recipes that are simple and delicious.
Arroz caldo. Now that’s a funky name isn’t it? If you know any Spanish, then you would know this as rice soup. As I asked my wife, “did you guys grow up eating arroz caldo?”, she seemed confused and never heard of it. I said “C’mon, you’re Filipino and never heard of arroz caldo, you know that chicken and rice porridge?”. It then clicked with her and she said “Oh, you mean soft chicken and rice?”. I guess that is how my mother-in-law coined it back in the day while she was growing up, but let’s just stick with arroz caldo. Many of you might know this as congee, or some other rice porridge as many nationalities have a dish very similar to this recipe.
See, to me, arroz caldo just screams comfort. You can go ahead and wipe the idea of bad porridge from your memory. There is something about arroz caldo that is something wonderful. It could be that it has that awesome savoriness to it, and while loaded within ginger and garlic, among other simple ingredients, it just warms the soul. So this past week, as it was a bit cold and rainy, I decided to make my wife arroz caldo, or what she knows as soft chicken and rice.
Let’s get started.
So you have a couple of options here. You can do as I did and make your own stock, or you can use store bought. It’s up to you. If you make your own stock, just go ahead and throw in an extra onion, some garlic, celery, a carrot, and the chicken parts into a stock pot. Cover with water, and cook for about four hours. Skim off any of the foamy garbage that floats to the top during that process.
The broth will reduce down a bit. Remove the chicken pieces, set aside, and let cool. Once cooled, pull it apart, and keep in tact any of the wings or drummies. Thigh and breast meat can be pulled. Strain the broth.
Next, heat the oil into a large pot. Add in the onion, garlic, and ginger, and cook for about 7-10 minutes, or until the onions are fully sweated.
Next, toss in the chicken and give a good stir.
Toss in the uncooked rice, and give that a good stir.
Add in the chicken stock, fish sauce, and soy sauce and give that a good stir. Cover, and simmer for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is softened.
When you are ready to serve, ladle some into your bowl, top with the fried garlic, chives, and drizzle with chili oil.
The result is a delicious and ever so comforting bowl of arroz caldo. You get the softness of the rice that is balanced with the chicken, and those crunchy bits of garlic… Need I say more? Whether you call this arroz caldo or soft chicken and rice, make it. It’s amazing.