I’ve talked about comfort food before, but lately I’ve realised that nearly nothing else can comfort me in the same manner as this simple little porridge can. We call this Filipino breakfast staple the champorado, and it’s basically a chocolate rice porridge, served with milk. Tell me which part of that doesn’t sound comforting– not to mention delicious?
There’s just something so homey about eating mushy warm food from a bowl. I know it sounds a little icky when I put it that way, but these kinds of food oddly make my soul feel at ease. That’s why most of what I consider my comfort foods share this particular characteristic (except maybe ice cream which can also be mushy but is cold). The champorado is one of my top comfort foods at the moment for reasons I can’t describe. Perhaps my love for chocolate plays a role in it?
Ironically, I didn’t use to care much for champorado so thank goodness tastes, people, and circumstances change with the passage of time. I don’t really need to find an explanation for why I suddenly find myself loving this, but all I know is: Champorado has the power to turn my mood around, and that’s all I care about.
Whenever we have champorado for breakfast, eating it in my pajamas while the house is still quiet early in the morning really hits the homey effect out of the park. But during the weekends when all my brothers are home, I like to eat it with a side of funny stories about their escapades for the week. A little bit of choking sometimes occurs when the laughter comes at the same moment a spoonful of champorado is stuffed into the mouth; but it’s all in the name of good times. I love both kinds of mornings, but I admittedly appreciate solitude just a tad more.
The champorado is so much of a staple over here it comes in an instant mix. The brand we buy is pretty good so we use it when we’re really in a hurry, but cooking champorado from scratch is super easy as well. You’ll need some sticky/glutinous rice, which are these fat little grains of rice used in Asian sticky rice-based dimsum and desserts. It’s widely available over here but I’m sure most Asian grocers carry it as well.
You’ll also need some sugar, and the chocolate of course. Though traditionally champorado is made using tablea chocolate, I use bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, adjusting the sugar quantity to taste. I also like it when the rice is still slightly chewy and not as soft and mushy as oatmeal, so I don’t tend to boil my porridge for too long. If you’ve never tried this before, it might be difficult to gauge what you like and don’t like, so I suggest giving the recipe a go as is first.
Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Porridge)
- 1 cup sticky or glutinous rice (rinsed and drained)
- 5 cups water
- 6 ounces dark semisweet chocolate (preferably 60% cocoa *)
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1 can evaporated milk (or a cup of whole or low-fat milk)
- 1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or in a metal bowl set on top of a pot of simmering water. **
- 2. Meanwhile, bring rice and water to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Once the rice is boiling, reduce the heat to medium-to-low and let the rice simmer gently.
- 3. After 15 minutes, add melted chocolate and sugar and whisk vigorously until everything is thoroughly combined. Let the rice simmer for a while longer until it is cooked, another five minutes or so. The rice is cooked when it is soft to the bite.
- 4. Serve either hot or chilled with a generous drizzle of milk.
- Storage: The champorado will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. However, the sticky rice will soak up most of the water, causing it to thicken as it chills. Tho thin it out, add water or milk when reheating, or simply eat the champorado chilled with a generous helping of milk.
* You can use bittersweet chocolate and adjust the amount of sugar to taste. Cocoa powder can also be used instead of chocolate. Use 1/2 cup cocoa powder for every cup of sticky rice. If using the traditional tablea, use about eight chocolate tablets for every cup of sticky rice. Crush the tablets in a mortar and pestle and whisk the powdered chocolate in the simmering rice as you would the melted chocolate.
** I skipped this step and added my chocolate straight into the boiling rice.
Adapted from Jun Belen's blog
And for the final touch to maximizing the champorado experience, drizzle on some evaporated milk (whole milk or 2% milk work as well) on the porridge, then mix thoroughly with your spoon to combine. The milk lessens the strong chocolate flavour and adds a sort of creaminess to the porridge. I never eat champorado without the milk. It’s just not the same. Try it and love it!