Arroz Caldo (Rice & Chicken Ginger Stew)

I’m sick. For the second time. In a month. Yuck. It’s definitely not a fun feeling, especially after not having been sick in over 2 years. Since Steve (the hubby) and I began to transition to a whole foods, less-processed foods lifestyle, we’ve noticed the effects on our health. And since then (up until now), we haven’t really gotten the colds/illnesses we’d fall prey to every year. However, this year, I’d guess  that a combination of holiday indulging, traveling for a family wedding and lack of sleep has left me susceptible to whatever has been going around.

So of course, what am I craving? Something warm and comforting, like the traditional Filipino dish called Arroz Caldo.

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Literally meaning, “hot rice”, it’s a dish that I’ll admit as a child I used to say, “We’re having that again?” whenever we had it for dinner.  It reminded me of being sick because my mom would make it often when we didn’t feel good.

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But now, not only do I love it, but I totally appreciate why we had it as often as we did. It’s comforting (like chicken soup) and filling & hearty.  It’s such a simple dish with complex flavors and utilizes ingredients that most people already have in their kitchen: chicken, rice, ginger, garlic, salt & pepper and water/broth. That’s it. Other variations have hard-boiled eggs, chopped scallions, crispy fried garlic on top. But I kept it simple making it the way my mom does. You really can’t mess with what’s good, you know?

Some people liken the dish to congee, a Chinese rice porridge, but this version is slightly less soupy and flavored to Filipino tastes. Hope you enjoy this. Go make some, sick or not, on a cold day or warm day; you’ll love it.

Arroz Caldo

Inspired by my mom & Filipino cooks everywhere

Ingredients:

  • 2-4 pieces of chicken (any combination; I used 4 boneless, skinless thighs)
  • 2 cups white rice
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 6-8 cups water or broth
  • If using water, add 1 bouillon cube (I use a natural, vegan brand that doesn’t have MSG, trans fats or hydrogenated oils)
  • 1-2 Tbsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • chopped scallions, optional

Method:

In a heavy stockpot (such as a dutch oven), heat 1 Tbsp of oil. Sautee garlic for a few moments until golden and remove. If you’d like, you can add your chicken pieces now to brown slightly. Then add rice, water/broth and seasonings. Give the mixture a stir and cover.

Bring the stew to a light boil and stir. Then lower the heat, cover and cook for about 25 minutes, until rice is at desired consistency.  If you want it to be more “soupy”, you can add more water/broth.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve hot with a side of chopped scallions and crispy fried garlic if desired.

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