When I was a kid, there was a lady who sold arroz caldo every day in her makeshift stall. It wasn’t much to write home about but it made for a good breakfast standby.
For 5 pesos, you’d get a bowl of watery arroz caldo and half a slice of hardboiled egg. If you chose to eat it on the spot, you even get complimentary toyo (soy sauce) and calamansi (lime). All in all a good deal.
Arroz caldo is a Filipino porridge made with rice and chicken and slow cooked in a ginger-rich broth. It’s rather like lugaw (plain rice porridge) but on steroids. As with many Filipino dishes, the name is derived from the Spanish. Caldo means hot and arroz, of course, means rice. Interestingly, the people from my hometown still use the term caldo to refer to hot broth.
What’s in my bowl?
Aside from the requisite chicken pieces, arroz caldo is also served with hard boiled eggs, chopped spring onions, freshly cracked peppercorns, and fried garlic. In my version of arroz caldo, I topped it with fried shallots instead of garlic.
When making arroz caldo it’s important to note that it needs a whole lot of h2O. Water is essential in slow cooking the rice until it starts to lose its shape and turns a bit mushy. I prefer the congee-like texture to the gruel version.
It takes time to turn uncooked rice to gooey congee (and a whole lot of water top-ups) but it definitely is worth it. Oh, and don’t forget to watch the pot while cooking and make sure to scrape the bottom of the pot from time to time to avoid burning the rice.
In addition to using numerous cups of water, I also added more than the usual amount of ginger and added ginger powder on top of it. What can I say? I love ginger. And ginger’s healthy, right?
Did you know that in my province we don’t use patis (fish sauce) to flavor this? As a rule, we use the local patis (toyo) in place of patis Tagalog (patis). I stayed true to my roots in this instance.
Here’s what’s in my bowl ??! Happy slurping!Print