"Food embodies the culture from which it developed. To know a culture, one can start with food."
For their part, Filipino food bloggers the world over will launch on Ninoy Aquino Day the first Lasang Pinoy Food Blogging Event which aims to bring attention to Filipino food. Just like how Ninoy had much faith in the Filipino, enough to die for us, we are proud to be Filipinos.
1983 - 1984
When is one old enough to remember things? I was 13 years old in 1983 and since Lasang Pinoys aims to take us back to those years I will do much as what my memory serves me. In 1983, other than the assassination of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, all these events leading to these years are crucial to our lives that eventually led us to leave the country.
My mother; my sister Tara and I. Photo taken June 1984 the month we arrived in Greece.
Life wasn’t easy those years. Economically we were hard up, raised by a single mother, hers was the only source income. My mother worked few nights a week at the university teaching college mathematics. When I say single parent because my father “left” us in 1973 on political grounds.
As far as I could remember I would sometimes make champorado for my sister and myself when I could not think of anything more to cook. We always eat champorado with dried or fried fish. My sister probably had enough of rice porridge that she once said LUGAW LUGAW LANG KAY POBRE MAN…
My mother used to tell me that the secret of good champorado is patience. Slow cooking, continous stirring so the rice and the cocoa wont separate, until the rice becomes mushy.
TABLEA Photo by
I do not have a recipe for this comfort food. I cooked mine out of my memory and from my own estimates. As you see many times when I cook I do not measure. But for this one
1) wash a cup of rice
2) put water on a pot around 3 cups to start with you might need more as the volume of the rice expands
3) Bring to boil stir once in a while, but lower the heat once it boils.
4) At this stage you must stir continuously
5) Add cocoa powder (add gradually so you can control it I love mine dark so I use more than the usual but also this depends on the quality of your cocoa)
If I were in the Philippines I would use TABLIYA it’s the round coco you get at the market.
6) Add sugar and stir (sugar depends on how sweet you want your champorado)
I use PANOCHA to sweeten mine.
7) Add more water if necessary and simmer for a while until the mixture thickens and the rice soft.
For those who love condensed milk over their champorado make sure yours is not so sweet.
Thickness of the champorado may vary I do not like mine so watery.
8)Serve with a drizzle of condensed milk and eat with dried fish (oh I wish, but I cooked this aboard the my work)
What dried fish I love then was what we called PUTPUT in cebuano dialect its flat small fish, maybe some of you readers can help me find the tagalog or English word for this.
Overview: My Kiwi colleague was hesitant at the look of chocolate rice mixture, but at the end the lovely aroma and the sense of adventures made him ask for bowl. He enjoyed it.
A Filipina friend of mine here in Cannes rang me up and asked me what I was up to.
"Ano champorado, eh kay tagal na ako di na kakain ng ganyan. Ginutom mo ako Sha"
Since we are talking about food here and the days of martial law, the PANOCHA brings me back to my Lolo’s panocha factory in Tacloban ( yes I have a waray blood in me, my mothers paternal family roots back to Burauen,Leyte with some distant family in Samar).
In the 1980s it was part of our holiday routine to spend time with them, Tacloban is only few days stop nothing much to do for us kids there, but that was the peak time of my Lolo’s (my Lolo's bro actually) business. I would go up the first floor of the house and from there I get a vantage point the big vat of boiling coconut processed into panocha. The mixture poured into moulds and once cool down wrapped with those yellow cellophane papers.
And to think those panocha will reach the remote villages in Samar. I remember this well enough when a pump boat arrives from either from Tacloban or some other cities of Samar.
Oh heaven basic necessities , few junks for us kids arrive and those shiny wrapped panocha are hung just above the window of the sari sari store.
Those years when the island of Samar was the war zone between the NPA and the Philippine Military, and it wasn’t unsual to hear gossip among the elders the recent raids, ambushes. Life was harder in the villages and I thought we were so poor to eat champorado while our distant family were actually just boiling rice with panocha without the cocoa!
Political thoughts during this time.
Ninoy Aquino was shot dead. I really can't remember where I was but I do remember we talked a lot about it at school, though some of us were apolitical we were also hope that his untimely death will finally put an end to the Marcos regime. Who doesn’t forget those photos of him and Galman lying on the hot tarmac?
I cannot remember much of the rallies happening in Cebu but my memory was of my uncles in Manila joining the march calling for the end of the dictatorship and justice for Aquino’s death.
The youth in Pasig where my Lola’s home was were all very active, I knew that time they had clandestine meetings (oh those hush hush talks.
We kept shy not because we do not want to but because ever since the year of 1973 my family had always been under surveillance. To make this story short, my father was a lawyer during those years and had been politically active to call for the downfall of the Marcos regime.
The political turmoil of the country led us to Greece in June 1984.
I dedicate this post to my late mother Julietta for all her courage and strength, for all the sacrifices she went through yet remained strong and guided us for what my sister and I are of today.