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Champorado for the Soul

Now that it’s the rainy season, mornings are cool, wet, and sometimes dreary. One of the best ways to battle the blues that the rain brings is to warm yourself with good old soul food (best kind of cure for all kinds of the blues). And in my world, the very definition of rainy day soul food is a bowlful of steaming tsokolate champorado. Just like our lolas made for us back when we were still cute.

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Mmm.. Can next week be rainy again?

Last Christmas, a friend gifted us with a jar of tablea tsokolate balls and up until the rains began, the jar served as a lonely display on our kitchen counter. No one really knew what to do with them. Then the rainy days began and one wet Saturday morning, I had a lightbulb moment (these don’t come very often) and thought to learn to make authentic champorado right there and then. I followed a recipe from the Internet (no way?!) and with I few tweaks, I proceeded to make my own.

It didn’t turn out too well. More than an hour in the kitchen trying not to mess it up and I ended up with a barely eatable warm brown paste (really, this blog should be renamed to “Mel’s Mishaps in the Kitchen”). Okay, it wasn’t that bad but instead of having a chocolate porridge with congee-like consistency, I had a sticky rice chocolate cake with some half cooked grains. Not exactly the champorado that lola made, eh?

Good thing we haven’t ran out of rainy days just yet and I was able to try again another week later. But that didn’t turn out too well either. All the grains were cooked this time, but I still ended up with globs of sticky brown paste that resembled bico* more than champorado. But like they say, third time’s the charm. This time, finally have the recipe down pat. This time, we have the recipe for Champorado for the Soul, as I like calling it (humor me).

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Malagkit rice, ablea tsokolate, brown sugar

Here’s what you’ll need to make your own Champorado for the Soul (serves 2-3)-

  • 5-7 tablets of tablea tsokolate
  • 1 cup of glutinous rice grains (malagkit)
  • 1/2 cup of brown sugar
  • 5 cups of water
  • some evaporated milk (the amount really depends on your preference)
  • good stirring arm
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Add the melted chocolate as soon as your rice becomes translucent, to let the rice absorb the chocolate flavor

What to do:

  • In a small saucepan, pour in a cup of water and all the tablea tsokolate tablets and melt it over low fire. Don’t let it burn or boil too much. Just as soon as all the bits have dissolved, pour it into a small bowl and set it aside.
  • In the same saucepan, pour in the rest of the water and the rice grains. You may wait for the water to boil before stirring (trust me, you’ll need all the stirring energy you have for the next part).
  • As soon as it starts to boil, stir the mixture regularly to make sure the rice doesn’t stick to the pan.
  • After about 15 minutes of stirring, your rice grains should be half-cooked and will appear slightly transparent. Then you can pour the melted tablea and let the rice grains seep in the flavor of the chocolate. Don’t forget to keep stirring!
  • After about 15 more minutes of stirring, or until you can’t feel your arm anymore, whichever comes first, check to see if the rice is thoroughly cooked. Scoop out a grain or two and find someone willing to ingest a maybe-half-cooked rice grain.

Test 1: Bite through the grain. If it’s soft all the way through, it’s done. Otherwise, keep stirring!
Test 2: Chew and swallow the grain. If you don’t hurt your tonsils, it’s done. Otherwise, keep stirring! (notice a theme in the instructions?)

When you’re done, pour the mixture into bowls, drizzle with evaporated milk and though your arms may be sore, serve and eat with a smile. This, together with the champorado, should warm your soul and make for a happier rainy Saturday. 🙂

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