My Rainy Day Champorado

Typhoon Falcon lorded the skies that morning of June 25. Papa was not able to do the groceries due to the heavy rains the past few days, so mom wanted me to make something out of what we had – sort of my own little invention test. She asked me if we had the things we needed to make champorado. I looked into the old refrigerator where we stock our food supplies. Then I saw that we didn’t have everything but we had a few promising things….

Rice, Sustagen and milk

Rice, Sustagen and milk

Vanilla and Sugar

Vanilla and Sugar


We didn’t have sticky rice but we had leftover japanese rice from two months back, begging to be taken out of its misery. We didn’t have enough chocolate tablets for a decent champorado but we had our staple drink – SUSTAGEN choco. We didn’t have white sugar but we had brown. We didn’t have anchovies so we asked our grandmother down stairs if she had some. Luckily, she did. Here is how I made my Rainy Day Champorado:

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups Japanese rice
6 chocolate tablets
4 tbsp. Sustagen powder
1/2 cup of brown sugar
7 cups of water: 6 1/2 cups of water for rice ; 1/2 cup of warm water for chocolate tablets
condensed milk (optional)
1/2 cup of dried anchovies (dilis)
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract

Boil the water

Boil the water

First, I boiled 7 cups of water. When the water is already hot and before it boils, I take 1/2 cup of water and set it aside. (It’s better to use the boiled water to dissolve the tablets but my mom said it is safer to take the water before it boils)

Dissolve the cocoa

Dissolve the cocoa

Second, I dissolved the choco tablets in the 1/2 cup of hot water that I set aside in the previous step.

Add the rice

Add the rice

Third, I put the japanese rice in the boiling water and let it boil for a few minutes.

Add the cocoa

Add the cocoa

Add the sustagen

Add the sustagen

Fourth, I put the chocolate tablets and the Sustagen powder in the boiling water and stirred continuously for 12-18 minutes.

Add the sugar

Add the sugar

Fifth, I put the brown sugar.
Sixth, I added vanilla extract.

Cook the dilis

Cook the dilis


Seventh, I pan fried the anchovies.
Serve

Serve

Finally, I placed the champorado on a bowl and put condensed milk and anchovies on top.

TIP: next time make sure to mash the chocolate tablets because it’s going to take a long time to melt.

My family started to assemble on the dining table before I was done cooking.
As we devoured the chocolate dish in front of us, Typhoon Falcon kept on pounding our rooftops, sending some amount of rain beside our dining table, through the holes on the metal sheet which covered our heads. It was something we’d shrug off, and maybe forget when the sun comes out again, then remember once again when rain comes pouring in on the next typhoon that comes along.

But that hardly matters specially this morning, as the family feasted on that delightful, makeshift champorado I started to cook 30 minutes ago.

As these things went on in my mind, I reached for the pot for a second serving, but just like everybody else, was disappointed to see that everything was gone in about 5 minutes. My mom had the least amount, as always, serving everybody else before herself.

The weather was cold and damp, but I felt warm and full. It might be because we still had a roof on our heads, when others were not as fortunate. Maybe it was the champorado that magically came to be out of nothing. Most definitely, it was the family , imperfect as it was, that took away the stormy feeling that pounded my spirit in the weeks before.

Celebration of Filipino Flavors by Chefs Jackie and Roland Laudico

We were on vacation at Diamond Hotel for Father’s Day weekend,  but I ended up having  fever that morning. Not only was I sick, I was also feeling down lately because of certain events that week. To add to that, I knew I would be unable to go swimming that day, although I had been excited about it since last week. Then my father told me that Chefs Roland and Jackie Laudico  will be holding a lunch and dinner buffet downstairs at Corniche, titled Celebration of Filipino Flavors.

Me and Chef Roland Laudico

Me and Chef Roland Laudico

My mom said my face lighted up all at once. I had met Chef Roland Laudico previously and ended up a fan of his. I knew I had to see him. At the elevator heading downstairs, my mom said he might be really busy so we must not expect him to see us.

The superstar that he is, Chef Laudico spared us a moment of his time by meeting us at the entrance to the buffet. I was extremely happy to see him. He even wrote me  a note on the flyer for his buffet which we got at the concierge. Mom was so happy that he kissed him on the cheek too.

That afternoon , we decided to partake of his dinner buffet – all 7 of us- my mom and papa, and us 5 kids. We did not have  reservations so the waitress said she could not accomodate us. Then the manager showed up and asked for 60 seconds to get us a table. And he did- in only 45!

I was very happy about this. As a bonus, we found not only Chef Roland Laudico, but also his wife, Chef Jackie Laudico behind us at the entrance, to whom we said our hello’s with delight.

Lumpia in a glass

Lumpia in a glass

As expected, it was Filipino food galore…..but with exciting twists here and there. My first and what turns out to be my  favorite dish was the delicious grilled vegetables spring roll. The skin is crispy and its flavor of its filling, traditional but very much more exciting than the regular lumpia. Maybe it’s the  presentation. The spring roll was shaped like  an ice cream cone, and inserted  in a small glass, with the  vinegar placed right under it. Hey, it comes in different varieties too.

Scallop kilawin

Scallop kilawin

There were other compelling appetizers as well – the  scallop kilawin,  conveniently already sitting on a white spoon, and the inasal wrap, sealed with a toothpick , which you can quickly munch upon while deciding which dish to devour first.

Inasal wrap

Inasal wrap

I also ate mixed seafood, chicken teriyaki, vegetable curry, goan curry, chorizo with mushroom spring roll, chocolate tart and japanese fried rice. The mixed seafood had mussels and shrimp, which I loved. The chicken teriyaki has a subtle taste , so my thoughts were to add a  little salt.  However, I do prefer the juicier chicken parts like the wing and thighs so I found it  a little dry for me  . The vegetable curry had a thick sauce, and the vegetables are crunchy. The goan curry had  fish fillet and a spicy, thick sauce. It was too spicy for my taste buds so I was unable to finish it. But I know my grandpa would have loved its raw spiciness.

I also liked the chorizo with mushrooms. The subtle taste of the mushrooms complement the richness of the chorizo.

Tender, suckling pig

Tender, suckling pig

The lechon de leche was interesting because it was lighter in color than the regular lechon we buy often. My papa says it is probably cooked in milk. I did not get to taste it but mom and my siblings loved its crispy skin, and soft meat. My little sister only wished there was more fat! There were a lot of sauces to choose from:  bistek sauce, bicol express , taba ng talangka, among them.

Roast Duck and Beef

Roast Duck and Beef

I tried the  roasted beef and duck.  The roast beef is soft and juicy  and  it also has its own sauce. The duck is tender and has a crunchy skin. My papa feasted on the duck all night!

Mini Halo Halo

Mini Halo Halo

Tart, Deconstructed sans rival and yema balls

Tart, Deconstructed sans rival and yema balls

I had chocolate tart for dessert.  It had a simple but charming  presentation, with a tart base, chocolate filling in the middle and chocolate shavings on top. It was, overall,  a delicious tart . The deconstructed sans rival was a welcome surprise , since  I hadn’t eaten any deconstructed dish in my life. The mini halo halo looked cute because it is served on a 3 inch tall glass,  with a few beans and  jello at the bottom and a small serving of ube and leche flan on top. The size is just right – for one must leave space for a buffet with so many other delectable desserts to feast on.

Filipino Desserts

Filipino Desserts

Traditional Filipino desserts

Traditional Filipino desserts

The service was excellent, too. Our plates were quickly replaced and our water was refilled once the glass is half full.  Chefs Roland and Jackie were hands -on. They were carving the meat, refilling the dessert buffet, and even entertaining guests like they probably would at their private dinner parties.  It added a warmth to the occasion that money can’t buy.

Celebration of Filipino Flavors exhibits the joy of the Philippine fiesta. The atmosphere was bright and  festive. The food was everything Filipino, but so much more. It brought to my tummy that night, what Filipino spirit lingered in the air as the nation celebrated Jose Rizal‘s 150th birth anniversary.

Sombreros off to you, Chefs Jackie and Roland Laudico!

Here are my ratings:

Kid friendliness- 4
Food – 5
Place -5
Service – 5

Ratings Guide:

1- mediocre
2- fairly satisfactory
3- good
4- great
5- excellent

The rest of the gang gave an average  of 5 points  for food, service , place and kid-friendliness.

Thanks for reading my blog. Bye!