Ultimate comfort food for Filipinos. This is great anytime of the day- as a snack; as a hot meal to conclude a night of heavy drinking so as to sober up; or as a cure for a hangover the following day. Also works as a soothing cure when suffering from a fever coupled with a sore throat. I remember looking forward to this during my childhood whenever I get sick. Now I look forward to it after drinking (there’s just too much reference on drinking).
When it comes to Arroz Caldo (Spanish for “hot rice”) the best that come to mind are found in the Mabuhay Lounge of PAL Airport in Manila (I don’t get it but the Arroz Caldo in Davao’s Mabuhay Lounge isn’t as good), and of course the famous Arroz Caldo of Dencia’s in Davao City. The catch with dining at Dencia’s is you end up reeking of, er, Dencias the whole day. You’ll smell of a curious blend of garlic, onions, shallots and ginger. It would be wise to avoid eating there before a date. Otherwise you will have to douse yourself with perfume.
The perfect accompaniment to Arroz Caldo can only be Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu and Pork in Vinegar and Soy sauce dressing). Yum. Simply click on the link to take you to my page featuring that dish.
Here is my version of Arroz Caldo. Remember that it absorbs a lot of water so prepare a lot of chicken stock ahead of time. It may also dry up when you keep it in the ref so be sure to have some chicken stock handy should you need to zap it in the oven in the future.
You will need:
- about 500 grams of chicken parts. A quarter of a chicken will do. You’ll shred it later anyway.
- half a cup of glutinous rice, rinsed
- a cup of plain rice, rinsed too
- 8 cups of water
- ginger root cut into strips
- an onion, quartered
- minced garlic, 3 tablespoons
- cooking oil
- salt and pepper
- patis or fish sauce
- chopped spring onions for topping
- chicken broth cubes
- kasuba or pinoy saffron (not the expensive kind. This is mainly used to give the dish its yellow color)
In a big pot, combine the chicken parts, water, onion and a broth cube. Once it boils, let it simmer by lowering the flame until tender. Take out the chicken parts and shred. Needless to say, set the stock aside for later.
In another pot, saute garlic until golden brown and use a spoon to scoop it out leaving the oil. Set this aside as this will be used as topping later.
In that same pot with the oil, add the onions and ginger root and saute until the onions are transparent in color. Add the kasuba. Finally, add both glutinous rice and plain rice then saute for 5 minutes. Pour in the chicken stock and let it boil while stirring occasionally. Lower the heat and let simmer.
Season with salt, pepper, patis according to your taste. Remember that you used some chicken cubes here so it already has a degree of saltiness to it. Finally, add the shredded chicken and keep cooking until the rice is cooked and the broth is thick in consistency.
Keep in mind that the stock could dry up so be prepared. All you need to do is microwave 2 cups of water and dissolve a chicken broth cube in it. I hope you won’t need more than that.
Serve your arroz caldo in a bowl and top it with chopped spring onions and lots of garlic. Don’t burn your tongue, now.