Arroz Caldo on a Cold, Gloomy Day

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Up here in the hills, when it’s rainy, it gets foggy and cold. Beyond our porch, is this familiar ethereal scene. It’s stay-in-bed, snuggle weather.

ARROZ CALDO is my favorite comfort food when it’s raining outside.

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This traditional Filipino dish is so easy to make. It’s just rice porridge with chicken, garlic, onions and ginger flavored with fish sauce. My version has a bit of freshly squeezed Calamansi (our local sour citrus fruit) and Kasubha (our local version of saffron).

A few days ago, I posted on Facebook how the wet weather makes me crave this dish and a few of my friends from the U.S. and Australia asked for the recipe. So, I am sharing the recipe here for anyone else who wants to try it.

Ingredients:
1 tbsp canola oil
1 tbsp garlic, minced
1/4 cup white onion, chopped
8 pcs of 1/2 inch slices of ginger
1/2 kg chicken, cut into serving pieces
2 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
2 cups water
1 cup uncooked rice
1 Knorr chicken bouillon
1/8 tsp ground pepper
1/8 tsp kasubha or a pinch of saffron
1 tbsp calamansi juice

For Garnish:
1 tbsp garlic, sliced and fried crisp
1 tbsp green onions or scallion, chopped

For Dipping Sauce:
1 tbsp patis (fish sauce)
2 tsp kalamansi juice

Method:
Heat oil in a stockpot.
Sauté onion, garlic and ginger.
When onion is transparent, and garlic starts to brown, add chicken and patis. Cover and let simmer for 5 minutes.
Add water, rice and bouillon. Stir often to prevent rice from sticking. Simmer for about 25 minutes or until chicken and rice are tender.
Add calamansi juice, kasubha, pepper and more patis if needed.
Add green onions or scallions just before serving.
Top with green onions and crisp garlic and serve with dipping sauce on the side.
Serve steaming hot.
This recipe is good for 2-3 persons.

This is best served with small serving bowls for toppings and dipping sauce.

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Notes:
Adjust the ratio of patis to calamansi to suit your preference. I like it a bit tangy but others might prefer salty.
Different kinds if rice might require more water, so add as needed.
Brown rice may be used but will require twice as much water as white rice.
Adjust water volume according to desired consistency. Arroz caldo shouldn’t be too soupy nor too sticky.

The “wet season” is not going to be over soon here in the Philippines. So, we’ll be having this every now and then. For my friends living in much colder climates, this is perfect for winter! Enjoy!

Do you have a recipe for your favorite comfort food for cold, gloomy days? Please share!

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