Arroz Caldo - Filipino Rice Congee
A Filipino-style congee, or rice porridge, arroz caldo is the Philippines' answer to chicken soup. A good meal when you are feeling a little under the weather, the ginger-infused broth and citrus notes give an unexpected twist that makes arroz caldo a delicious meal anytime you're in the mood for something exotic or something comforting.
- 2 lbs. chicken, broken down into pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced (for the congee)
- ½ cup fresh ginger, finely minced or cut into thin strips
- 1½ cups of uncooked white or sticky (malagkit) rice
- 2 tbsp. fish sauce
- 6 cups of water or chicken broth
- 1 small onion, chopped
- ¼ cup green onions or scallions, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced (for toasting)
- calamansi or lemon, cut into wedges
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large pot or dutch oven, heat a couple of tablespoons of olive oil.
- Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften.
- Add the ginger and 4 minced cloves of garlic, cook for a minute or so until aromatic.
- Add the chicken pieces (skin on) and sear until golden on all sides.
- Once chicken has browned, remove and set aside.
- Add the rice and stir until coated in oil. If there is not enough oil, add a little in at this point.
- Return the chicken to the pot, add the fish sauce, pour in the chicken broth or water and stir well.
- Cover and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, reduce to a simmer and continue to cook over medium for 45 minutes to an hour until the chicken is fully cooked.
- Stir occasionally to make sure that none of the rice is sticking to the bottom of the pot.
- While the arroz caldo is cooking, pour a couple of tablespoons of oil into a pan on the stovetop and add in the remaining 2 minced cloves of garlic.
- Heat the oil and garlic on low and let cook until golden and crisped.
- When ready, remove the garlic to a paper towel and leave to drain.
- When the arroz caldo is ready, it should be the consistency of a thick porridge. If you want to thin it out a bit, you can stir in a little more water.
- Adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and fish sauce to taste.
- Serve hot, topped with chopped scallions, toasted garlic and a citrus wedge for each person.
The fresh ginger in this recipe imparts a lot of flavor. If you are not used to the flavor of fresh ginger, make sure to mince it very finely before adding it to the pot, leave the ginger in long pieces that are easy to remove or push aside if desired or use less to reduce the flavor's intensity.