In the Philippines, champorado is a chocolate, riced-based porridge typically eaten for breakfast. In Mexico, champurrado is a chocolate-based drink (made with masa — lime treated corn dough, or corn flour) also served for breakfast.
The common ingredient is chocolate — but which version came first?
The answer is the Mexican champurrado, as the cacao trees (source of chocolate) grown in the Philippines originally came from Mexico. And the connection, of course, is that Mexico and the Philippines were colonies of Spain.
Some of the most popular fruits and plants common in the Philippines — avocados, pineapples, cashews, guyabano — are native to Latin American countries and arrived in the Philippines via the galleon ships from Mexico during the colonial era. Rice and fruits like the carambola (star fruit) and mangoes were transported from the Philippines to Mexico.
Champorado is a breakfast favorite of my oldest grandson, Jun. Because there is a lot of stirring involved, he knows it is a special request breakfast and that his Lola has to wake up a little earlier to have it ready before school time.
As with many Filipino sweets, making champorado requires just a handful of ingredients. Philippine chocolate tablets are the traditional ingredient, but we use cocoa powder in our version.
- 1 cup of sticky rice – usually marked “Sweet Rice” sourced mainly from Thailand, or the Philippine brands marked “Malagkit”
- Water & Milk – start with 4 and 1/2 cups of water to cook the rice into a porridge (I add a cup of low-fat milk to the mixture when the porridge is almost done, and depending on the consistency you like, you can add more milk and water)
- Unsweetened Cocoa Powder – use from 1/2 cup or add more to your liking. We keep a container of Trader Joe’s brand on hand, sourced from Columbia.
- Brown sugar can be added during the porridge cooking process or served with the bowl of champorado.
Rinse, then cook the rice with the water over low heat, then gradually add the cocoa powder to make the porridge. I add the milk and brown sugar when the rice softens and is almost cooked. Watch over and stir the mixture often. The champorado is done when the rice is mushy and cooked through.
In the Philippines, champorado is sometimes eaten with salted dried fish (tuyo), as Filipinos love mixing salty and sweet flavors.
For more about chocolate, see Most Craved Food post here, or click on the photo below.
And a little on the early history of chocolate in the Philippines, said to be introduced by missionaries from Mexico in the late 1600’s. Excerpt from the book “The Philippine Islands”, published in 1898…
The trees are usually planted in gardens near the house, and the chocolate-paste is made at home. A small quantity of the bean is sent annually to Spain; and there is a chocolate factory in Manila for the benefit of those that do not care to trouble themselves with either the growth of the fruit or the preparation of the kernel. The oil of the cocoa is used also for lighting the houses and streets.
It is impossible to find better chocolate than that made by the friars of the Philippines. Special pains are taken with the cacao tree, which is planted in the orchards and gardens of the monasteries, and in the manufacture of the paste and in the making of the beverage.
At Mexican eateries, champurrado is sold as a beverage and often paired with tamales — so, except for the chocolate, completely different from Philippine style champorado.
Do you make homemade champorado or champurrado?
Or have you bought the instant type Filipino champorado mix at your local Filipino store (like the type pictured at left by White King)? And if so, was the taste comparable to homemade champorado?
What are your favorite Filipino chocolate related memories?
More food posts from Lolalako.com:
- My New Flan – coconut milk leche flan using only 3 whole eggs
- The Ube, and why Filipinos love purple food!
- Banana Leaves and Sweets
- Corn and cheese ice cream, anyone?
- On rice and how much I missed rice while in boot camp (fried rice “sinangag”),
- Halo-Halo – unique iced tropical treat
- Jollibee burgers…and bangus? And why bangus or milkfish is often thought of as a Philippine national symbol