The lingering ghost of a cold/cough/flu still resides in our household. We’ve tried everything to evict it, from prescribed antibiotics to essential oils. Nothing seems to work. So I turn to the one thing I know for a fact will make me feel better: chicken arroz caldo.
Much like Chinese congee or Korean juk, chicken arroz caldo (literally translates as chicken rice soup) is the cure-all, hodgepodge bowl of comfort . If you grew up in a Filipino household, you know what I’m talking about. That glutinous sweet rice with tender chicken falling off the bone. The way your lola shoves a giant, steaming bowl in front of your congested face. The gingery warmth that coats your throat a few degrees too hot, which is actually the perfect temperature to will that infection away. We whip it up for any ailment, whether it be heartbreak, bronchitis, or even a funky rash. It’s made with heaps of love and browned garlic. Lots of browned garlic.
Since I can’t go crawling to my dad with my sick puppy face and plead for his special arroz caldo — he always obliges — I had to call him and inquire about his specific recipe. It was absolutely pertinent that I make it the exact way he does to unleash it’s true healing potential.
Chicken Arroz Caldo, Serves 4-6 | breakfast, lunch, dinner, or merienda (basically whenever you feel like it.)
1 head of garlic, minced
~ 2.5 lbs chicken parts*
1 cup sweet glutinous rice
1 onion, diced
~ 2 inches of fresh ginger, sliced and smashed
1 tbs fish sauce (patis) + 1/2 tbs more to taste
2-4 cups water
2 tbs oil
salt & pepper to taste
Hard boiled eggs, sliced
lemon or calamansi
green onion, sliced
1. In a medium pot, add a cup of rice with two cups of water and let simmer over medium to low heat. Add water in increments of 1/4 cup if rice absorbs water too quickly — you want to make sure that the rice doesn’t cook all the way through just yet. Simmer about 20 minutes.**
2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add garlic and slowly brown, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. When garlic is light brown and crispy, remove half and set aside for garnish.
3. Add onion, ginger, chicken, and 1 tbs fish sauce to the garlic in the large pot. Cover and let cook for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
4. When rice has absorbed about half of the water, add rice and water to the large pot with chicken. Stir and let simmer another 15-20 minutes, or until rice and chicken are cooked through and sticky. Continue to add water in small increments if rice gets too thick. Add salt, pepper, and fish sauce, adjusting to taste.
5. Serve with slices of hard boiled egg, crispy garlic, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon.
*You can use whatever chicken parts you prefer, or even a whole chopped up chicken. However thighs, wings and drumsticks yield the best taste (IMO)
**You can also opt to add the rice and water straight to the large pot after cooking the chicken for a few minutes, just adjust cooking times accordingly. Cooking in separate pots is my dad’s suggestion for cooking the rice and chicken evenly.
Happy cooking! And if you’re sick like us, wishing you a speedy recovery! Bon Appetit 🙂