Arroz Caldo

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

Arroz Caldo Ingredients


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.


Arroz Caldo Served

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.

Arroz Caldo jarred for the week

Arroz Caldo


  • 1 lb Chicken thighs
  • 2 Cups of jasmine rice
  • 4 Quarts of homemade chicken stock
  • 1 Onion minced
  • 1 Large piece of ginger root
  • 5 Garlic cloves roughly chopped
  • 3 Bay leaves
  • 1/4 Cup fish sauce
  • Toppings
  • Harboiled Eggs
  • Scallions
  • Toasted Garlic
  • Lemon or lime wedges


  1. Cut the ginger in 1 cm chunks and grate about 1 tbsp of the ginger.
  2. Heat some vegetable oil in a large pot or wok. Throw in the onion and cook until golden brown. Then add the garlic and ginger. Cook until fragrant.
  3. Toss in chicken and cook for a few minutes.
  4. Add rice and stir it in with everyone.
  5. Turn the heat down to low and add 2 quarts of the chicken stock and stir well with the rice and chicken. Add the bay leaves and fish sauce.
  6. Cook for 30 minutes and check the liquid level, add more stock if necessary. Wait another 30 minutes and add the final stock if necessary.
  7. Cook until all the rice has cooked fully and is incorporated well with all the stock and becomes more porridge like.
  8. Serve with toppings.
  9. For the toasted garlic: heat vegetable oil slowly in pan and add minced garlic. Cook the garlic slowly so it doesn't burn, stirring occasionally. Transfer onto a paper towel before serving.

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