My Abuelita and Fidelia Hernandez (Panamá)

Chicas are homemade drinks in Panama.  In Mexico they call them “aguas frescas” I think, every country has their own versions and names for these yummy beverages. 
Arroz con piña is my favorite.  It is a frothy, yummy, sweet, drink that instantly brings back memories of shopping on Avenida Central with my mom and Meme (mi abuelita.)  They would have big jugs of this for sale in little stores and it tasted so good when you were hot and sweaty from shopping with two shopaholics all morning! I learned how to make this by watching one of our babysitters, Delia. She was a wonderful cook and an even better person!

Recipe for Chicha de Arroz y Piña

1. First cut top and bottom off of pineapple (piña.)

2. Continue by cutting rind off. (Do not throw away!)

3. Cut into quarters. Then cut down edge to get rid of center core. (SAVE.)
4. This is what you will have. A bowl of the cut up fruit, a top piece (to plant,) and a pot with all the end pieces, core, seedy pieces etc.

5. Cover the scraps in the pot with water. Add about 1-2 cups of rice, cinnamon to taste (or cinnamon sticks,) a little dash of cloves, sugar to taste (I like raw or turbinado about a cup,) and boil until the rinds are soft and rice is done. You can substitute the sugar with a can of condensed milk at the end if you like that taste, but I was trying to keep it lower calorie and this tastes as good. When it’s done take out scraps and toss them in your compost. Put what’s left in the blender and puree. Then pour into a pitcher over some ice to cool. To serve I like to get a glass of ice, pour glass about half full of milk, then the rest with the chicha.
Sprinkle with cinnamon.
You can add vanilla if you like and more pineapple juice if you like.
(Also, if you didn’t add sugar you can add the
condensed milk to the pitcher and add a bit more water.)