SHF #34 & Breakfast #13: Carabao’s Milk Champorado with Cocojam and Pili Nuts

On the heels of my last post, after waxing lyrical about our national love affair with rice for breakfast, I had to come back to tell you this: We don’t just have it with egg and meat/fish. And we don’t just have it savory.

We also have it sweet and with chocolate.

This is called champorado and is our version of chocolate rice pudding. It’s traditionally eaten at breakfast time, sometimes with a side of dried, salted fish. It may seem strange to the uninitiated to have chocolate rice pudding with dried fish. I can’t actually comment because I haven’t tried the combination, but rest assured that if I do I will report back here. Until then, it’s enough for me that eating chocolate for breakfast figures into my culture and I’m more than grateful for that :)

There are loads of champorado mixes available at the supermarkets but I decided to make it from scratch using the loot C had brought back for me from his business trip to Naga City. First I used the native tablea (chocolate tablets made of local crushed cacao) as my chocolate flavoring, a more traditional ingredient than the commonly used cocoa powder that you find in a lot of champorado today. Then, since chocolate and coconut are a popular pairing, I thought of topping the champorado with some of the coconut jam with pili nuts and sprinkling a few candied pili nuts over the whole mess. Finally, instead of making the champorado with water as it is typically done, I decided to use milk, and not just any milk, carabao’s milk. Carabao’s milk has a higher fat content than cow’s milk, making it richer and creamier, and upping the ante for milk-based puddings and desserts.

Carabao’s Milk Champorado with Cocojam and Pili Nuts
  • ½ cup malagkit rice (this is our local glutinous rice which we use for sticky rice sweets, I think rice you would use for risotto would work as well, although I’m not certain as I haven’t tried that yet)
  • 2-3 cups carabao’s milk (start with 2, then add if the mixture becomes too dry for your tastes)
  • 4 tablea (just under an ounce each)

- Place the 2 cups milk and the rice in a saucepan and cook until rice is almost done, stirring regularly.
- In another smaller saucepan, melt tablea in some of the extra milk.
- When rice feel almost done, add chocolate mixture and keep stirring until rice is soft, adding more milk when necessary (this will depend on how soupy or sticky you want it…I like it really thick)
- Place cooked champorado in small bowls and top each with some coco jam (to taste) and candied pili nuts.
- Serves 4.

I don’t add any sugar in this recipe because the coco jam is very sweet (so please practice restraint when adding it…unlike me). Also, when I say “place in small bowls”, I do mean small bowls, this is very rich and I could only finish half of the serving you see in the photo above. You can use cocoa powder instead of the tablea (I’ve consumed many a champorado using cocoa) but the tablea adds a certain rustic grittiness that I like, the chocolate being more bitter and grainy. The carabao’s milk makes this incredibly rich and creamy.

This is amazingly comforting during our rainy/wet season, not only because it is rich, sweet, and hearty, but also because it brings back so many childhood memories. My paternal grandmother use to make this all the time (albeit the regular way and not with carabao’s milk) and I used to look forward to it every time I visited. Now that I'm older, comforting childhood favorites like this are sometimes forgotten in the face of more sophisticated fare...but, I quickly realize as the rain beats steady on my grimy window, are no less needed.

back to school

UPDATE!!! -- I had been secretly hoping that I could submit this as my very first entry to the famed and highly acclaimed food blogging event, Sugar High Friday, but unfortunately I was late. However, I just recieved word from Johanna, this round's kind and generous host, that I was very much welcome to join...YAY! Johanna, The Passionate Cook, chose "Going Local!" as the theme and encouraged everyone to blog about local sweet stuff...hence my fervent wish to join this I could toot the horn of my native champorado! :) Thank you Johanna! And thanks to Jennifer the Domestic Goddess for creating this event that celebrates sweetness! :)