Arroz Caldo is a Filipino chicken and rice porridge made of glutinous rice, chicken, garlic, and ginger. This classic comfort food is topped with scallions, crispy garlic chips, hard-boiled eggs and a squeeze of calamansi. Perfect for a rainy day or if nursing a cold.
Every time I make a batch of arroz caldo, I am immediately reminded of my childhood. Growing up, my mom would make this delicious chicken and rice porridge on a rainy day, when feeling under the weather or when we just wanted something warm and comforting.
Arroz Caldo = Filipino Soul Food
Arroz caldo is a love language; its how you take care of someone, like how my mom took care of me. The richness of this rice porridge always hits me with a feeling of nostalgia as soon as the flavors hit my tastebuds. Its so simple, perfect and nourishing.
What is Arroz Caldo?
Essentially, arroz caldo is a rice porridge made of glutinous rice, chicken, garlic, ginger, and fish sauce, that is simmered in water or chicken broth. Sounds similar to congee?
Yes, it is similar, as throughout the Asian diaspora, each have their own rendition of rice porridge with nuances in the way in which it is prepared and served, making it unique and special to their culture. In the many forms that rice porridge comes in, they all share a commonality in giving comfort with each bite.
Arroz caldo was introduced to the Philippines by way of Chinese migrants through a very similar dish known as congee. When Spanish colonizers made their way to the Philippines, they gave it a name of their known–arroz caldo–which translates to “rice broth”. Growing up, my mom referred to this dish as lugaw. It wasn’t until I was older that I began to hear this dish referred to as arroz caldo.
Whether you call it arroz caldo or lugaw, this rice porridge is typically eaten for breakfast in the Philippines, but suitable to enjoy anytime of the day.
Arroz Caldo Ingredients
What I love about arroz caldo is that it calls for staple ingredients. The flavor is deeply infused with chicken, garlic, ginger, and the texture of the rice really drives this dish home. You can expect ultimate comfort from these warming flavors:
- Ghee or Avocado Oil – I prefer to use ghee as it’s rich in flavor and melds well with sautéed ginger and garlic, deepening the flavor. If you don’t have ghee on hand, avocado oil will work.
- Garlic – And lots of it. This recipe calls for 5 tablespoons divided and serves two purposes: crispy garlic chips, which will be used as a topping and sautéed with ginger to infuse into the rice.
- Ginger – It’s not arroz caldo unless you can taste ginger.
- Chicken Thigh – Go for skinless and bone-in for more flavor.
- Patis (Fish Sauce) – For that umami. This is a must. Don’t skip this ingredient, and if you are looking for a brand, I use Rufina Patis specifically for this recipe.
- Jasmine and Glutinous Rice – Glutinous rice will yield a thick, starchier texture (hello amylose!). I prefer to use a mixture of jasmine–which is less starchier–and glutinous rice as it balances the consistency so as not to make it too thick. You can go for using either one if you don’t want to use both.
- Chicken Broth – Go for low sodium.
- Kosher Salt and Freshly Cracked Black Pepper
Toppings for Arroz Caldo
Anyone who knows me knows that I am serious about sauces and toppings. If something calls for a dipping sauce, trust that I will have 2-3 in a ramekin, ready for dipping or drizzling over. Same goes for toppings, and arroz caldo doesn’t run short of these necessary fixings.
After ladling arroz caldo into bowls, it is traditionally decorated with sliced scallions, black pepper, crispy garlic chips, hard-boiled eggs, a dash of patis (fish sauce), and a squeeze of calamansi.
You might be thinking, “Why so many toppings?” Think of the toppings as an extra oomph. With each bite, you taste a hint of onion from the scallions, crunchy garlic and zing from calamansi. All of these flavors and textures intermixed with the silky-smooth texture from the rice–culinary bliss.
For me, adding the “extras” is the best part. I personally prefer extra garlic chips, a healthy dose of fish sauce and a whole lot of scallions.
How to Make Arroz Caldo
While this is a simple arroz caldo recipe, it does take a little bit of time, and each step is essential to yielding that perfect texture and garlicky, gingery flavor.
- Place rice in a bowl and rinse. Drain well and set aside.
- Add ghee or avocado oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat and add half of garlic. Keep a consistent move of the garlic and cook until it turns a golden brown. Remove garlic from dutch oven, and place in a paper towel-lined ramekin. Set aside for later use.
- Add ginger and remaining garlic. Sauté for 1 minute over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low and consistently stir mixture for 8-9 minutes. This allows mixture to infuse with the oil.
- Add chicken thighs and cook for 8 minutes over medium-high heat, until chicken is no longer pink. Season to taste with kosher salt and add fish sauce, then stir.
- Add rice and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring to allow flavors to marry.
- Stir, Stir, Stir. Add chicken stock and stir constantly. It’s important to keep a consistent stir for the first 10 minutes as this will allow rice to release starch and thicken the broth.
- Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes. Stir every few minutes.
- Adjust seasoning with kosher salt, fish sauce, if necessary. Add a couple of grinds of pepper. Remove pot from heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Arroz caldo with continue to thicken.
- Ladle into bowls and top with hard-boiled eggs, garlic chips, scallion, freshly cracked pepper, a whisper of patis, and a squeeze of calamansi (or lemon juice).
Tips for Making the Best Arroz Caldo
- It is important to keep a consistent stir once broth is added to chicken and rice mixture the first 10 minutes of cooking. Stirring helps release starch from the rice, creating a thick, porridgy consistency and also breaks the rice into pieces.
- Go for a blend of jasmine rice and glutinous rice. Glutinous rice can be found at asian markets and will be labeled as “sweet rice”. Short grain rice is another suitable option.
- Don’t be afraid to add a dash of patis (fish sauce) just before eating, in addition to the other mandatory toppings. This umami goodness adds an extra layer to arroz caldo. Patis is LIFE!
Tools You’ll Need
- Dutch Oven
- Ice Bath – for hard-boiled eggs
In the Mood for Filipino Eats?
Check out my childhood favorites:
Loving This Recipe?
- 3 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil
- 5 tablespoons garlic, chopped and divided
- 2½ tablespoons ginger, minced
- 1 pound chicken thigh, skinless, bone-in
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce, I use Rufina Patis
- Kosher salt, I use Diamond Crystal brand
- ½ cup glutinous rice
- ½ cup jasmine rice
- 7¼ cups chicken broth, low sodium
- Freshly cracked black pepper
- 3 eggs, hard boiled
- ⅓ cup scallions, sliced
- 6 calamansi, halved or 1 lemon cut into wedges
- Freshly cracked pepper
- Fish sauce
- Place rice in a bowl and rinse. Drain water well and set aside.
- Add 2 tablespoons ghee or avocado oil to a dutch oven over medium-high heat and add half of garlic. Keep a consistent move of the garlic and cook until it turns a golden brown. Remove from dutch oven, draining the oil, and place in a paper towel-lined ramekin. Set aside.
- Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to dutch oven. Add ginger and garlic and sauté for 1 minute over medium heat. Lower heat to medium-low and consistently stir mixture for 8-9 minutes. This is to allow the mixture to infuse with the oil. Do not allow mixture to brown, rather, it should remain a golden yellow throughout cooking.
- Add chicken thighs and cook for 8 minutes over medium-high heat, until chicken is no longer pink. Season to taste with kosher salt and add fish sauce, then stir. Add rice and cook over medium heat for 2 minutes, stirring to allow flavors to marry.
- Add chicken stock and stir constantly. It's important to keep a consistent stir for 10 minutes, as this will allow rice to release starch and thicken the stock.
- Once mixture comes to a boil, lower heat to a simmer and cook for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. While arroz caldo is cooking, start making hard-boiled eggs. See below
- Once cooked, adjust seasoning with kosher salt, fish sauce, if necessary. Add a couple of grinds of pepper and stir. Remove pot from heat and cover. Let stand for 15 minutes. Arroz caldo with continue to thicken.
- Ladle arroz caldo into bowls and top with hardboiled eggs, garlic chips, green onion, freshly cracked pepper, a whisper of fish sauce, and a squeeze of calamansi (or lemon juice).
Hard Boiled Eggs
- In a small saucepan, add eggs and cover just until water is 1 inch above eggs. Place lid on saucepan. Turn on heat on medium-high. Prepare an ice bath.
- Once water comes to a boil, turn off heat and start a timer for 11 minutes.
- Once timer ends, transfer eggs to an ice bath and leave for 2 minutes. Peel, cut in half and set aside.