Cooking Quest: Arroz Caldo ala Didi's mom

Friday, June 13, 2014

I have been wanting to cook Arroz Caldo for years, but was too scared to do so.  I honestly had no idea how to cook lugaw/congee.  I just know that a shortcut would be to put uncooked rice in a small container, put water and freeze it.  The frozen uncooked rice makes it easier for the rice to get mashed/durog when it cooks.

So I asked my mom how she makes her yummy Arroz Caldo.  She told me that it was very very easy.  I honestly didn't believe her - because I knew that cooking lugaw/congee took a lot of time.  She told me - 'Cook the lugaw/congee first, and then saute your onions, put your chicken and when its cooked, pour the chicken and onions in the lugaw/congee and that's it'  It's really easy, she said and I was honestly doubting her.

I was also looking for a certain ingredient to put into the Arroz Caldo.  I asked on Twitter and my friend Sheila said its called Kasubha - it may be called Saffron here in Manila, but it isn't the real one.  So I tried looking for it - and my search was futile.  All of the supermarkets that I went to - there was no one who knew what it was nor what it looked like.  When I told them it was saffron, they pointed me to dried herb section - but it was too expensive.

I then decided just to push through and attempt to make one.  I was really craving for one because it was raining hard the past few days.

I followed my mom's instructions - and this is what I made.

I know it doesn't look much (walang presentation) - but it tasted pretty good if you ask me.  You just need to season here and there to adjust to your taste.  I found it really I'd like to share with your my recipe.

ONIONS -  chopped (you can chop it anyway you want, I like my onions with a bite, so I chopped them big enough to bite)

CHICKEN - I won't tell you how much chicken to use, it will depend on you.  There is also no preference on the with bones or boneless, or which parts to use.  Use whatever chicken parts that you prefer.

UNCOOKED RICE/BIGAS - 1/4 cup for every adult eating (this is just an estimate) put in a container, pour water over it until it's totally soaked and freeze.  This frozen concoction will make cooking lugaw/congee a breeze!

SALT & PEPPER - to season the chicken before you cook it and also to season the cooked arroz caldo

CHICKEN CUBE/CHICKEN POWDER/MAGIC SARAP - Whatever suits your fancy, some like chicken cubes, others - granules, others, MSG.  So I will not dictate - you may use whatever it is that you want.

What to do:
1)  Cook the lugaw/congee - place the frozen uncooked rice in a pan and let it cook slowly.  While it melts, add water.  This will depend on how thick you want the lugaw/congee will be
2)  Season the chicken with salt and pepper
3)  Saute your onions until fragrant (or transparent)
4)  Pour the chicken onto the sauteed onions and cook until done
5)  Once cooked - you may pour the chicken mixture into the lugaw/congee
6)  Mix thoroughly and bring to a boil
7)  Season to taste, you may add patis, salt and etc.

That's it folks!  Easy lang, right?
Hope you enjoy and like my my mom's recipe!

Its super perfect for the rainy season..


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