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
- 1 tbsp oil
- 100 grams onion, sliced
- 2 tsp minced garlic
- 5 inch ginger, crushed and sliced
- 1 kg chicken, cut into parts
- 165 grams (1 cup) rice, uncooked
- 6 cups water or broth
- fish sauce or salt, to taste
- pepper, to taste
- hard boiled eggs
- spring onion, chopped
- fried minced garlic
- fried shallots
- calamansi (lime)
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat the oil and saute the onion, garlic, and ginger until fragrant.
- Add the chicken and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the rice and the water. Stir to avoid the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- Lower the heat and cover the pot.
- Allow to simmer, scraping the bottom of the pot once in a while.
- Cook until the rice starts to break down, about 1 hour. Add more water as necessary. The arroz caldo will thicken considerably.
- Season with fish sauce or salt. Add pepper to taste.
- Serve with the toppings.
- I checked the arroz caldo every so often while it was cooking. The rice tends to stick to the bottom and burn.
- I added some ginger powder before cooking the chicken. You can opt not to and you can even lessen the amount of ginger used in the recipe.
- Method: Boiling
- Cuisine: Filipino
Keywords: arroz caldo