Filipino Chicken Arroz Caldo

Arroz Caldo“Simbang Gabi,” a Filipino Christmas tradition, is a series of nine dawn masses that begin on December 16 and end with midnight mass on Christmas Eve in spiritual preparation for Christmas. After the daily mass traditional delicacies await church goers, including bibingka, puto (rice cakes), puto bungbong, suman sa pasko, suman sa ibos, and today’s recipe: arroz caldo.

Used as fellowship dinner dish during “Simbang Gabi,” Arroz Caldo is a hearty Filipino congee made with chicken and rice and seasoned with onion, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce and topped with crunchy fried garlic. The result is a quick, comforting bowl that’s a perfect wintertime meal (and rivals chicken soup for its ability to sooth those suffering from a cold).

He will feed his flock like a shepherd; he will gather the lambs in his arms, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead the mother sheep. Jesus said to them, ‘I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty. ~ Isaiah 40:11


Filipino Chicken Arroz Caldo (Chicken Porridge)
Serves 4

Ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup canola oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup freshly minced garlic (about 12 medium cloves), divided
  • 1 medium onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon freshly minced ginger
  • 1 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 1 tablespoon Asian fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more to taste
  • 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice
  • 6 cups homemade chicken stock or low-sodium broth
  • 1 tablespoon calamansi, key lime, or lime juice
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cut into 1/4-inch slices (optional)
  • 2 fresh limes or calamansi, quartered

Place 1/2 cup of oil and two-thirds of the garlic in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until garlic turns light golden brown. Transfer garlic to fine mesh strainer and drain. Spread garlic out on a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Heat remaining oil in a large dutch oven or soup pot over medium-high heat until shimmering.

Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, but not browned, about 5 minutes.

Add ginger and remaining garlic and cook for 1 minute longer.

Add chicken and cook until browned all over.

Stir in fish sauce and pepper and cook for 1 minute.

Add rice and stir until well coated.

Stir in chicken stock, running spoon along bottom of dutch oven to release any browned bits. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook until rice is completely tender and stock has thickened, about 20 minutes.

Stir in lime or calamansi juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Ladle arroz caldo into bowls. Top with scallions, fried garlic, and egg slices, if using. Serve immediately with additional lime or calamansi wedges on the side.

Submitted by: The Rev. Dr. Winfred B. Vergara, Asiamerica Ministries, The Episcopal Church

For a downloadable/printable version of this recipe, visit: http://www.episcopalchurch.org/blog/advent/resources

Tomorrow: Apricot Jam

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