How to Make Arroz Caldo or Filipino Rice Congee

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While eating is inarguably the most delightful experience, a country’s cuisine goes beyond its taste and texture. Behind each recipe is a story that’s rooted in culture and tradition. For one, the flavours of Filipino cuisine have a rich historical background. You’ll find that the Southeast Asian nation has traded cooking customs with different countries all around the world — from Spain and China, to even India and the United States of America.

A beautiful representation of the country’s culinary fusion is its comfort dish called arroz caldo, which is Spanish for “rice broth.” Despite the origins of the name, it was introduced by Chinese traders who visited the country before the Spanish colonisation. That’s why it’s sticky texture resembles the Chinese rice porridge dish congee. In a classic bowl of arroz caldo, you’ll find warm rice porridge served with soft chicken slices, sliced hard-boiled eggs, spring onions, and roasted garlic. Plus, many Filipinos tend to squeeze in a piece of calamansi — a tiny citrus fruit that’s similar to a lime in flavour — to add a tangy touch.

Filipinos find this dish to be most comforting when the weather’s gloomy or when they’re not feeling well. Fortunately, it’s fairly easy for anyone to prepare and enjoy. The best rice cookers will let you enjoy a hearty, warm bowl with just a few presses. Just keep in mind that the process and waiting time may slightly differ, depending on the rice that you use. If you prefer rice that has a sticky glutinous texture, it’s best to use jasmine rice in your recipe. To make your own delicious bowl of arroz caldo, here’s what you need to know.


Arroz Caldo
Total Time: 1 hour

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Calories:275 (1 bowl)

Servings: 6

Ingredients

– 250 gm chicken, boneless

– 1 cup of preferred rice

– 6 cups of chicken broth

– 4 cloves of garlic, minced

– 1 small onion, finely chopped

– 1/2 cup of ginger, minced

– 1 tablespoon of fish sauce

– 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
Garnish

– 1/4 cup of spring onion, chopped

– 2 cloves of garlic, minced

– 3 pieces of calamansi

– 3 boiled eggs, sliced


Steps
1. First, heat up a large pot with the vegetable oil and place the onions, ginger, and garlic. Let them cook until they become aromatic.

2. Put the chicken inside the pot over medium-low heat.

3. In the pot, add the rice, coat it with oil, and stir for 30 seconds.

4. Add the chicken broth, fish sauce, and salt to taste.

5. Cover the pot and bring it to a boil. When it starts boiling, turn down to medium heat and cook for about an hour — or until the chicken is tender. Stir occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking.

6. Prepare the garnishes while the arroz caldo is cooking. Fry the minced garlic until it’s crisp.

7. Once the chicken is cooked, remove from the pot and use two forks to shred it.

8. When the arroz caldo has reached a thick consistency, place the chicken back inside.

9. Set aside the cooked garlic, scallions, boiled eggs, and calamansi for garnish.

10. Serve the arroz caldo hot in each bowl.

By Cynthia Locke

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