I’ve really been interested in making this drink for a few years now ever since I read Amira talking about it. You all may remember that I posted about Saudi sobia several years ago. I quickly realized that there are two sobias, a version made with bread and the other rice, which is the one I’m posting today.
The first thing that I realized is that this sobia is a lot like horchata and then I found out that its roots actually trace back to Arab lands where it was made with chufa nuts. Spaniards brought the recipe back home with them and over the years the taste has changed to what you will find today. Who knows if it was the same drink at one point or another, but I wouldn’t doubt it one bit. It seems some add vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom, depending on where you buy it. You could really use any type of milk or your favorite spices to get the flavor you like best.
I noticed that quite a few recipes for both the above drinks required you to use a cheesecloth to drain so that you’re not left with chunky sediments, however, since my rice was ground to a really fine powder it blended really well, leaving nothing behind. I still used a fine mesh strainer just in case. Horchata the Spanish drink is a thinner liquid while this version should be thick.
When it comes to the ground rice I think it’s an important point, you don’t want to use rice flour since that’s a cornstarch consistency. You want it to have a bit of grit to it. I have a professional coffee grinder that has different settings, and I made sure it was set on the finest grind. I think it would be okay to use whatever rice you have on hand (short or long grain white), I’ve read from a few people that said it didn’t end up mattering in the end. Whatever blender you have, will work just fine, I used my stick blender. I also always melt sugar before adding it to a drink so it mixes well, I hate gritty sugar floating around.
I ended up really liking this drink a lot, I found myself drinking it all through the day. The cinnamon and vanilla gave it such a nice flavor, the coconut was so aromatic and pleasant, but since the regular milk was also added it wasn’t too overpowering and the best for me was the ground rice that gave it some texture.
1/4 cup finely ground rice
2 cups hot water
1 cinnamon stick (that will fit in the jar)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups coconut milk
1-1/2 cups milk
2/3 cup sugar (dissolved in 1/4 cup boiling water)
1. In a jar add rice powder, cinnamon stick and hot water. Allow to cool, then cover the jar, and allow to sit out overnight, at least 8 hours.
2. Remove the cinnamon stick, then blend the rice and water mixture until it’s smooth.
3. Strain the mixture through a fine mesh strainer.
4. In a small bowl, add the sugar and hot water, allowing the sugar to dissolve. In a pitcher add the milks, sugar syrup, vanilla and rice milk mixture, mix, then place in the fridge until cold.
Yields: 1 liter