Champorado is one of many Filipino dishes which stems from the Spanish influence in the country. This dish closely resembles a sticky rice pudding, except the method and the addition of cocoa. Over the years, this dish has made its mark as a uniquely Filipino dish as it has been commonly served partnered with a truly unique Filipino delicacy - dried herring or tuyo.
"Tuyo" or dried herring (tuyo meaning dried, and the process of preserving the fish is by salting and air drying) - a favourite in Filipino households. Mum never grew to like this kind of fish. Too salty for my taste buds, although it is usually eaten dipped in garlic infused vinegar, but Dad is just the opposite. So he can eat all of the tuyo and bring that balance in our tuyo-eating pursuits.
Traditionally, champorado is cooked using chocolate tablets or tabliya. These are locally produced cacao tablets made from Philippine cacao. The locally available cacao tablets sold in farmer's markets are purely organic and produced by small-scale entrepreneurs. With the advent of technology and new investors, there are now many brands of this cacao tablet which are exported around the globe. And as far as being organic, I wouldn't know for sure. Cacao from the Philippines are said to be one of the best in the world, especially those farmed in the mountainous terrains of Mindanao. US chocolate company Askinosie imports cacao from Davao into the US to make their chocolates and spreads.
But you don't have to bend backwards to find those cacao tablets! You can reach for a can of any brand of cocoa from the supermarket shelves and you'll have this for breakfast in no time. Champorado is usually served for breakfast, but of course, it doesn't stop there. It can be eaten for morning tea or afternoon tea. There are instant Champorado mixes around in Filipino shops, but it's so easy to make, why would you want to buy?
2 cups glutinous rice
8-10 cups water
4 tbsp cocoa powder (we use Nestle cocoa)
1/2 cup raw sugar
milk for topping
In a large sauce pan or pot, bring the water to a boil and add the rice. Boil for 10 minutes. Add the cocoa, stirring to dissolve the cocoa powder. Bring back to a boil then slow simmer for 30-40 minutes or until the rice is tender. Stirring occasionally to make sure the rice is not sticking in the bottom of the pot.
You know the rice is cooked when it looks plump. Add some water if you feel that the mixture is getting too dry. Add the sugar and stir through. Taste and add sugar and water to suit the consistency you prefer.
For days now, I promised you this for breakfast, but have been lazy. Winter, cold, wet, grey. But a promise is a promise so mum made this one school holiday morning. And everyone woke up with that subtle hint of cocoa-chocolate wafting from the kitchen into the bedrooms. Warm and chocolate-y., drizzle with just a bit of milk. Just what we need on a chilly winter morning.
Post updated: 30/7/11