Do you ever feel behind the 8-ball?
Now that I have a teenager and 2 other middle schoolers in my house, I do… on a daily basis. Up until about a year ago, I thought I was pretty cool and up-to-date. Now, I find out that “cool” isn’t even a cool word! “Nobody uses that anymore!,” states a member of my household in the “under-15” age category, unable to bring herself to say the word. I finally caught onto “EPIC!”… only to be informed last week that it is also OUT. I was not, however, informed of the cooler, more-epic replacement word… because, you know, I might use it in front of her friends.
But I’ll tell you, I feel even more “behind” in my blog than I do with my teenagers. I knew I was late to the game, but oh, I cannot catch UP! Every cool and epic new food that I’ve been experimenting with and want to post, I find has already been posted 185 times per week for the last 6 months. Just check Pintrest! At least I am on Pintrest…
I could let myself be discouraged by this, but I’m not that type. I also have a the unique situation of living in a Southeast Asian country, with its own traditional foods and delicacies, combined with my culinary curiosity and professional tendency to “health-ify” whenever I can.
Enter champorado. This Filipino breakfast dish is made from white sticky rice cooked with water, tablea chocolate (a rich, smoky, local dark chocolate- it’s delicious!), and lots of sugar, and served with additional evaporated or sweetened condensed milk and often tuyo, which are small, salted dried fish, for that total umami experience.
It’s decadent, chocolatey, and delicious. However, it’s also high in sugar and saturated fat, and low in fiber. I decided to try a healthier version that would give that same rich, chocolatey experience of the original. I used rolled oats instead of white rice, and homemade almond milk instead of full-cream evaporated milk. Oats are whole grain, high in fiber, and low on the glycemic index, meaning they will not spike your blood sugar after you eat them. Almond milk has no saturated fat or cholesterol, and my homemade version contains no added sugar, unlike sweetened condensed milk. I also added chia seeds to my recipe for the nutritional boost of protein, fiber, omega-3 fatty acids, and calcium. (And who doesn’t need all that in the morning??) I replaced the tablea (delicious though it is) with unsweetened cocoa powder, to further lower the fat content and increase the fiber.
My champorado smelled so good as it simmered that I could hardly wait for it to stand while I prepped the toppings! I wanted to dive right into it! I decided to forgo the usual tuyo and recommend something a little more familiar to the Western palate: dried cranberries, chopped almonds, and unsweetened coconut. Instead of sweetened condensed milk, I spooned a bit of coconut milk over the top.
It was decadent.
It was chocolatey.
It was delicious.
It was epic!
I dare you to make it.