Kulinarya’s theme for the month of May 2011 is FLORES DE MAYO (Flowers of May).
I think the floral design of my toppings fits the KCC “Flores de Mayo” theme and I can’t help but post this recipe under this theme even though it has been more than a month late.
Arroz Caldo has been a favourite snack for many Filipinos while still growing up. When I was studying high school in the Philippines, this is a “must eat” teamed up with Tokwa’t Baboy (Tofu/Pork Mix with Soy/Vinegar Dressing). This is usually served as afternoon snack or when one is sick, it is also a good starter for babies who gets introduce for the first time to solids as the plain congee is easily digestible.
This dish brings me happy memories of cold rainy days and just hanging around with my high school pals after school. I consider this as the Chicken Noodle Soup of the Philippines…feeds your soul as well as your tummy.
ARROZ CALDO (Filipino Chicken Congee)
1 kg chicken Maryland (thigh&leg)
2 tbspn fish sauce
1 tbspn lemon or calamansi juice
pinch of pepper
1 1/2 cup glutinous rice (malagkit)
5 cloves garlic, finely minced
50g ginger, sliced
1 large onion, finely minced
5 tbspn cooking oil
1 litre Campbell's chicken stock
8 cups water
2 tspn lightly toasted kasubha (native cheap version of saffron)
pinch of pepper
*used AUS. Measuring Cups & Spoons
~ Cut the chicken marylands and separate the thigh and legs apart. If there’s any stray feathers, pluck them out and rinse the chicken pieces with cold water, drain the excess water. Dry out the chicken pieces outer surfaces with kitchen paper towels to further remove the extra water. Marinate the chicken pieces with fish sauce, lemon/calamansi juice and pepper for at least 1 hour, covered inside your fridge.
~ Rinse your glutinous rice a couple of times over cold water, drain well and set aside.
~ Heat up a large non stick frying pan on high and pour in your cooking oil. Sauté your garlic, ginger and onion until slightly browned. Add in your chicken pieces including the liquid marinade, lower your heat into medium high. Sprinkle additional ground pepper.
~ Cook the chicken pieces until the outsides are starting to have that brown golden bits. The smell would be more aromatic by now, stir in your rinsed/drained glutinous rice. Make sure the rice soaks up the liquid in the pan.
~ Take out the frying pan from the stove top and place a bigger pot on the stove top. Transfer the mixture to the pot.
~ Pour in your chicken stock and water. Stir to evenly disperse the rice and chicken, make sure you scrape the bottom of the pot to unstuck anything that is stuck.
~ Bring to boil, then lower the heat to simmering stage, dispose the scum that accumulates on the surface. Keep stirring the sides and bottom of the pot to prevent burning your Arroz Caldo.
~ It’s done once the rice starts to crumble and blend with the liquid, stir in your kasubha and blend well with the Arroz Caldo. Turn off the stove and let the pot sit there for awhile, while you prep for the toppings.
RECOMMENDED TOPPINGS: Fried onions/garlic, Slices of Boiled Eggs, Chopped Fresh Chives or Shallots, Sliced Cooked Chicken Meat and a slice of Calamansi on the side.
BEST WITH: Tokwa’t Baboy, a good squeeze of half of a calamansi or a small wedge of lemon and for good measure, fish sauce & ground pepper on the side for individual seasoning.
- The reason why I separated the sautéing part of the dish using a non stick frying pan is to keep the chicken pieces intact (using a normal pot will result in chicken sticking to the bottom).
- I sliced my ginger into rounds as my children doesn’t like eating ginger that goes with Arroz Caldo, it is more visually obvious than julienned strips.
- Once you start boiling/simmering the Arroz Caldo you have to constantly stir the mixture to avoid parts of it sticking to the bottom. Burning the bottom is not the ideal thing you want in the end, imagine bits and pieces of burnt parts floating around…not really appetising!
- Skimming and disposing the floating scum while the Arroz Caldo is simmering will give you a clean overall congee with no brown bits floating around.
- If you can’t find kasubha, you can add a few strands of saffron, another alternative is, if you have some turmeric powder, add about 1/4-1/2 tspn to give you that yellow tinge. Add the turmeric while you are sautéing your garlic, ginger and onions.
- For the Sliced Cooked Chicken Meat Topping, I just get about 1-2 pieces of the thighs from the Arroz Caldo, stripped off the skin (usually I slice them up and return it to the Congee). Deboned the thighs and just slice the meat into strips ready to be topped to each individual Arroz Caldo Bowls. I make sure that each bowls have a piece of chicken (eg. 1/2 of a thigh or a leg part) before I pour the rest of the Arroz Caldo.