20 August 2007

Chocolate and Pear Tendon

Champorado is sweet chocolate rice porridge that is definitely one of those childhood treats, and never fails to take me back to times when the rain was pouring so hard that classes would be suspended and you'd be served a hot bowl, topped liberally with swirls of condensed milk, with the can of milk next to you so you could sneak in a few spoonfuls in between chocolate porridge. It's a miracle that I survived such blatant disregard for my metabolism, but now this guy wants his guilty pleasures to grow up with him. So, we eat the champorado with the sugar built in, and no milk (condensed or otherwise) added. The popular partner of champorado is tuyo (literally "dry"), which is small, dried, salted fish split in two. No thanks. I'm taking a cue from Pierre Hermé and making a dessert donburi. I hope I get points for presentation alone. I even served it with maple syrup, to resemble the usual tempura sauce, which turned out to be a perfect foil for the pears. (Instructions follow)
Pear Tempura with Chocolate Rice Porridge
Take 1 cup of glutinous, or malagkit (literally "sticky") rice (I suppose this would be arborio or any other very starchy rice) and place in a heavy-bottomed saucepan with 4 cups water. Bring to a boil over low heat (the rice will start to become translucent), then stir in 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa and 1/2 cup sugar (or to taste); alternatively you could use sweetened cocoa. Continue cooking, stirring constantly to avoid scorching, for 6-8 minutes or until the rice is tender.

For the pears, I had a bit of a problem. The varieties being sold-- I'm not sure if they were all Korean-- were all approximately spherical in shape. The classic pear shape would have worked better masquerading as ebi tempura. Anyway, peel the pears, cut each into 8 wedges, remove the cores, then batter in an equal volume (1 cup to 1 cup) mixture of instant tempura batter mix and ice water (I believe this is about an 8:5 ratio of water to tempura mix by weight). I had a problem with the batter slipping off the pear slices, which might be remedied by dredging the pear slices lightly in flour before dipping in the batter, but instead I just went ahead and deep-fried them in 350°F (180°C) oil, then battered them again and fried them again. It's not a big deal as frying them only takes 2 minutes, until they reach your desired level of golden-ness.

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