While at the market in Catalonia, my eyes became somewhat fixated by a little bag of shrivelled looking nuts at a dried fruit and nut stall. Upon inquiry, I learned that they were xufes (or xufles or tigernuts in English or chufas in Spanish), the little tubers from which the milky drink orxata is made. Lucky for me, the stall had also posted a selection of recipes on their wall, one of them being for orxata so quicker than you could blink, I had my money on the counter and the little package of xufes in my handbag.
Back home in London, one night I set them soaking in cold water, to be processed into orxata the following night.
The next night, I ground those xufes down using my mini chopper (in batches) and then mixed them with water and sugar (the tubers are already a little sweet). I then went to town on that mixture with my stick blender. Afterwards, I strained and bottled the mixture and let it chill in the fridge for a bit.
I was extremely happy with the outcome! It was thick and milky and just as fresh as those I drink at the orxateries in Barcelona. Sure you could buy a bottle of the stuff from shops like Garcia and Sons on Portobello Road but they don’t taste fresh and you can’t control the amount of sugar in the drink. Of course, I can go on and on but the reality is that I have no idea where to buy dried tigernuts in London. Has anyone come across them here?
This will make around a litre. The recipe can be scaled easily.
200g dried xufles
water for soaking
100-150g powdered sugar
zest from 1/5 of a lemon (optional)
a little sprinkle of cinnamon (optional)
Soak the dried xufles in cold water overnight.
The next day, drain the xufles and then grind them together with the new water (800ml – 1000ml depending on how thick you like it). A stick blender isn’t going to do it – you either need a powerful blender or do it in batches like me in the stick blender mini food chopped attachment. Once you have all of it grinded to a paste, you can then continue with a stick blender. Add in the sugar (to taste) and the lemon and cinnamon and continue blending.
Strain through at least 2 layers of muslin and chill the resulting mixture for at least an hour (or even better, overnight). Serve!