Arroz Caldo is considered a comfort food in my family’s home and was considered a staple whenever a sniffle would appear. Its origins are from the familiar Chinese congee (rice porridge) but modified by Filipinos to suit the tastes of the Spanish conquistadors that ruled over the Philippines for well beyond three centuries. It may resemble another Filipino dish known as Lugaw, but the primary difference is the addition of chicken and other garnishes.
The version presented here is the same recipe that was used by my Lola (Grandma) and similar to the one used by my Tatay (Father). It triggers a strong food memory for me of coming home from school and being able to get a taste of this warm and satisfying dish, especially on a cold night.
Arroz Caldo with Manok
1 cup of jasmine rice
1 ½ lbs | 0.54 kg skinless chicken thighs
1 in | 2.54 cm cube of ginger
2 cloves | 10 g garlic
1 small onion
2 tbsp | 30 ml cooking oil
2 tbsp | 30 ml patis (fish sauce)
6 cups | 1.42 l water
2 boiled eggs
1 tbsp | 15 g fried garlic for garnish
1 lemon or calamansi (Filipino citrus fruit)
2 stalks green onion
- Rinse chicken thighs in water and pat dry.
- Cut the chicken thighs into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
- Peel the ginger and slice it into matchsticks.
- Peel and chop the small onion.
- Finely chop the garlic cloves.
- Heat oil in six-quart non-stick cooking pot till shimmering.
- Sauté the garlic, ginger, and onion in the cooking oil until aromatic.
- Add the chicken and season with the patis, cover and allow to simmer for three to five minutes.
- Add the jasmine rice and water stirring all ingredients together to avoid rice sticking to the sides of the pot, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the temperature to a simmer.
- Continue to cook for approximately thirty minutes or until the chicken and rice are thoroughly cooked. (It should resemble a porridge when done.)
- Serve hot in a bowl garnished with chopped green onion, fried garlic, two egg quarters, and lemon or calamansi on the side.
- If you are pressed for time, substitute in a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken and reduce the simmer time in step 3 to one minute to combine flavors, then proceed with the remainder of the recipe.