Champorado: Chocolate for breakfast?
Champorado is a Filipino breakfast staple with Mexican roots. It’s a chocolate rice porridge that arrived in the Philippines around the same time chocolate did, in the late 17th century.
Champorado is a simple recipe, basically just glutinous rice cooked with cocoa powder. It is traditionally served with a side of dried salted fish, called tuyo, which helps to balance the sweetness of the dish. Champorado isn’t overly sweet, as the chocolate used to make it, tablea, is raw cacao that is fermented, roasted and ground. It has notes of bitterness, amplified by tuyo.
The chocolate flavor makes champorado perfect for breakfast, but it can also be enjoyed as a snack or dessert. Everyone has their own preferences for how to eat champorado, much like coffee; some like to sweeten it with sugar and milk or add a pinch of salt.
- 1 pinch kosher salt
- 2 tablets tablea, store-bought or home-made
- ⅓ cup (70g) glutinous (“sweet”) rice or sushi rice
- Flaky sea salt
- Condensed milk or evaporated milk, or milk of your choice, to finish
- Place two cups of water in a 2-quart saucepan and bring it to a boil. Once boiled, add the kosher salt and tablea, stirring until they’re dissolved. Then incorporate your desired amount of rice into the mix by stirring it in as well.
- Allow the water to come back up to a boil, then lower the heat to medium and continue stirring intermittently for about 25 minutes. The grains should be cooked through and you’ll have creamy risotto-like rice!
- Serve in two small bowls and finish with a pinch of flaky sea salt. Add a splash of milk, to taste.
How to Make Your Own Tablea (Roasted Cacao Nibs)
- 1 cup (125g) raw cacao nibs
- ⅓ cup (70g) demerara or raw cane sugar
- Preheat the oven to 325°F (165°C).
- Roast the cacao nibs for 20 minutes, or until they release their oils and turn fragrant. Set aside to cool.
- After it has cooled, transfer the mixture into a blender, add in the sugar and blend for 3 minutes until you obtain a semi-smooth paste.
- Grab two 14-inch (35.5cm) long sheets of plastic wrap and place them side by side, keeping the shorter end closest to you. Scoop out your cacao paste from the blender with a rubber spatula onto these overlapping wraps.
- Mold the cacao paste into a neat 2-inch (5 cm by 25 cm) log and place it lengthwise at the center of your wrap. Then, fold up the bottom edge of your wrap just enough to cover said log. Your wrap will assist in maintaining its shape as you roll it out into an even 10-inch by 1-inch (2.5 cm by 25 cm) long cylinder.
- Once again, pick up the bottom end of the wrap and carefully fold it all the way to meet the top edge. Use slight pressure on your palms as you roll away from you towards its tip. The log should be snugly bound with the material when finished.
- To secure the plastic, take two 3-inch (7.5cm) pieces of kitchen twine and tie them around one end of the plastic bag like you would a candy wrapper. Do this again with the other side to finish securing your package.
- Let the log rest for about 10 minutes at room temperature, or until hardened to a clay-like texture. Don’t let it rest too long or it will get too hard to work with.
- Unwrap the log and place it on a cutting board.
- Trim the rounded ends with a sharp knife and cut the log into about 10 coins, ¾ inch (2cm) thick.
- Wrap the coins in parchment paper and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.
Enjoy Your Homemade Champorado!
As you may have gathered from this blog post, champorado is a truly comforting Filipino breakfast dish. It is also a reminder of the deliciously diverse dishes that come from Filipino cuisine. For me, enjoying a bowl of champorado with some tuyo on top is more than just fueling up – it’s feeling content, connected and grateful for the flavorful and loved foods of my heritage. So gather up those ingredients, get cooking and enjoy your own gastronomic exploration explorations through this timeless rice porridge creation!