The healing and comforting properties of chicken soup is legendary and is known and accepted worldwide. Each country has their own kind of chicken soup. It is one dish that is best when home made. The love and care that went into making it is what makes it taste so delicious.
The Kulinarya Cooking Club's theme for this month is Arroz Caldo, which is the Philippine chicken soup. The word arroz means rice and caldo means broth so the two put together means a dish of rice in broth. It is basically a well flavoured rice porridge. The name may be translated very simply but it is actually a very wholesome and tasty dish with chicken, garlic, onions and ginger. This is the best thing to have when you have cough or colds or just feeling under the weather. The healing properties of chicken plus the antioxidant properties of garlic, onion, ginger and pepper makes arroz caldo the best tasting medicine you can ever have.
I have cooked my arroz caldo in a slightly different manner (although it is still essentially the same) because my children do not like "bits" in the porridge. After sautéing the garlic, onions and ginger, I cooked the whole chicken (in the style of chicken rice) in the stock first before straining and using the stock to cook the rice. The chicken is more tender and succulent when cooked this way. It is then used to top the porridge along with toasted garlic, spring onions, ginger shreds and egg. Just looking at it makes me feel good already.
1 whole chicken
a few slices of ginger
1 spring onion, cut into 3 pieces
2 tbsps. butter plus 1 tbsp. of oil
2 tbsps. crushed garlic
2" x 2" piece of ginger, shredded
2 onions, sliced
about 3 litres of home made chicken stock
1 c. of uncooked Jasmine, Milagrosa or long grain rice
1/2 c. uncooked glutinous rice
spring onions, cut into rounds
ground black pepper
extra shredded ginger for topping
fish sauce and lime wedges or calamansi halves to serve
Sauté the garlic in the butter and oil on low heat until just golden. Remove half and set aside for topping.
Add the ginger and onions and half a teaspoon of salt. Cook until the onions are softened and translucent.
Add the stock and the whole chicken (Use a rich home made chicken stock made by simmering chicken bones with onions and ginger for a few hours. This would really make a difference in the taste of your arroz caldo). Bring to a boil and simmer gently for 30 minutes.
Turn the heat off after 30 minutes but leave the chicken in the pot, covered, for another 30 minutes. Take the chicken out of the stock and transfer to a dish.
Brush with sesame oil and cover to keep it from drying out.
Slice the chicken meat before using as topping for the porridge.
Strain the stock.
Wash the two kinds of rice and put in a big pot with the strained stock. Bring to a boil and simmer gently for about 50 minutes. This has to be stirred every once in a while. The rice tends to settle and will stick to the pot if not stirred. The cooked porridge should be viscous, not watery nor claggy. The rice grains should break out but not melt altogether.
Ladle the rice porridge into bowls, top with slices of chicken and sprinkle with spring onions, toasted garlic, shredded ginger and a raw egg.
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