Tsokolate or Filipino hot chocolate is unadorned. No whipped cream, marshmallows or sweet syrups to hide behind. Made with just milk and tablea or cocoa tablets, it is what chocolate purists dream of. It’s quick, easy, delicious and sure to lift your spirits!
(Tsokolate goes really well with suman – sticky rice cakes wrapped in banana leaves. It also goes well with pandesal (Filipino bread rolls) and ensaymada (Filipino sweet cheesy brioche!)
Over the holidays we saw a slew of incredible hot chocolate drinks invade our screens, all of them equally luxurious and divine. Some had marshmallows on top of whipped cream on top of ice cream on top of brownies. They were amazing!
That’s what the holidays are for after all. Once a year we reward ourselves with delightful things that we can then dream about the whole year.
This is not that kind of hot chocolate though.
Filipino hot chocolate or tsokolate (pronounced cho-co-lah-teh) is simple, muted, like that hug you need on a particularly dreary winter day, after a nasty time at work, when all you want to do is sit and read a book (preferably a cookbook with nice photos).
Tsokolate is the perfect winter drink
Last weekend we heard words like “arctic air”, “extreme cold weather alert” and “icy road conditions” thrown around. There was not much snow where I was but the temperature dipped to -20C (-4F).
You’d think living in Canada all these years I’d be used to this by now but understand that I grew up in the tropics so I always find myself feeling personally offended by winter (I mean, the wind hurts me face!).
Enter tsokolate. Now that makes me feel better about my eyeballs feeling cold.
Filipino hot chocolate all year
Truth be told, I drink hot chocolate all year. Yes, even in the summer. Weird? I think not. It’s chocolate, it’s delicious, and I drink it somewhere air-conditioned.
I mean, why do coffee drinkers get their hot coffee all year and I’m judged when I have my hot chocolate? Why am I getting so angry? I blame winter lol.
Where to buy tsokolate tablea
Anyway, back to this tsokolate recipe – there really is nothing simpler. The hardest part is getting hold of good quality tablea (here’s an example of what they look like).
I usually buy a stash when I go home to Manila or I ask (nicely) that someone bring back a few packages for me. No worries though; you can also find good ones in Filipino or Asian stores (and there’s always Amazon).
Some are better than others (i.e. chocolatier and purer) but your recipe testing is sure to be a delicious one!
How to make tsokolate from tablea
Tsokolate is traditionally made by whisking the tablea in milk with a batidor or wooden whisk that kind of looks like a honey dipper but more intense (something like this).
Imagine little Filipino grandmas beating the life out of a tablea with a batidor they probably inherited from their own grandmas. Now those are epic tsokolate.
Be warned though: no matter how vigorously you whisk you will get some bits of cocoa in your drink – tsokolate is traditionally slightly gritty (I love that about it) but you can strain your hot chocolate if you prefer a smoother drink
However you decide to have your mug of Filipino hot chocolate, you’re sure to feel better about your day. Let’s get through winter together!
What goes well with tsokolate?
In addition to suman, pandesal and ensaymada, tsokolate would also be perfect with:
- Light, flaky and easy-to-make classic buttermilk scones. They’re ready in 15 minutes!
- And with this delightful Meyer lemon ricotta pound cake. Sweet and salty, soft and moist, it doesn’t need any frosting! It’s that good.
How to Make Tsokolate (Filipino Hot Chocolate)
- 6 pcs sweetened tsokolate tablea roughly chopped
- 2 12-oz cans evaporated milk
- In a medium saucepan on medium heat, whisk 6 tsokolate tablea in evaporated milk until dissolved.
- Transfer to mugs. Serve warm.
- The tablea I get is usually sweetened so there is no need for sugar or other sweeteners in this drink. They are available unsweetened though and it's quite bitter. Check before purchasing.
- For a smoother drink, strain the tsokolate through a fine mesh strainer before serving.
Did you make tsokolate (Filipino hot chocolate)? Tell me about it in the comments section below. I’d love to hear all about it.
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(This post was updated on 9 January 2019.)