Arroz Caldo Recipe: The Filipino Chicken Congee
Rice has been a staple of the Filipino diet. Not a meal is served without it. This time I want to take the humble rice to another level using the simplest of ingredients. Most specially at these trying times where a looming uncertainty unfolds and people are on-budget. The staple Arroz Caldo is delicious as it is, but this time, I want to level it up without spending too much for ingredients. Here’s how you can easily make this at home.
3 cups rice
1 medium size onions – chopped
2 large thumb-size ginger – finely chopped
1 bulk of garlic (separated into two) – chopped
1 cup spring onions – chopped
1 tablespoon achuete seeds – soaked in hot water
3 tablespoon glutinous rice floor (optional)
Vegetable oil for sautéing.
Salt to taste
1 chicken bouillon cubes
½ Chicken bones (optional: chicken wings, backbone, neck parts)
4-6 pieces eggs (boiled)
Pork blood cake (known as “betamax” in Tagalog) cut into squares
PROCEDURE (BLOOD CAKE):
1. Cut the blood cake into cubes or rectangular shape.
2. Boil water in a pot, and add the cut blood cake pieces. Let it cook for 2 minutes.
3. Drain and set aside.
PROCEDURE (GARLIC OIL):
1. Heat 3 tablespoon of cooking oil into a pan over low medium heat.
2. Using half of the chopped garlic, add it to the oil and cook it until it’s light brown which will take approximately 45 seconds.
3. As the oil is hot already, remove from the pan and put in a container. The heat of the oil will naturally continue to cook the garlic until its golden brown in color.
PROCEDURE (ARROZ CALDO):
4. In a large bowl, fill ¾ of it with water and soak the rice for 30 minutes. Set aside.
5. Using a large pot over medium heat, drizzle your chosen cooking oil. Then add the onions and sautee ‘til it’s translucent in color.
6. Add the garlic and sautee for another 30 seconds, followed by the ginger. Sautee again for another 30 to 45 seconds.
7. Add the chicken cuts, and stir it until the meat turns white.
8. Then add 1 liter of water and 1 tablespoon of salt. Let it boil for 15-20 minutes over medium heat.
9. Then add the soaked rice along with its water. Continue to cook until the rice is slightly soft. This will take around 15 minutes. Make sure to also add more water if you notice that the liquid has reduced, and stir it from time to time to avoid the bottom part from burning.
10. Then add 1 chicken bouillon cubes to give it that richer chicken flavor. Add more water if need be.
11. Add the achuete mixture to the rice broth with a fine strainer. If the seeds doesn’t really much of its color, lightly soak the seeds into the broth and stir it ‘til the color comes out of the seeds. Let it cook again for another 3-5 minutes while continuously stirring it and adding water.
OPTIONAL: If you want your Arroz Caldo to have that sticky texture but you don’t have sticky rice on hand, mix 3 tablespoon of glutinous rice flour to a cup of water, then add to the rice dish.
12. Then toss in the pork blood cake/betamax, and the spring onions. Cook for another 2 minutes and stir.
13. To plate, in a serving bowl, add your preferred quantity of serving. Top it with cuts of the pork blood, boiled eggs, spring onions, and the garlic oil.
14. Serve and enjoy!
To give your Arroz Caldo a kick, pair it with my homemade Chinese Chili Oil, or watch the recipe below.