When we talk about rice as a staple food in Asia, we mean that more than half the population depends on it and consumes it on a daily basis. In most Asian countries, rice is not only a major ingredient for cooking, but the primary agricultural crop, which means that their economy mostly depends on it, not just their people’s diet. But it doesn’t end there, nutrition and economy are just one side of the role rice plays in the Philippines and in the Asian culture in general.
More than food: a lifestyle
In most countries, rice is somehow sacred. Why? Because it’s an element of reunion and the meanings behind it are many. For example, a good harvest is a sign of a good year and it’s believed it will protect people. In this sense, having a good harvest is what matters the most and that’s why people carry out rituals and ceremonies to protect it, not only from the weather, but from animals or any other difficulty their crops might go through. In short: since their ancestors’ times, the harvesting cycle is considered to represent the cycle of life itself.
Rice is kind of a big deal and these are some of the reasons why we’re going to find rice in almost every dish and meal we try in the area and, of course, the shape rice may take will never end to amaze everyone.
What does the Philippines offer?
The Philippines are definitely not an exception here and their offer is as varied as that of any other country in the area because, in the words of the experts, that’s the area where the West meets the East to form a new and unique cuisine.
To bring the islands home, you’ll find a recipe to Champorado below. And you might be wondering what champorado is. Well, champorado, or tsamporado is a chocolate rice pudding usually eaten during breakfast. Rice and chocolate combined in a classic Filipino snack. Compared to other sweet treats, this is really easily made as it’s cooked in one pot and with just a few common ingredients.
Which rice should you use?
Porridge or pudding kinds of snacks are usually made with glutinous, Jasmine rice, the sticky version of the ingredient. However, champorado can be made with white rice just the same.
When choosing a kind of rice, you should consider the cooking method and the amount of rice and water you’ll use. Glutinous rice is, in most recipes, cooked with the help of a steamer. In that case, for every cup of rice, you’ll need at least four cups of water. Instead, white rice can be cooked in a pot and the white rice to water ratio is not the same. For every cup of white rice, you’ll need two cups of water. In this case, you can make it sticker by over-cooking it for a couple of minutes.
- 1 ½ cups of rice.
- 4 cups of water for glutinous rice. Or 2 ½ for white rice.
- 1 cup of brown sugar.
- 1 cup of cocoa powder.
- 1 cup of evaporated milk.
- A pinch of salt.
- Rinse a cup and a half of glutinous rice. Do so repeatedly until the water comes off translucent or as clear as possible. If you use white rice, this step is not necessary.
- Place the rice in a big pot and pour the necessary cups of water. Cover the pot and put it over a high heat until it boils.
- Then reduce heat to low and keep cooking without the lid. Simmer the mix for about 12 to 15 minutes. It’s not necessary to stir continuously, but stir from time to time so that the rice doesn’t get stuck at the bottom.
- As the rice cooks, take a bowl and pour one cup of brown sugar and one cup of cocoa powder. Mix both together so that they become one. Set aside and go check on the rice.
- Once the rice is done, keep the heat low and add the cocoa and sugar mixture. Give everything a good, good stir. Mix and blend everything together.
- Add just a pinch of salt and keep mixing and cooking for five more minutes.
- Top it by pouring some evaporated milk. Enjoy!
Give it a go and try champorado for breakfast. If you start the morning having chocolate, you’re off to a great start, aren’t you?