Champorado

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As a Filipino-American child, what is one of the greatest things about waking up in the morning? You have the privilege of eating chocolate and rice for breakfast.

Chomporado, or chocolate rice porridge, is served hot with lots of sugar and milk to taste. My mom likes to eat it with heavy cream, and some like to eat it with evaporated or condensed milk (staying true to the Filipino love of canned dairy products.) Me? I like it with a spoonful of crème fraiche. Soooo good.

Often this porridge is eaten with salty dried fish such as dilis or daing. I never have, but can understand the appeal of the sweet and salty together.

The legend is that Jose Rizal, the Philippine national hero, invented champorado as a use for leftover rice. I’m not really buying it because I have never met anyone who uses anything other than glutinous rice to make this dish. But I definitely like the story: a national hero who, as a child, invented one of the greatest breakfast foods ever. Only in the Philippines!

Glutinous rice, also known as sweet rice or sticky rice, is typically prepared steamed in Asian dishes such as Thai coconut sticky rice with mango, a dessert that is as delicious as it sounds. It is far starchier than regular rice, thus making it the perfect rice for porridge as it becomes thick while cooking. (My favorite Filipino dessert, suman, which is coconut rice wrapped in banana leaves, is also made using glutinous rice).

For champorado, the rice is boiled with water and dissolved cocoa powder is added. I find the Dutch-process cocoa powder makes for a really rich chocolately color and taste. Usually the sugar is added to taste at the table, along with the milk, but in this recipe, I’ve added a bit of sugar with the rice while cooking. I prefer it this way because I don’t have to add more sugar at the table as I don’t like it too sweet, but my kids always add more sugar.

The whole thing takes about 20 minutes to make and is perfect for a cold winter morning.

Champorado
Serves 4

Ingredients
1 cup (200g) glutinous rice (I don’t rinse it, but it is up to you – a single rinse to clean it should suffice)
4 cups (1 L) water
¼ teastpoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa dissolved in ¼ cup boiling water
1 teaspoon vanilla

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the rice, sugar, salt and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
  2. Give it a stir and lower heat to medium low and simmer, covered for 15 minutes. Every few minutes, give it a stir. It may cook faster than 15 minutes; basically, you are looking for it to be thick, and the rice to be cooked through, not gritty in the middle. (I definitely check it at the 10 minute mark; lots of times it takes about 12 minutes to cook through.)
  3. While the rice is cooking, whisk the ¼ cup boiling water into the cocoa powder in a small bowl. When it’s cooled a bit, whisk in the vanilla.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, whisk the cocoa mixture into the rice mixture. Cook, uncovered, over medium low for another 5 minutes until the cocoa has absorbed into the porridge.
  5. Serve with sugar and milk, evaporated milk, condensed milk, half and half, heavy cream crème fraiche, or whatever dairy product you like best. You’re the boss!

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Glutinous rice

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