Traditionally, on New Year’s Eve, my mother would make a big pot of Arroz Caldo. She would prepare the dish late in the evening so as we watched and waited for the clock to strike midnight, we would have a warm soup to snack on. My mom would also make Arroz Caldo if we were sick — the Filipino version of chicken soup. After I moved away from home, I remember calling my mother to ask her how to make this dish. She replied, “You don’t remember? I make this all the time!” She passed on her recipe telling me “handful of this,” “fill the pot with water” and “just pour a little bit” instead of exact measurements. Now, I make this dish often, especially if the weather is cold and I want soup. Here’s my version of this classic Filipino chicken soup recipe. It’s about three or four servings. You’ll probably have to adjust it for a larger family. And, while the recipe calls for bone-in chicken (because the bone does add flavor), I often opt to use boneless chicken breast or thighs.
- ½ of a cut-up chicken (bone in)
- 3 tablespoons of olive oil
- 2 knobs of ginger (peeled, chopped 1/4 inches)
- 4 cloves of garlic (chopped roughly)
- 1 onion (chopped)
- 2 cups of sweet or jasmine rice (uncooked)
- 1 quart of chicken stock (fat free, sodium free)
- 1 to 2 cups of water
- 2 tablespoons patis or to taste (fish sauce)
- salt and pepper to taste
- green onions, chopped (optional)
- roasted or fried garlic pieces (optional)
- boiled eggs (optional)
- lemon or calamansi juice (optional)
In a dutch oven, heat oil. Add chicken pieces. Brown on one side. When pieces are ready to flip, add garlic, onions and ginger and sauted until chicken pieces are browned. Add rice. Give a quick toss. Add chicken stock, water and patis. Bring to a boil, stirring the rice and chicken mixture. Lower heat to simmer. Add salt. pepper and extra patis (optional) to taste. Cover. Every so often, stir the pot so rice does not stick to the bottom and to check for the tenderness of rice. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken stock or water. When rice is very tender, serve. Garnish with green onions, roasted garlic pieces, boiled eggs. Add lemon or calamansi juice as an option to add more flavor.