Everyone who knows my family well knows that my son’s favorite breakfast is champorado. It is made with sweet sticky rice, water, and chocolate. Everything is boiled together until porridge consistency. Depending on the kind of chocolate used, sugar can be omitted or added.
I can’t remember when I first cooked it for my son, but I am sure he had it even before I allowed him to eat sweets. I would let him eat as many bowls of champorado as he wants, and yet I would not allow him to eat a single chocolate bar. It does not make sense, I know. I was convinced then, that by allowing him to eat champorado, I was helping him create a memory of enjoying a Filipino dish that would last him a lifetime.
If we were in Manila, we would eat champorado with crispy dried fish–tuyo, danggit, or sap-sap (my favorite). The contrast of the saltiness of the fish compliments the sweetness of the chocolate meal. Although I could find a variety of dried fish in the local oriental store, I have yet to try one processed in California. Instead, I use another complimentary side dish–Bacon! I broil applewood smoked bacon to a crisp. It offers that same balance in taste as the salty fish (obviously, with more cholesterol).
I have used Antonio Pueo’s tablea and Bohol Bee Farm tablea. Good friends who know that champorado is a favorite of ours have brought tablea from Palawan and Davao as pasalubong (thanks, Raquel). But if in a bind, I use plain and simple chocolate chips (Ghirardelli, Hershey’s, Trader Joe’s). They work just as well.
1 cup sweet sticky rice
4-5 cups of water
2-3 pcs of tablea or 6 oz of chocolate chips (dark or regular)
In a pot, bring everything to a boil. Stir regularly to prevent the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot. Once rice is cooked (approximately 20 minutes), turn off heat. Because of the glutinous rice, the mixture will become very thick (malapot) after it cools. Mixing a little bit of milk will help with the sticky consistency. Condensed milk is perfect to be used if tablea is the chocolate preference. Otherwise, use regular or non-fat milk.