I am so happy to have my youngest sister, Patty, write a guest post for me while I’m on vacation. She is the yogi who introduced me to hot vinyasa, the person who shares my love for salmon and pasta and peanut butter (not eaten at the same time though), the one I call first when I want to discuss gossip and books and TV shows and all things in between. Oh and she’s a smarty-pants lawyer, so I know if I ever get in trouble, I can count on her to bail me out… I am so incredibly proud of her and love her so much – even if (or maybe even more so because) she and I can be polar opposites in some ways! Here she is:
I am not a chocolate fan.
Growing up, I stayed away from it the way other kids stayed away from vegetables. I could not stand the richness of cocoa, and how Hershey’s Kisses always stuck to the roof of my mouth. I am probably one of the reasons why my sister became a chocoholic—I used to give her my chocolates in exchange for permission to play with her toys or read her books.
Unlike my sister and most other kids who wolfed down chocolate bars to the point of a tummy ache, I wolfed down local, savory Filipino dishes eaten with rice… to the point of a tummy ache.
I am not a fan of chocolate, but I am a fan of my beautiful sister, who asked (younger sisters know that “ask” in sibling talk is “demand”) that I write a guest post for her Confessions of a Chocoholic blog for when she’s out in Spain. I miss her and I also miss our late grandfather, our beloved Lolo Leno, whose birthday was last week. (Editor’s note: Patty is too humble to admit it but it was a well-known fact that she was our Lolo’s favorite grandchild. Last year I wrote about how I coped with his passing in this blog post.)
I remember sitting with Lolo Leno at their dining table, long after everyone has finished eating, swinging my legs that barely touched the ground while watching him deftly take out alimango (steamed crab) from its shell. He would give me the best part – the pinchers – then go on to dismantle the rest of the crustacean for himself, savoring the aligue, or crab fat. With shrimp sinigang, a tamarind-based soup, he taught me to suck the juice out of the shrimps’ heads, because that is the part with most flavor. Whenever we ate our favorite dish, pusit (squid) adobo, he let me wear the squid rings on my fingers, and laughed when the rings left my fingers black (and all yummy). All this while my sister and the other kids enjoyed their dessert of chocolate ice cream or some other sweet treat.
Lolo Leno has who taught me, among many other things in life, to love all sorts of Filipino food. He had such a hearty appetite and a big heart, which trickled down to his children and grandchildren. So for this guest post, I decided to share a recipe for something that my Lolo and my sister are both very fond of: a native chocolate breakfast dish called champorado.
Champorado is a chocolate-flavored rice porridge dish from the Philippines. It is traditionally breakfast fare, and it is especially enjoyed during the rainy season (June through August). It’s a two-ingredient dish, just sticky rice and unsweetened cocoa powder, but it is always served with milk and sugar on the side so the person eating it can customize it to his or her taste.
Those who like their breakfast sweet even eat champorado with sweetened condensed milk. But others, those who prefer an umami-rich mixture of sweet-and-salty , top it with shreds of salty dried fish called tuyo.
Both of my sisters love champorado laced with condensed milk (in Bianca’s case, generously drenched in condensed milk). My lolo loved it with the salty tuyo. Me? I may be chocolate-averse but I do enjoy this dish very much. I prefer it sweetened just a little, and I love it because it reminds me of two people who are closest to my heart.
2 cups of sticky or glutinous rice
1/2 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
Cook the sticky rice in the same way you cook regular rice (although the water to rice ration should be 3:2. Here, I used 5 cups of water with the 2 cups of rice): bring water to a boil over medium heat, add the rice, and simmer, stirring constantly. After about 15 minutes of cooking, add the cocoa powder.
Whisk together very well. Cook and keep stirring for 5 more minutes or until the rice has a very thick consistency.
Serve with sugar and whole milk, condensed milk, or fried salted fish. Enjoy with your loved ones!