small, tuberous root vegetable with a sweet and nutty flavor. Curious to know more, I delved into the processing and cultivation of tiger nuts and learned that they were also used as fish bait, apparently loved by carps, and considered magical for fishing enthusiasts to improve their catch rate.
Driven by curiosity, I decided to order some of these “fishy carp nuts” and gave them a shot in a Horchata de Chufa recipe, but with way less sugar than usual and replacing the Valencia DOP Chufas with the fish nuts.
Here’s the recipe I used:
1. Wash 250 grams of tiger nuts thoroughly and let them soak for 12 hours.
2. Wash the soaked tiger nuts again and blend them with approximately 400 grams of water until finely blended but not too fine.
3. Strain the blender content through a sieve, letting the milk drip into a pan or large jar.
4. Once the dripping stops, return the pulp back to the blender, add enough water to make it liquid, and blend again.
5. Repeat step 3 and 4 until you have 1 liter of milk.
6. Clean the blender and pour the milk back in.
7. Add 40 grams of sugar and blend again.
8. Cool the milk in the fridge.
9. After cooling, it’s time to enjoy! So, how did it taste?
Well, this Tiger nut milk tasted absolutely delicious! It brought back the nostalgic sensory experience from my childhood.
However, I didn’t consume much of it. Just a tiny espresso cup full. Fueled by excitement, I decided to inquire with the supplier of the fishy Tiger nuts about their suitability for human consumption. To my surprise, the supplier responded promptly, saying that these nuts are meant only for animal consumption. Uncertain about the processing methods, I decided to avoid drinking the rest. Perhaps these baits are just too fishy after all.
Nonetheless, I couldn’t resist ordering 5 kilograms of organic tiger nuts. Maybe the nuts I had used were fishy, but just like the carps, I can’t resist them!