Arroz Caldo: Filipino chicken rice soup with Spanish and Chinese origins
While living outside the Philippines, my parents didn’t prepare a whole lot of traditional dishes. Partially because they didn’t really know how but also because they didn’t have time. So when they did have time, they were BIG fans of prepping the one pot dishes. One thing they did love to cook was Arroz Caldo; the Pinoy answer to congee. Though, arroz caldo and congee are more like cousins that were raised in different countries and reunite once a year at grandma’s birthday and get wasted. #NotSpeakingFromExperience
The name arroz caldo is Spanish, but the dish is of Chinese origin. The main difference between the two is that arroz caldo has a lot more ginger in the broth. The Spanish influence stems from the use of saffron that is added to the pot at the end. It’s not very common to see saffron used nowadays, so if you visit the Philippines don’t be that asshole who is all, “Isn’t there supposed to be saffron?”
This is the one dish my parents did perfect, at least to me, and it will always bring back the best memories of cold Canadian afternoons. It’s best not to underestimate it’s preparation, it may be easy to prepare but you could screw it up if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Traditionally arroz caldo is served for breakfast or as a snack – but really, eat it whenever. It’s best eaten with a couple of toppings like a hardboiled egg, toasted garlic, scallions, calamansi, and patis (fish sauce). If you don’t have calamansi then a lemon or lime will work just fine.
The best thing about this dish is that it’s supppper economical. Just a few ingredients can last you a week or even more if you freeze it. This is also fantastic to prepare when you’re sick, nothing soothes the mind more than a hot bowl of arroz caldo.
Just to encourage you to make it a little more, look it fits perfectly in a jar.