One of the many Filipino adaptations of Chinese rice congee, the name of the dish is nevertheless Spanish. Don’t be surprised. The Chinese had been trading with the natives long before the Spaniards arrived. But the Spaniards stayed as colonizers for over three centuries, and that had an impact on the language spoken in the country.
So, arroz caldo means hot rice. And it is the name of congee cooked with chicken. In this recipe, rice is cooked with browned chicken bones to mimic cooking it in chicken bone broth. If you already have at least eight cups of chicken bone broth, you don’t need the chicken bones so you can just skip the parts about browning them and fishing them out later.
And the eggs…?? They’re immature chicken eggs immature chicken eggs often sold with the sacs, livers and gizzards. You don’t have to use them all to make chicken arroz caldo. The livers or gizzards, or both, can go in other dishes, so, just place them in separate containers and freeze until needed.
Chicken Arroz Caldo
- 1 kilogram immature chicken eggs
- ½ kilogram raw chicken bones
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 1 ½ cups rice (medium-grain rice is ideal)
- 1 stalk lemongrass tied into a knot
- 2 pandan leaves tied together into a knot
- 3 to 4 slices ginger
- fish sauce to taste
- ground white pepper to taste
- fried garlic to garnish
- sliced scallions to garnish
- If the immature chicken eggs came with egg sacs, livers and gizzards, place the eggs and sacs in one bowl, the livers in a second bowl and the gizzards in a third bowl.
- Rinse the gizzards well and remove all visible fat. Thinly slice the gizzards.
- Thinly slice the livers.
- Carefully separate the eggs from the sacs, and cut the sacs into small pieces.
- Cover the bowls with eggs and livers, and keep in the fridge.
- Wipe the chicken bones dry with paper towels.
- Heat the cooking oil in a pot (I prefer a wok for more cooking surface).
- Spread the chicken bones in the hot oil (if cooking the arroz caldo with the gizzards, add them now as they require a long cooking time) and brown all sides over medium-high heat.
- Add the rice, lemongrass, pandan leaves and ginger slices.
- Pour in eight cups of water and two tablespoons of fish sauce, and sprinkle in half a teaspoon of pepper.
- Simmer the rice and chicken bones, stirring every ten minutes or so to coax out the rice starch to thicken the mixture.
- When the rice is cooked through, taste and add more fish sauce and pepper, if needed.
- Fish out the chicken bones, lemongrass, pandan leaves and ginger.
- Add the egg sacs, stir and bring to a simmer.
- If the mixture appears too thick, add more water and continue simmering, stirring more often, until the rice grains burst and turn mushy.
- Carefully stir in the immature eggs and sliced livers, cover the pot and simmer for another five minutes.
- Taste the arroz caldo one last time, and add more fish sauce and pepper, or both, if needed.
- Ladle the chicken arroz caldo into bowls, dividing the immature chicken eggs equally, and garnish with fried garlic and sliced scallions before serving.