Mmmm, ARROZ CALDO! That rainy day, wintery day, ANY day, comfort food! Similar to Congee, it’s filled with soft toasted rice, chicken, bits of ginger, and so full of flavor. It’s so yummy good, with all it’s garnishments, you can’t have just one bowl…..
1 whole Onion, chopped into chunks
2 Carrots, peeled and halved
2 stalks Celery, cleaned and halved
4 – 6 garlic cloves, crushed
1 – 2 Tbsp. Chicken base
1/2 tsp. Salt, do not add anymore than this!
1/2 tsp. Black pepper
1/2 tsp. Accent
12 Cups water
5 – 6 Chicken thighs, bone in; washed and skins removed (reserve for making into Chicharron)
4 Tbsp. Vegetable oil
1 (3-in. piece) Ginger root, peeled and julienned
1 bunch Green onions, thinly sliced
6 – 8 Garlic cloves, finely minced (4 Tbsp. will be fried for garnish)
5 Tbsp. Fish sauce
1 – 1 1/4 cups MEDIUM grain Rice
10 cups Chicken broth, from boiling thighs earlier
1/2 – 1 tsp. Black pepper
1 tsp. Accent seasoning
Hard boiled eggs, wedged
Green onions, thinly sliced
Fried Garlic, homemade or store bought
Crushed Pepper flakes
Lemon, sliced into wedges
Crushed chicharron, optional
Let’s start by making some broth: Combine everything in the BROTH ingredients list into a large stock pot.
Add the 12 cups of water along with the Chicken base…..
Add the seasonings, Black pepper, Salt, and Accent seasoning.
Allow this to come to a full boil on high heat, cover with lid, reduce heat to medium low and simmer for about 2 hours. Skim off fat throughout cooking time….
While the broth is cooking away, let’s continue preparing the other parts of the recipe. This next step is actually OPTIONAL and does not need to be done. Toasting the rice, it will take the dish to a whole different level if you do though. In a dry fry pan, add the rice in increments. Toss lightly and allow the rice kernels to toast until somewhat golden or lightly browned. Set aside.
Let’s make the fried garlic and Chicken Chicharron garnish:
In a frypan, heat 1 tbsp. vegetable oil. Add 4 Tbsp. of the minced garlic and stir until browned and crisp; stirring constantly to make sure NOT to burn the garlic. Set aside, this will be used for garnish later…..
To make the Chicken Chicharron for garnish, this is optional as well; after frying the garlic pieces, removed and set aside. Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the same pan and fry the chicken skins that were reserved from the thighs used in making the broth. Fry these until they are crisp on both sides. Allow to cool completely and chopped roughly, set aside. This will be used for garnish later.
Once the broth is cooked and cooled. Strain and remove the chicken and vegetables. Set the chicken aside until it’s cooled off enough to shred. Shred the chicken and set aside. NOW, let’s prepare the make the ARROZ CALDO: On medium high heat, start by adding the 2 Tbsp. oil to a large stock pot. Add the julienned ginger pieces, 2 Tbsp. garlic, and the onions. Stir and cook this for about 2-3 minutes.
Add the shredded chicken and the fish sauce. Stir to combine well and allow to cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the toasted rice and 10 cups broth. You should have a couple of cups of broth reserved. Keep this for later use.
Bring this to a boil. Stir then reduce heat to medium or medium low; making sure to stir in between cooking time. Cover the pot with it’s lid. Allow this to cook, until rice has cooked down and turned really soft. MAKE SURE TO STIR OFTEN.
Prepare all of your garnishments:
Once the Caldo is done and the rice is soft and the broth has thickened, taste for seasonings and make the adjustments accordingly. Now you’re ready to assemble your individual dishes. Serve this up in bowls, add the garnishments of your choice.
NOTE: The Arroz Caldo, after sitting for a few hours or even overnight in the fridge, may thicken up and the “broth” may have been soaked up by the rice, this is still delicious as is, but if you’re like me; I prefer a much runnier Arroz Caldo. I usually add the reserved broth to the caldo OR even plain water and reheat it, just until it’s warmed through. I may add some more fish sauce to this, but it’s all in your taste. Serve as normal…..