Champorado: Breakfast of Champions

Champorado

Filipinos have been enjoying chocolate cereal long before the likes of Cocoa Puffs, Cocoa Pebbles, Cocoa Crisp, Count Chocula, or Chocolate Frosted Frosty Krusty Flakes (Only sugar has more sugar!) ever entered the sweet-toothed maws of hungry children. Although these factory-produced, mass-marketed, sugar-filled cereals are fine and dandy for breakfast (I’ve enjoyed many of them), they lack the rustic homemade charm, and overall stick-to-yo-ribs-ness, of Filipino Champorado.

Champorado may perhaps be the original chocolate cereal as it is quite literally a “chocolate cereal”–it’s made from chocolate tablea and cereal grains in the form of sweet sticky rice. Put more simply though, Champorado can best be described as a sort of chocolate rice porridge. Or perhaps it can be likened to a warm bowl of oatmeal crossed with a chocolate bar–only better. Way better.

Champorado2

Champorado: The OG Chocolate Cereal

To the uninitiated, chocolate and rice may seem to be strange breakfastmates. And there was a time when I too thought the choco/rice combo to be strange. I have this vague childhood memory of my maternal grandfather fixing his breakfast by sprinkling cocoa powder on day-old steamed rice. At the time, I had no idea what Champorado was, so I just thought my grandpa was being weird.

Little did I know that my grandfather was simply longing for something Champorado-esque. And since our household woefully lacked any actual Champorado ingredients (chocolate tablea and sweet sticky rice), my grandfather MacGuyvered a quick facsimile with whatever he could find in our kitchen (cocoa powder and leftover rice).

Although there now exist “instant” brands of boxed Champorado (just add hot water and voila!), it’s always best to make a batch from scratch. Thankfully, after recently discovering the joys of Filipino chocolate Tablea, I don’t have to resort to the instant stuff, and I don’t even have to jerry-rig another version like my grandfather did–my own cupboards now have the proper supplies for a proper bowl of warm Champorado.

What’s in a proper bowl of warm Champorado you ask? Well for starters, chocolate in the form of tablea. As I mentioned in my last post, tablea are nothing more than chocolate tablets made from pure cacao nibs that are roasted, ground, and then mixed with a
bit of sugar.

Aside from the chocolate tablea, the rice used in Champorado must be sweet sticky rice–AKA glutinous rice. Sweet sticky rice is a type of short grain rice that is, yes, sweet and sticky when cooked–it’s also the stuff used for Suman sa Gata. Sweet sticky rice can be found at Asian markets, often labeled as
“Malagkit” (the rice, not the market). “Malagkit” is just the Filipino term for, yes, sweet sticky rice.

Although chocolate and rice are key ingredients in Champorado, just as important is the type of milk in which to cook the sticky rice. Fresh milk can definitely be used. But since fresh milk was not always readily available in the Philippines, canned evaporated milk, and even sweetened condensed milk, are the norm for Champorado. I actually like to use a combination of canned evaporated and coconut milk for a bit more flavor and depth. A little drizzle of the milk of your choice atop the finished Champorado makes things a bit more nummy nummy as well.

Champorado3

Eat like a champion today.

Finally, you can sweeten your Champorado with sugar if you wish, though depending on how much sugar is in your particular tablea, and if you happen to use sweetened condensed milk, the Champorado may be sweet enough.

While a steaming bowl of chocolate and rice may seem filling enough to start anyone’s day, Filipinos like to pair Champorado with dried salted fish (tuyo) on the side for a salty counterpoint to the sweet chocolate. I do love all sorts of tuyo, but I think a good salty beef tapa is a good way to go with Champorado as well. Mmmm. Chocolate rice porridge and dried salty fish/meat, now that’s a breakfast!

Homemade Champorado: Filipino Chocolate Rice Porridge

Serves 2-4

1/2 cup Malagkit (sweet sticky rice), rinsed and drained
1 cup evaporated milk, plus more if needed
1 cup coconut milk, plus more if needed
4 chocolate tablea, crushed
Sugar, to taste

Combine all the ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer, stirring every now and then to incorporate chocolate and to prevent rice from sticking to pot. Once simmering, reduce heat to low and continue stirring until rice is soft. If all the liquid has been absorbed, and the rice is still too hard, add more evaporated milk or coconut milk as needed until rice is cooked through and until the desired consistency is reached–I don’t like mine too soupy, so I go for a semi-thick oatmeal consistency.

Taste the Champorado for sweetness, and add sugar if needed. Serve in small bowls, and drizzle more coconut milk over the Champorado. Serve with dried salted fish, or with beef tapa.

Champorado4

Chocolaty till the last drop.


  • Jeff Matel November 8, 2009, 7:13 pm

    ohhhhh. now i’m craving for champorado. haha. mom brought Tableas from her vacation in Sorsogon, Bicol, i have to buy some glutinous rice later and start making champorado.
    i usually cooked champorado then after, keep it refrigerated. i want it cold. yummy.

    Reply
  • Tangled Noodle November 8, 2009, 7:38 pm

    Just like your grandfather, I’ve satiated my need for something champorado-esque by adding cocoa to my oatmeal! Not even close but now that I have tablea, real champorado is just a pot of malagkit away. A drizzle of sweetened condensed milk is my preference but I’ll have to make my way up to trying tuyo!

    Reply
  • Katherine November 8, 2009, 8:05 pm

    Oh Champorado is the best. Its so delicious. Especially when you load it up with Evaporated milk… yumm

    Reply
  • pinkcandles November 8, 2009, 10:30 pm

    hi marvin
    sadly, i have never tried champorado before. our parents never made it for us. we never even knew what it was until years later. i’ve got to make it one day. your version looks pretty damn good.

    Reply
  • christiaan November 8, 2009, 10:53 pm

    Forgot to mention the dried fish traditional toppings and the crispy bacon American Saturday morning topping. There has to be a fried crispy hot sprinkle over it. Or is this just something unique to my family.

    Reply
  • christiaan November 8, 2009, 10:58 pm

    Oh no excuse me, the dried fish was mentioned just not the bacon. Seriously,bacon and chocolate rice is the greatest dish ever.

    Reply
  • Dea November 9, 2009, 12:26 am

    Hello, there, I’ve been a follower of your blog for a few months now and always enjoyed your posts.
    I love your pictures of champorado above. Champorado is a staple in our household, my mother makes it almost every morning. I like it best with condensed milk and paired with Spam.

    Reply
  • joey November 9, 2009, 7:16 am

    This is definitely a childhood fave! My grandmother used to make it for us and I loved it with condensed milk :) My mom never made it though — she would put Milo in our oatmeal and try to “trick” us into thinking it was champorado! It kinda worked because my brother doesn’t like proper champorado to this day — preferring oatmeal with Milo! I knew better though 😉

    Reply
  • Cha-Cha November 9, 2009, 9:02 am

    I remembered when I woke up and went to our trusted breakfast stand and ordered a hot steaming bowl of chocolate champarado. There were other breakfast items (sopa, sphagetti with hotdog, palabok) but champarado was definitely my favorite. I especially liked it when there was extra evaporated milk on it…I would always try to get the daugther of the owner to pour it because she gave me extra (her mom is a condensed milk Nazi).
    I haven’t had champarado in over 10 years. I see the boxes in the aisles at the asian store but I just imagine them having the taste of those mashed potato in a box…bland and emesis-worthy.
    I’ve been so unproductive at work today because of your blog. I saw it this morning and I couldn’t stop reading. Burst of laughter comes out of my office…people are starting to look at me funny since I’m supposedly reviewing through cochlear implant manufacturing documents. I started in the Archies. I’m at June 2007…love the Ube pancakes article…it makes so much sense! Kudos to your blog.

    Reply
  • Lorena November 9, 2009, 9:24 am

    And this is why I love being Mexican and Filipino — we have a Mexican champurrado, but it’s made with Mexican chocolate, masa and milk and it’s more of a drink!
    Now, I’ve never had the Filipino version, but since I’ve been on a big Filipino food kick since my sister moved back to San Diego, I know I’m going to pick up some tablea when we’re in National City this Wednesday visiting my Mexican grandparents. Yum and THANK YOU, Marvin, for expanding my culinary horizons!

    Reply
  • Cel November 9, 2009, 9:27 am

    my favorite champorado partner since I was a teenager is sunflower crackers plain (original flavor). And I add A LOT of powdered milk before eating, no sugar.

    Reply
  • Cha-Cha November 9, 2009, 11:10 am

    It’s me again…can’t stop reading. I love this blog!!! Best one I’ve seen. Thanks Marvin!

    Reply
  • Beth November 9, 2009, 4:03 pm

    christiaan, yep. Filipinos love to pair salty with sweet, and it works. Dried fish with champurado … YUM! Hotdog with champurado … YUM! Bacon with champurado … YUM!

    Reply
  • Rebecca (Foodie With Family) November 9, 2009, 5:07 pm

    You are seriously killing me. My Mom’s best friend when I was growing up was a Filipina lady who made me all kinds of treats. This is like what she used to make me. Ouch.

    Reply
  • wasabi prime November 9, 2009, 9:54 pm

    this sounds both frightening and awesome at the same time. Kind of like when my BFF in grade school made the trifecta of chocolate sauce, Coco Pebbles, and chocolate milk.

    Reply
  • Min November 11, 2009, 12:06 am

    It all of a sudden got hot this week in San Diego, but this is perfect for those cold days! One of my best friends introduced me to eating it with fried spam since I snobbed the whole tuyo idea! 😛 It’s pretty delish.

    Reply
  • aaron November 11, 2009, 2:50 am

    aaawww…

    Reply
  • Olive November 11, 2009, 8:59 am

    this is my favorite breakfast paired with crusty pan de sal..I’ve tried the boxed ones before..not as good if you make it yourself..you know using old-fashioned rolled oats in place of malagkit and dutch-process cocoa if tablea is not available, work too :)

    Reply
  • Jan November 11, 2009, 1:34 pm

    When I was a kid, I’d use Hershey’s syrup since we our Asian Market didn’t carry tableas. Great post–so perfect for this time of year!

    Reply
  • ahnjel November 11, 2009, 7:26 pm

    i got hungry just looking at that pic! omg! yummy yummy!
    my aunt makes champorado with coconut milk, though im not particularly crazy about that flavor i still think its mighty tasty!
    when i was younger i used to put milo on my oatmeal (well, actually i do it til today and my daughter likes it too!) so that i eat healthy is what my grandma used to say and i cal it champorado… i call any chocolate soup-y concoction champorado.
    i make it once a month, though the tablea bought from the filipino store is not up to par with the ones we used in the philippines, but i do ask people coming back from the islands to bring me back some. and then… heaven…

    Reply
  • Yarn Hungry Piggett November 12, 2009, 11:31 am

    Two words:
    CHAMPORADO FAVORITO!
    They rhyme too.
    Very timely for cold autumn mornings, or any time for that matter.
    Thanks for posting this.

    Reply
  • Dee November 12, 2009, 12:41 pm

    Yum, I’m been craving this now that it’s autumn! My parents never made this for breakfast – my mom would usually make it on cold and rainy afternoons. She uses unsweetened baking chocolate squares in hers. I thought my dad was being weird for putting toasted, dried anchovies in his (he’d stick them in the bowl, ends up, and let us have a gander before he dug in), but I now understand the salty-sweet combination. Methinks I have a request to make for our next get-together :9

    Reply
  • Burnt Lumpia November 13, 2009, 10:32 am

    Thanks Jeff. I’ve never had champorado cold, I like it warm right out of the pot.
    Tuyo is good stuff Tangled Noodle. Just think of it as fish jerky;)
    I agree Katherine. It’s probably the only time I have evaporated milk.
    My parents never made it before for me either, pinkcandles. But it’s never too late to make it for yourself;)
    I’ve never tried it with bacon before christiaan, but I’m sure it’s just as good than tuyo.
    Thanks for reading, Dea. Oooh, spam! Now that sounds like a good pairing!
    Hi joey. It wasn’t a childhood fave of mine, but now it’s an adulthood fave!
    Hehe, condensed milk Nazi! And I’m glad you’re enjoying my blog, Cha-cha. Keep reading!
    Hey Lorena! Yeah, I forgot to mention the mexican champurrado, but I assume Filipino champorado somehow evolved from that.
    Crackers and powdered milk, Cel? I’ll have to try that version too sometime.
    Hotdogs and champorado?!! Now I’ve heard it all Beth!
    Thanks Rebecca! You’re lucky to have been exposed to Filipino food when you were younger.
    Your BFF sounds awesome wasabi prime!
    Hi Min. All this spam talk is making me hungry!
    Thanks aaron.
    Thanks Olive. I’m sure more people have oats and cocoa powder than they do malagkit and tablea, so it would be an OK substitute.
    Thanks very much, Jan.
    I agree ahnjel, I’m sure the tablea I get here are very different than the ones in the Philippines. Hopefully someone can bring me real tablea someday.
    Hey there Yarn Hungry! Nice rhyme.
    Champorado for rainy afternoons sounds so comforting, Dee.

    Reply
  • Dianne November 17, 2009, 7:11 pm

    Was craving Champorado and came across your blog :) Made me smile.
    I’m going home to the Philippines next month and I am asking my Lola to show me how she cooks Champorado!
    I’m not the best cook, but this is one dish I am willing to master!

    Reply
  • Bianca November 18, 2009, 5:15 pm

    Thank you thank you for posting the recipe! For the past 28 years I’ve been on this earth I’ve been eating the instant stuff! Thanks again!!
    Bianca

    Reply
  • Impromptu Diva November 21, 2009, 4:57 pm

    hi marvin,
    I just started my food blog 3 weeks ago so call me a newbie, or a late bloomer, but boy am i discovering a whole new world of food blogs on the blogosphere… I’m so thrilled to come accross BURNT LUMPIA, to tell you honestly I’m so impressed. For someone who didn’t grow up in the Philippines, yours is soooo genuine!!! Great Job!
    I am cooking champorado for merienda today but Im using jasmine rice and cocoa balls and top it with nuttella and whip cream…yum! I love creating dishes and I usually put my take on traditional Pinoy food. I would like to invite you to come visit my blog.. there’s not much in it yet but you’re most welcome to check it out!

    Reply
  • Manggy November 26, 2009, 6:36 pm

    This is probably my second favorite Filipino breakfast, next to tocino :) I think I’m going to need a bowlful of this tomorrow morning (if I’m not yet super-stuffed from Thanksgiving :)

    Reply
  • darleene November 28, 2009, 9:39 pm

    I’m 7 months pregnant and highly suggestible and now I MUST HAVE CHAMPORADO. Last time I had it was from a box. I’m so using your recipe.
    And combined with bacon sounds like BLISS.

    Reply
  • Divina November 30, 2009, 4:37 am

    I have never eaten champorado growing up. Being a Chinese-Filipino, dad served me a different snack. Would you I believer I only had champorado this year? But I’m really like it a lot and I think there’s no excuse for making your own instead of buying the ones in boxes. I should try it with coconut milk next time. Although some people find the addition of saltiness such a tuyo or beef tapa weird. But I’m willing to try that.

    Reply
  • u8mypinkcookies December 25, 2009, 9:28 pm

    yummy! weird though, i like it chilled! haha! 😀

    Reply
  • Ric Serrano January 14, 2010, 4:09 pm

    I didn’t read through the entirety of the comments, but I’m loving this blog. As a result, I’ll be making champorado soon. The dried anchovies you all refer to is dilis, right? My mom would make it on the side, and I’d snack on it like bacon to accompany the champorado. My favorite memory is my mom dribbling a cursive “R” with the evaporated milk on top of the brown champorado in the bowl for me, Ricky. I’ve got a great recipe for fried dilis with peanuts, chilies, and cilantro similar to what they used to serve at Betel Nut restaurant here, in San Francisco.

    Reply
  • toshiharu December 7, 2010, 8:13 pm

    Wow y’all are some hardcore Filipinos! As a kid, I don’t know why I was never a fan of Tsamporrado. However, about 10 years ago, my uncle made a different kind of Tsamporrado made with coconut milk and pirirutong (purple sticky rice). I think it was still called Tsamporrado because it had the same color (from the purple rice), and milk (gata this time). Travelling through Vietnam I found the exact same thing at a French-y Vietnamese cafe in Hanoi and thought about how this version of Tsamporrado was truly Southeast Asian, despite having nominal roots in the Americas.

    Reply
  • Hannah K October 25, 2011, 1:43 pm

    My Filipino mother made us an american version growing up. We had chocolate oatmeal. A lot of other of my friends made the same americanized version.

    Reply
  • juan@living-off-the-grid-with-green-power.blogspot.com February 8, 2014, 5:15 am

    hello this post is great! can I use one of the photo to blog?
    don’t worry I’ll put a link your site in my blog.. :)
    thank you.

    Reply
  • zobel July 21, 2015, 4:09 am

    ASk ko lng pede b kumain ng champorado ang buntis?

    Reply

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