B hasn’t been feeling well, so I offered to make him arroz caldo, a Filipino chicken rice porridge. He had never heard of it before, and I told him it’s hands down the best porridge in the world.
We never really eat porridge since B does most of the cooking in the house, and he strongly dislikes porridge. Apparently, he was a “sickly, scrawny kid growing up”, and his mother would constantly make him eat porridge til he couldn’t stand it.
I’m not sure what was in my mother in law’s porridge, but it worked, since when I met B in college, he was a muscular 6 ft 2 inch gentleman lol.
Arroz caldo is a classic comfort food, perfect for cold rainy days (we’ve had plenty in Seattle this year with La Niña), sick days, and when you’re busy (this dish keeps really well and is easily reheated).
I haven’t had homemade arroz caldo in a long time, and it was hard to find a recipe that matched what I recalled in the Philippines. To my surprise, many recipes online didn’t include saffron, but I think that golden color and rich flavor is key. Like a lot of Filipino foods, there’s ginger, garlic, and fish sauce.
Adapted from Allrecipes and my memories from the Philippines.
Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken Rice Porridge)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 3-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and thinly sliced
2 pounds chicken thighs/legs with bones
2-3 tablespoons fish sauce, to taste
5 cups chicken broth/water (depending on how salty)
1 cup rice (I used Jasmine rice)
1 teaspoon saffron strands
salt and pepper to taste
4 scallions, chopped
calamansi or lime wedges, sliced to garnish
4 hard-boiled eggs – peeled and halved
saffron strands, to garnish
fried garlic bits, to garnish (bought at Asian supermarkets)
Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Sautée the onion, garlic, and ginger in oil until fragrant. Add chicken thighs/legs; cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in fish sauce, cover, and cook another 2 minutes.
Pour chicken broth/water into the pot. Stir in rice and bring mixture to a boil. Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the rice has softened and expanded, the congee has thickened to desired consistency, and chicken is cooked all the way through. Season with saffron, salt, and pepper to taste
Portion soup into bowls and garnish with green onion, calamansi or lime wedges, hard boiled eggs, saffron strands, and fried garlic bits