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More on Muron!

By Pamela Eyre Victoria R. Lira|

Illustration by Hillary Cindy Lira (@liraheyria). Region 8’s chocolate moron: a sweet local pride that leaves you wanting more!

In an Eastern Visayan fiesta, there’s three kinds of food that will have anyone eagerly racing to the feast table. First is the timeless lechon, second the lumpia with its mystery filling and finally, the darling of them all: chocolate moron. Once you peel through its greasy wrap, the coconut milk’s richness binds the rice flour in a soft, sticky goodness with an eye-catching swirl that melts in the mouth and leaves a sweet, sandy aftertaste. As if that isn’t enough, the peanuts are a surprise factor that gives you something chunky to chew on.

Moron is a native delicacy similar to suman, but with extra steps and twists –not surprising since we’re the same people who improvised dozens of ways to cook canned sardines post-Yolanda. Point is, making moron has been a passed tradition here among locals with their own unique variations. Thankfully, my titas and lolas let me in with their classic recipe.

To start, a cup of regular and glutinous rice flour, malagkit as its more commonly known, are mixed in a bowl. This rice mixture is set in a pan with a cup each of the tres marias of every Philippine delicacy: white sugar, coconut milk and evaporated milk. A dash of vanilla is thrown for the flavors to pop then everything is stirred in medium heat until a thick, smooth texture is achieved.

Of course, it wouldn’t be chocolate moron without, well, chocolate! These days market-bought cocoa powder would usually do, but nothing would beat the traditional way of cocoa fruits being harvested, roasted and ground to yield the cocoa powder. A cup of it along with evaporated milk, coconut milk and brown sugar would be added to a new batch of the previous rice mixture and blended to the same consistency.

Once both are cooled, a dollop of the rice and chocolate mixture are joined together at a two to one ratio log on preheated banana leaves basted with margarine or butter. Bits of peanuts or cheese can be added before it is rolled fashionably and secured with a string. After a half an hour steam, it’s now ready to grace tables or be sold on streets.

One can never say they’ve been to Samar, Leyte or Biliran if they haven’t indulged in these goodies. Chocolate moron has become a staple dessert for every fiesta and celebration alike. It can be simply consumed as a lovely daytime snack while some adults even wash it down with tuba, our trademark coconut wine, which gets them brave enough to sing karaoke off-key with tipsy smiles on their faces. In bus terminals and markets, there’s always that one vendor who’ll convince you to buy them as pasalubong. You’d know you lost the battle to temptation once you get a taste of that sampler and dig in your pockets to purchase the sweet treats.

With flavor as rich as Eastern Visayas’ culture, chocolate moron will indeed have you craving for more and more!