I just got back from Argentina and guess what I ate after being overseas for 3 months? A vegan & gluten-free frozen meal: Amy’s Rice Macaroni & Cheeze. November is going to be a crazy busy month for us – Philly in a week, Seattle in 2 weeks, and a few Portland trips and of course, American Thanksgiving!
Today, I would like to share a breakfast dish that I recently made: Champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Porridge) with Salted Tofu Chips. Champorado is a Filipino chocolate rice porridge with a thick, rich consistency that is delicious hot or cold and usually prepared for breakfast but also frequently consumed throughout the day. During my first visit to the Philippines last year, I had the opportunity to try a vegan version of Champorado at Pipino Vegetarian in Manila that was topped with “salted tofu chips.”
Traditionally Champorado is served with salted dried fish, locally known as tuyo. While salted tofu works as an excellent vegan alternative, one could also substitute savory king mushrooms or seaweed for the salty compliment to the rich chocolatey Champorado. It is that salty and sweet combination that makes this dish distinctively Filipino. If you are not a fan of salty and sweet combinations, then champorado can also be enjoyed as a sweet porridge topped with coconut cream and mint. Of course, whether you are experiencing warm weather or cold weather right now, this porridge is just perfect for your climate. As a side note, in Spanish, it is also spelled as champurrado.
Look at these packed pineapples in the colorful Jeepneys! Do you know that Jeepneys were originally made from U.S. military jeeps left over from World War II (according to Wikipedia)?
For tofu chips, cut pressed firm tofu into 1/8-inch thin slices or triangles (see above photo). Season the tofu slices sparingly with sea salt to taste. In a deep sauce pan, warm 1-2 inches of oil over high heat. Fry tofu for two minutes on each side until golden brown, then drain them on paper towels. Let the fried tofu rest on a wire rack set over a baking pan or sheet. Repeat until all the tofu slices are fried.
Rinse and swirl the rice around in water. Change water and repeat until the water runs clear. Drain rice through a sieve.
In a medium-size, heavy-bottom pot over high heat, pour 2 ½ cups water and one cup unsweetened dairy-free milk. Heat until mixture starts to boil. Add the rice, stirring occasionally for 10-12 minutes or until softened and sticky.
In a medium bowl, sift the cocoa powder and sugar into the bowl. Gradually add ½ cup coconut milk and stir completely. Pour the rest to the pot.
Add the remaining coconut milk and mix continuously until the rice takes on a creamy consistency.
Transfer the champorado to a serving bowl or dish. Drizzle the coconut cream decoratively over them. Add few mint leaves and few salty tofu chips for garnish. Serve immediately.
* Glutinous or sweet rice allows for a better texture. I used Koda Farms Sho-Chiku-Bai Sweet Rice. If you don’t have glutinous rice, you may use plain white rice or brown rice.
** I don't like to use canned coconut cream due to a slightly funky smell. I used Aroy-D 100% coconut cream (in a carton) for the authentic flavor. They are available at the Asian supermarkets.
Don't like Tofu? While salted tofu works as an excellent vegan alternative, one could also substitute savory king mushrooms or seaweed for the salty compliment to the rich chocolatey Champorado. If you are not a fan of salty and sweet combinations, then champorado can also be enjoyed as a sweet porridge topped with coconut cream and mint.
I am clearly obsessed with the decorative Jeepneys, a popular mode of transport in the Philippines.
During my first visit to the Philippines last year, a friend made us vegan champorado (Filipino Chocolate Rice Porridge) with coconut milk and cocoa powder, and a lovely banana-pineapple smoothie. It was beyond filling for breakfast!