Arroz caldo is a rice congee that was introduced by Chinese traders to the natives of the Philippines. During the Song Dynasty (960–1279) in China, native Filipinos is trading crops, herbs, and condiments in exchange for silk, porcelain, and ceramics with Hokkien speaking people from China. Chinese traders prepare congee food for their meal which was eventually shared to the native Filipinos to which they do their trading.
The name Arroz Caldo was Spanish in origin but the dish itself originates from the Chinese. Congee, which is a type of rice porridge, was already popular in the Philippines and other Asian countries before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. It so happened that Chinese terminology is hard to pronounce by the Spanish colonizers and so the Spaniards made a Spanish name to it. Similarly, the Philippine island was long been discovered before the Spaniards arrived in the archipelago but was named "Philippines" by the Spanish colonizer after the name of their king Philip II of Spain in the 16th century.
Arroz caldo when cooked will be enough as a meal on its own. Often serve on breakfast to warm up the body ready for work and when someone is ill because this dish is easy to digest for the sick. It is also a good dish during rainy days and cold weather to keep the stomach warm and a perfect food when someone has too much of a cocktail drink or hangover.
This ginger flavored rice-chicken soup have similarities with other Filipino rice congee dishes like "goto" and "lugaw". Their main differences are: Arroz caldo uses chicken as its meat ingredient; "Goto" uses tripe, beef, and internal organs; and "Lugaw" is simply a plain rice congee.
- 1 kilo chicken; cut in serving pieces
- 1 cup uncooked malagkit or plain rice or combination
- 1 small onion; chopped
- 4 cloves garlic; chopped
- 1 root ginger; sliced
- 6 cups water or broth
- Fish sauce
- Cooking oil
- 1 tablespoon minced fried garlic (for garnishing)
- 1 tablespoon chopped scallions (for garnishing)
- 1 tablespoon safflower (for garnishing)
- Salt to taste
- Chicken bouillon cubes
How to Cook
- In a casserole, sauté garlic, onion, and ginger in oil.
- Add chicken and stir fry with fish sauce until light browned.
- Drain any remaining oil and then add rice.
- Add enough water and bring to boil.
- Continue cooking, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and rice is done (add hot water if necessary).
- Season with fish sauce according to taste.
- Serve hot in a bowl. Garnish on top with fried minced garlic, scallions, and safflower.
Arroz Caldo Cooking Tips
- Always dry chicken well with paper towels before placing into hot pan or casserole so it won't stick.
- You have the option of using salt or chicken bouillon cubes as seasoning instead of fish sauce.