Saturday, October 30, 2010

Arroz Caldo

Every nation and culture has its version of chicken soup. In the Philippines it is called "Arroz Caldo" and I got the base recipe from my friend Caroline Paras who made it one day earlier this week to help her get over a cold. (See every nation uses chicken soup to get over the common cold too...or its just great comfort food).

In her recipe it called for less liquid with the notation to add more liquid if it got too thick. Well it got too thick very quickly so I monitored how much extra stock I needed for the soup and it was substantial. The stock listed in my recipe is what I actually used and it probably could have used a bit more liquid at the end as that rice sure absorbs it all fast!

In the area of garnish I deviated and instead of using lemon as a "garnish" I added it too the soup direct to give it an extra zip of flavor. That little bit of acid and lemon really played well with the ginger in the soup and will continue to incorporate it in the base soup instead of using as just a garnish. Its that good with it.

In terms of garnish I used simple chopped green onion as was listed in the recipe from Caroline. I think the next time I make this soup, which will be very soon, I'll include chopped cilantro with the green onion. Probably straying a bit from what the Philippine version would call for as a garnish, but it would be quite tasty with the ginger and lemon.

Arroz Caldo
  • approx 1 ½ lbs chicken thigh, cut into 1"cubes
  • 3 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 knobs of ginger peeled, chopped 1/4" inches (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 4 cloves of garlic (chopped roughly)
  • 1 onion (chopped)
  • 2 cups of sweet or jasmine rice (uncooked)
  • 1 quart of chicken stock (fat free, sodium free)
  • 2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • optional:
  • green onions, chopped
  • roasted or fried garlic pieces
  • boiled eggs
  • calamansi juice

In a dutch oven, heat oil. Add chicken pieces. Brown on one side. When pieces are ready to flip, add garlic, onions and ginger and sauteed until chicken pieces are browned.

Add rice. Give a quick toss. Add chicken stock and patis. Bring to a boil, stirring the rice and chicken mixture. Lower heat to simmer. Add salt and pepper to taste. Cover. Every so often, stir the pot so rice does not stick to the bottom and to check for the tenderness of rice. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken stock or water.

When rice is very tender, serve. Garnish with green onions, roasted garlic pieces, boiled eggs. Add calamansi juice as an option to add more flavor.

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