How to cook Champorado? It doesn’t take much for sure. Just five ingredients to enjoy this sweet chocolaty porridge, for breakfast or snack, served hot or cold.
Champorado (Filipino) Recipe
Filipino Champorado is a sweet and chocolaty, thick and chewy rice porridge. The consistency is almost the same as oatmeal and thus is usually a breakfast item; but they are great for snacks as well. I even enjoy this Filipino Chocolate Rice straight from the fridge. Before I thought it was weird to have it cold as we always have it hot, straight from the cooking pot then topped with cold or room temp evaporated milk. (We usually didn’t have leftovers then that we store in the fridge). But I have an aunt who prefers it cold. She would not touch it until it gets cold.
When I moved here, I was just doing instant champorado when I have the craving. One packet is probably 2-3 cups, so I usually put leftovers in the fridge. One time I was lazy to heat it up and just decided to eat it cold. It wasn’t bad. So, after that, I just eat my leftover Chocolate Champorado straight from the fridge.
Champorado recipe usually is served with milk which makes it creamy. I have tried fresh milk, evaporated, even powdered milk (we did this when we were kids) and sweetened condensed milk. They are all fair game, except if you want to use sweetened condensed, you have to adjust the sugar in the recipe. For a dairy-free option, champorado with coconut milk is equally creamy and yummy.
We actually have the champorado recipe with coconut milk more often when we were kids. Coconut is more abundant and thus cheaper than milk (canned milk is more expensive than cocomilk). I would go out on a limb and even say that champorado with gata (Filipino word for coconut milk) is better or at least I will choose it over dairy milk any day for this rice porridge. The creamy coconut flavour goes perfectly well with chocolate.
If you want an easy champorado recipe or easier I must say, Instant Pot Champorado is an option and IMO, a more convenient method. Because the porridge becomes thicker, it spurts and spits everywhere. You need to be very careful as it is hot – the internal heat of the rice grains will burn your skin more than the liquid part.
Thus, cooking the Instant Pot way is even the safer option. Just leave it in Porridge mode. Open the pot after it is done. Give it a few whisks. Stirring or whisking the entire porridge for a minute or two helps them come together.
Oh BTW, Filipino Champorado shouldn’t be confused with the Mexican Champurrado drink. This hot beverage is chocolate and atole, a traditional masa-masa based drink.
My Champorado Memories
Champorado has a very special place in my heart from both good and bad memories from childhood. We went through some very rough times when I was a kid. Money was tight and there were 7 mouths to feed in our household.
There were numerous occasions when I knew that we didn’t even have enough rice to feed all of us. We would have porridge so that no one would go hungry. The rice expands more albeit, now in a soupy form but it stretched what little we had. So, we alternated between Goto (the savoury version) and Champorado.
Being a kid, of course I preferred the sweet Champorado version. Plus, it is chocolate!
So Champorado became a sort of barometer of our money and food supply. At the same time, I attached a comforting feeling to it – that it kept us from going hungry.
Well, enough of my soupy stories (opps)! Let’s get cooking one of my favorite comfort food.
How to make Champorado
Making this Filipino Chocolate porridge is really easy. Just like oatmeal, you just mix together all the ingredients and wait for the oatmeal or the rice to cook. It is a bit ‘clingy’ though. It needs constant stirring especially when the porridge started to thicken. Otherwise, they will stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
Newer kitchen essentials though have kind of found a solution to that little inconvenience. Instant Pot is one of the best things that happened to the lowly Champorado, IMHO. When I realized I can do it in that wonder pot, I never looked back. Although I had to cook two versions in the pot (oh I didn’t enjoy cooking it in a pot anymore, sorry) when I was doing this recipe.
I know that not everyone owns an Instant Pot but if you do, just do this Filipino Chocolate porridge that way. Now, I have cooked it more in the Instant Pot than in stove top. Or probably I am just cooking it more frequently now because of the ease and convenience.
Champorado Ingredients and Substitutions
Glutinous or Sticky Rice
This won’t be a porridge without the grains. Like oat porridge, rice absorbs water and becomes softer and forms a gel. Sticky or glutinous rice is more chewy than white rice (or other rice). They clump together without being mushy when they are cooked thus a more suitable texture.
Non-glutinous rice is still an option though. When we were doing champorado when I was little, we just did them with regular rice (sticky rice is more expensive). The porridge consistency is different though. It doesn’t congeal as it is not sticky rice LOL. It is more of like puffed up rice in chocolate soup.
Check out these other recipes using Glutinous Rice:
Tablea is basically a chocolate tablet, hence the name tablea. It is made from fermented pure cacao beans, roasted, ground and formed into cylindrical tablets. It is more commonly used for hot choco or hot cocoa actually. See image below.
Check this out if you want to learn more about the Filipino Tablea Chocolate.
If you can’t find tablea, any cocoa powder brand will do. I tried the different brands from the grocery and all of them are good substitute. Oh, I didn’t try Dutch processed or baking chocolate. I will update if I try them and how did they come out.
There are many different porridges in the Philippines, but this is different because it is sweet while all the others are savoury. Most of the time, how to cook champorado recipes call for granulated sugar. However, brown sugar is also a good option. I for one use brown sugar because of the flavour it imparts in this chocolate rice recipe.
To make the champorado creamy, it is often served with milk (thereby making it actually a chocolate milk porridge. The milk is either added while cooking and/or during serving (more of an artistic garnish if the latter).
If you want a dairy-free champorado, substitute dairy milk with non-dairy coconut milk. You have to add the coco milk while cooking and let it boil for a minute or two. Coconut milk (and coconut cream) have different flavours when cooked and uncooked. Uncooked has a more nutty and milky flavour and consistency. When cooked, the coconut flavour tones down a bit and it blends with choco. However, if you want the creamy milky taste to come through more, add the coconut milk just before serving.
When I was looking online for the other champorado recipes, I can’t remember if I came across one that has salt in its ingredients. I believe because this is a sweet recipe, salt is omitted. However, salt ties up the sweet and chocolaty flavour. Without it, the flavour is kind of flat. If you are in a mood for a little experiment, cook the champorado without salt. Halve the porridge and add salt in one and not in the other and check what happens with the flavour. BTW, as you are only adding to salf to half of the recipe, add only half or 1/4 teaspoon.
How to Cook Champorado
Wash glutinous or sticky rice and transfer to a pot (preferably a deep one). I always wash rice (see below in FAQ’s).
Add half of the water in this recipe or 3 cups and bring to a boil over medium heat. You can actually add all the water but because it will take longer to boil, I do them in halves.
When it starts to boil, add the rest of the water, sugar, salt and the roughly chopped tablea (or cocoa powder). Stir until the sugar and tablea are fully dissolved.
Skye Tip: If you are using cocoa powder, mix together sugar and cocoa powder in a separate bowl. Add the cocoa powder-sugar mixture to the porridge when the cocoa powder seems to have coated the sugar granules (see above image). Cocoa powder, like cornstarch is very fine and hydrophobic that it doesn’t dissolve well in water. If you don’t mix it with sugar, you might end up with undissolved cocoa lumps.
When it starts to boil again, lower heat and continue to cook until rice starts to expand. Stir occasionally, making sure that the rice don’t stick to the bottom of the pot.
When the porridge becomes thicker, start stirring constantly or more often. Champorado will become thick as the rice expands and when you stop stirring, it will spit and sputter so be careful.
Champorado is cooked when the rice has fully expanded and has turned mushy soft. The porridge will also have a homogenous consistency (and not watery).
If you want to stir in (fresh) milk while cooking, add milk when it is almost done. Give it a good whisk and wait for the porridge to start to boil again. Stir it quickly and turn off the heat. Serve right away if you want it served hot.
Skye Tip: If you allow (fresh) milk to cook or boil longer, it might start to curdle. Although it is safe to eat curdled milk, some find it unappetizing. Alternately you can use evaporated milk or coconut milk and allow them to boil for longer. They don’t curdle as much as fresh milk does. A word of caution though – you don’t want to add coconut milk at the start and allow it to boil for as long as the porridge. Coconut milk turns into oil if subjected to heat for a long time.
Wash glutinous or sticky rice and transfer to Instant Pot. Add all the other ingredients (except milk).
If you are using powdered cocoa, mix the powder first with. As explained above, cocoa doesn’t dissolve easily in water. Moreso if it is added to cold water.
Set the Instant Pot to porridge for 30 minutes. Release the pressure and open the cover.
Skye Tip: I usually turn off the Instant Pot and allow it to cool off for a 10-15 minutes before I release the pressure. (If doing it this way, set it only for 25 minutes on Porridge). If you try to release it right away, the thicker porridge soup spits out too. It is not only messy but it could also burn your flesh.
After opening the pot, the porridge will look watery (see image below). Set the Instant Pot to Soup setting for 1-2 minutes. Stir the porridge until it all comes together.
If you want to mix in (fresh) milk, add it after opening the pot. Give it a good stir then turn it off (do not leave it on as it will sputter as soon as you stop stirring). Alternately, you can ladle champorado into serving bowls then add milk.
Expert Tips and FAQ’s
What does porridge look like?
Porridge can be any grain which includes corn, oats and rice. They are cooked and/or boiled usually in water or milk until the grains have absorbed lots of liquid. They turn soft and mushy and turn into a homogenized mixture with the liquid. Thus, it looks like a creamy thick soup.
What do you eat with champorado?
The Filipino chocolate porridge is traditionally served with dried fish or tuyo. The saltiness of the fish balances the sweetness of the porridge. In our household though, we eat champorado with dinner roll. The bread I believe is more of a palate cleanser (plus carb extender 🙂 ).
Do you need to wash glutinous rice?
Yes, rice should always be washed prior to cooking or steaming. Washing removes debris and surface starch from the rice. For this porridge, you want the chocolate flavour to take centerstage without that starchy (sometimes grainy) undertones.
If you are just doing rice, washing makes rice fluffy and not gummy. It will prevent them from clumping together.
What is Tablea chocolate?
Tablea chocolate in the Philippines are fermented pure cacao beans that are roasted, grounded and formed into balls or tablets. It is both cocoa mass and cocoa liquor from the cacao beans. Many of the tablea in the market these days though are sweetened or have sugar added to it.
Is Tablea and cocoa the same?
No, they are not. Cocoa powder is the dried solids component of cacao beans after cocoa butter or the fatty component is extracted. Tablea, as per above is both the cocoa mass or solids and chocolate liquor. That’s why hot choco from tablea usually appear oily. It still contains cocoa butter (which incidentally provides chocolate it’s melting properties).
What does Tablea taste like?
Tablea actually doesn’t taste chocolaty; it is even bland and tasteless. Although the Tablea available in the Asian or Filipino stores are the sweetened version. Thus, they are grainy and sweet. If you expect it to taste like a chocolate bar, you will be disappointed :(.
For more Filipino Recipes, Check these out:
Can you eat Cacao Tablea?
Most of the tablea that we can find in Filipino or Asian stores are sweetened so yes, it is possible. Although it is not as good as eating chocolate bars as it is more a rustic version. You can taste separately the sugar crystals (it’s a bit grainy) and the bitter chocolaty flavour of cocoa. Fun Story: I ate one pack of Tablea when I was in my teens. I slept for more than 12 hours, and my mom said the chocolate made me sleep. Later on I found out that it was probably a sugar-rush-then-crash scenario.
How long does Tablea last?
If they are stored unopened in a cool dry place, Tablea chocolate can last up to 2 years. The changes in storage temperature and humidity could produce a white powder on the surface of the tablea but it is still safe to eat or cook with it.
They are either sugar bloom or fat bloom. The former is due to moisture. In a more humid environment, the sugar crystals in the surface absorbs moisture. When it evaporates, the sugar crystals resolidify into small crystals that create the dusty or powdery appearance.
The latter is the liquid fat of the cocoa butter that creates gray streaks in the chocolate. This is due to changing temperatures. When it gets warmer, the cocoa butter being fat separates from the rest of the ingredients and rises to the surface. When the fat resolidifies when temperature drops, it appears as whitish or graying streak. The recommended fix for bloomed choco bars is to melt them for drinking chocolate like hot cocoa.
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How to cook Champorado
How to cook Champorado? It doesn't take much for sure. Just five ingredients to enjoy this sweet chocolaty porridge, for breakfast or snack, served hot or cold.
Wash glutinous or sticky rice and transfer to a pot (preferably a deep one).
Add half of the water and bring to a boil over medium heat.
When it starts to boil, add the rest of the water, sugar, salt and the roughly chopped tablea.
Stir until the sugar and tablea are fully dissolved.
When it starts to boil again, lower heat and continue to cook until rice starts to expand.
Stir occasionally, making sure that the rice don't stick to the bottom of the pot.
Champorado will become thick as the rice expands and if you are not stirring, it will spit and sputter so be careful.
It is cooked when the rice has fully expanded and has turned mushy soft. The porridge will also have a homogenous consistency (or not watery).
Add milk and serve hot.
Wash glutinous or sticky rice and transfer to Instant Pot.
Add all the other ingredients. If you are using powdered cocoa, mix the powder first with brown sugar. Cocoa is a very fine powder just like cornstarch and it doesn't dissolve easily in water.
Set the Instant Pot to porridge for 25 minutes. Release the pressure and open the cover.
Set it to Soup setting for 1-2 minutes. Stir the porridge until it all comes together. Turn off the Instant Pot. Serve with milk.
Serving Size 330 grams
- Amount Per Serving
- Calories 275kcal
- Calories from Fat 8kcal
- % Daily Value *
- Total Fat 1g2%
- Saturated Fat 1g5%
- Cholesterol 1mg1%
- Sodium 16mg1%
- Potassium 146mg5%
- Total Carbohydrate 65g22%
- Dietary Fiber 2g8%
- Sugars 32g
- Protein 4g8%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily value may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs. Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption. source: https://nutritiondata.self.com
- Substitute Cocoa Powder if you don't have Chocolate Tablea. Use 1/4 Cocoa powder for 1 recipe or as substitute for 4 tablea.
- Granulated, Light or Dark Brown Sugar can be used depending on personal taste and preference. Substitute 1 is to 1.
- Choice of Milk depends again on personal taste and preference. Fresh, Evaporated, Coconut or even Powdered Milk can be used. See in the blog above for some notes and tips on use of milk.