The past winter here that seems to be lingering has been rough for little ones. There’s a bug that has been going around that has made kiddos and their moms and dads sick on and off. It was towards the end of winter when this nasty bug made its way to our home. It was awful. Our first born got it first and then passed it on to her dad, and then to her baby sister. I was very much pregnant with our baby boy at the time. When I felt I was coming down with something too, I increased all our dosage of vitamin C, which kept me from getting sick, and helped my family recover from the cold much faster.
I’ve also made several big batches of arroz caldo to nurse my family and some friends back to health. I have just made this again today because our middle child has been under the weather lately, and I heard that my friend’s son has been sick too.
Arroz caldo is a Filipino dish I grew up eating. Some would call it Lugaw. It’s a Spanish-influenced rice soup, similar to a congee, that is often served to the ill and to the elderly because it is warm, soft, and easy to digest. But you don’t have to be sick to enjoy this hearty meal. It’s an awesome dish during the cold and wet months to keep us warm.
A friend of mine asked me for my Arroz caldo recipe. So here I am. I hope you’ll give it a try!
This makes about 8-10 servings. Definitely enough to feed an entire family once or twice depending on how much you eat.
- 2- 2 1/2 lb. chicken thighs, wings, or drumstick
- 14-16 cups of water
- 1 medium size onion
- 1 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 2 cups uncooked superfine or med. grain rice
- 5 star anise
- 2/3 cup fresh ginger, cut into strips
- 2 tbsp. iodized salt
- 8 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 5 stalks of green onion, chopped
- plain or flavoured pork rinds for garnishing, crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- Optional: fried garlic, sliced lime or calamansi, fish sauce
- In a pot, heat oil and saute onion until sweaty. Add ginger and stir for a few minutes until aromatic. (You may substitute the fresh ginger with ginger powder. Just bear in mind that this is more potent than it’s fresh alternative. I’d say start with 1 tbsp. of ground ginger and increase accordingly to taste before serving).
- Add chicken (better to use the chicken with bone to make your broth more flavourful) and continue to saute until the meat is no longer pink.
- Then pour 14 cups of water to the pot and add 2 tbsp. of iodized salt to the mix. Let the water boil and then reduce to med. heat and let the chicken cook for 15 minutes.
- Add 2 cups of the uncooked rice and the star anise to the pot. (Make sure it’s the superfine or the med. grain rice and not just the regular long grain or it will yield a different result). See picture below for reference.
Bring the water to boil again, and then let it simmer to med. low heat for 30-45 minutes or until the rice and chicken are fully cooked. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent the rice from sticking at the bottom of the pot and burning. (You can take the meat off bone once the chicken is cooked if you prefer. This is especially helpful when serving this dish to little ones).
- Add more water if needed. (If you like your arroz caldo less thick and not clumpy like I do, I would add about 1-2 more cups of water).
- When the broth reached your desired consistency, remove the pot from the heat.
- Transfer into a serving bowl while hot.
- Garnish with sliced hard boiled eggs, chopped green onions, crushed pork rinds, freshly ground pepper, and fried garlic.
- Optional: Season with lime or calamansi and fish sauce.