In order to pronounce the title of this blog, you should say it with a Spanish, Mexican or Latin American accent. Champorado (pronounced as CHAM- POH-RAH-DOH) is a rice porridge flavored with chocolate, sweetened with sugar and finished with evaporated milk. It is sometimes served with deep-fried salted fish (called tuyo) on top. It is also called Rice Chocolate Pudding or Rice Chocolate Porridge. But I think Champorado sounds even better. This is usually served for breakfast or as an afternoon snack (called merienda).
When I saw a champorado recipe from Olive of Latest Recipes (more Filipino recipes on her site), I thought of making my own. I was born and raised in the Philippines but never even made this myself. I honestly couldn’t remember having this as a child. It would be embarrassing to say that I’ve never had it in my entire life. I probably had the instant champorado that comes in boxes. But I don’t think dad ever serve this to us. I was just thinking about it for a few days, and there was never a memory of dad giving me this.
There are only two main ingredients you need: the sticky rice and the chocolate. We call the sticky rice “malagkit”, it literally means sticky. And this sticky rice and the ground form is the base of many Filipino desserts. The chocolate is called tablea (blocks of cocoa powder or local chocolate chips). You can definitely use unsweetened cocoa powder, the Mexican chocolates or even other dark chocolates if you cannot find these ethnic chocolates from the Philippines. The two minor ingredients are sugar and the milk which are the finishing touches. I like muscovado sugar or panocha (similar to palm sugar) for their caramel flavor. Some people use brown sugar. Evaporated milk adds richness but condensed milk is sometimes used. You may use whole milk or cream but the evaporated milk is the best. If you are lactose intolerant or have milk allergies, you can use coconut cream/milk for this.
I find it odd that this is served with deep-fried salted fish. It’s probably the salty-sweet flavor that Filipinos love. But for this, I’m using unrefined sea salt. Remember that salt brings out the flavor of everything even in sweet foods. Mom adds a dash of salt in every fruit she eats. I always recommend unrefined sea salt. No iodized table salt please because it has a metallic flavor and it ruins the flavor of the dish. Besides, unrefined sea salt still has almost all the minerals intact. I am still looking for a local supplier on unrefined sea salt. That way, I’m supporting Filipino livelihoods instead of buying imported salt from other countries. Of course, if someone gives me a collection of specialty salts, I would gladly receive them.
Aside from serving this for breakfast or as a snack, they are best served on a rainy day, when you need emotional uplifting or when it’s almost Christmas. And for as long as the weather is cool, champorado is always welcome. It also does help if you sit on the floor at the corner of your room with the bowl of your hand and the spoon on the other. You could also sit on the couch cross-legged facing the window while eating the champorado. And all is well with the world even if the world is against you.
Here's the recipe for Champorado at Rouxbe Online Cooking School Test Kitchen. You might also like this comforting Rice Pudding by Steve Ellis. Enjoy.
Olive, thanks for the inspiration.