Vanilla Champurrado; Rice Porridge with Soft Bananas and Salted Chopped Almonds
By Karena Apollonya Ebora Higgins
JAYSUS! It’s FRESSING! I know folks in other parts of the country are laughing at this statement, but HELLO, I’m a spoiled So Cal lady. I’m not used the temps going below 65 degrees. Because of this unseasonably, yet seasonably cold weather, I decided to make something to warm me from the inside out, champurrado. Champurrado, the Filipino version, is chocolate rice porridge. It’s usually eaten for breakfast or as a snack. When eaten in the Philippines, Tuyo, salted dried fish, is the preferred condiment. I can’t say that I’ve ever eaten it this way, but I can understand why some people do. The combination of chocolate, sugar, rice and milk with dashes of sodium makes sense. I’ve developed two alternative versions of this popular AM food.
The first recipe, Chocolate Champurrado with Salted Coconut Flakes, is a newer fresher take on this old school favorite. This version incorporates mellow chocolate almond milk as its’ base, short grain white rice, a hit of flavor enhancing instant espresso and pure vanilla extract. Slightly toasted, over salted coconut flakes were substituted for the traditional accompaniment and garnish. The sweet, salty, creamy, nutty, milky flavors are a perfect contrasting balance.
The second recipe, Vanilla Champurrado with Soft Bananas and Salted Almonds omits chocolate all together. Because I incorporated an actual vanilla bean pod to the rice cooking process, it is not a subtle background flavor. The banana’s “citric sourness” is compliments the uncomplicated ingredients. The sweet risotto-like treat is fragrant, richer and fruitier. The saltiness of the chopped almonds adds a layer of texture and crunch to the dish.
Chocolate Champurrado with Salted Coconut Flakes
1 cup short grain white rice
1 cup water
2 cups chocolate almond milk
½ cup hot water
1 teaspoon instant espresso
½ teaspoon of salt
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups Bob’s Coconut Flakes
½ tablespoon salt
Directions For Chocolate Rice:
In sauce medium sauce pan, pour 1 cup of water, 1 cup of chocolate almond milk and 1 cup of rice. Bring to a boil. Lower to medium heat and stir. Stir rice for 5 minutes. Rice should start to thicken. Stir in remaining 1 cup of chocolate almond milk and salt. Stir frequently for the next 15 minutes.
Add espresso to ½ cup of hot water. Add this mixture to the simmering pot of rice. Continue stirring until rice is tender. Remove from heat, add vanilla and stir. Pour mixture into dish. Garnish with Coconut Flakes.
Directions for Coconut Flake:
In small non stick pan, turn heat to medium and add coconut flakes and salt. Heat until coconut flakes start to turn light brown and smell fragrant. Be careful not to burn. Remove from heat and cool. Add atop cooked sweet rice mixture.
Serve warm with drizzle your choice of milk.
Vanilla Champurrado with Soft Bananas and Chopped Almonds
1 cup rice
1 cup water
2 cups coconut milk beverage
1/2 teaspoon salt
Vanilla bean pod
1 ripened sliced banana
1/2 cup chopped almonds, salted
1/2 teaspoon salt
In medium saucepan, pour in 1 cup water 1 cup coconut milk, rice and salt. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and begin stirring, every few minutes, for up to 10 minutes. Rice should begin to soften and thicken. Add remaining coconut milk and vanilla. Stir another 10 minutes. Stir in sliced banana. Remove from heat. Cool down. Pour into dish. Add chopped almonds and salt to garnish. Serve warm with your choice of milk.