Tag Archives: Trader Joe’s

Recipe for Kids

Polvoron is a traditional Filipino dessert that is very easy to make.  The main ingredients are flour, sugar, and powdered milk.  Butter binds them all together.  Philippines was colonized by Spain for 300 years, so it is no surprise that this tiny cake has Spanish origin.

As a teacher, I love making this in class because the only cooking involved is toasting flour that can easily be done days beforehand.  After all the ingredients are measured, the only thing left to do is to mix and mold.  If you’ve had any experience with children, you know why making this dessert with them is always an instant hit.

My mom used to make big batches of this “short bread”.  She would mix peanuts, cashews, or toasted pinipig (flattened immature glutinous rice) to give texture to the otherwise, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

The trickiest part of this dish is knowing when the flour is toasted just right.   Over do it and the flour will taste bitter; under cook it and it won’t have the nutty taste of toasted flour.  My mom would say that the “nose knows” when the flour is cooked just right.

Aside from the flour turning golden brown, flour toasted perfectly would have a great smell that would spread through the whole house. She would ask me to go up to the second floor hallway of our house and stand just outside my bedroom door;  if I could smell it there, then the flour is ready.

My contribution to this traditional polvoron recipe is adding freeze-dried mangoes.  The hint of mango reminds me of summers in Manila.  I can’t enjoy  Zambales, Cebu, or even Guimaras mangoes (because we don’t get them here), but a hint of mango in my small polvoron cakes can tide me over until my next trip back to Manila.

Mango Polvoron

1 1/4 cup toasted flour (whole wheat or all purpose)

1 1/2 cups powdered milk

1/4 cup sugar (white or demerara)

1 cup butter, melted

generous 1/4 cup pinipig or rice krispies

1.7 oz or 48 grams freeze dried mangoes, crushed

Toast flour in a pan over medium heat.  Stir occasionally to even the browning.  It may take around 45 minutes. DO NOT walk away while the flour is toasting.  Transfer toasted flour in a mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients.  Pour melted butter 1/3 cup at a time.  You can cut back on the butter once the mixture sticks together.

To shape the mixture into tiny cakes, use polvoron molder or a regular tablespoon for a simple finish. The polvoron will be less crumbly if refrigerated for about 10 minutes.

*The original recipe asks for 1/2 c sugar, I scaled it down to 1/4 cup because of the natural sweetness of the freeze dried mangoes.

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Cooking with Chocolate

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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.

Champorado

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.

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