Chicken Arroz Caldo – A Filipino Christmas Rice Porridge

Filipino Arroz Caldo
Arroz caldo, translated to “rice soup” in Spanish, is a staple in Filipino households, especially during Christmas and the colder months. The term ‘congee’ is used for this dish throughout many Asian countries. There are many different variations depending on what region of the Philippines you’re in, but wherever you are arroz caldo is always a simple yet comforting one-pot meal in a bowl.

Filipinos like to serve this with fried garlic, scallions, soy or fish sauce and a wedge of calamansi. If you can’t find calamansi, lime will work fine. For a special Spanish twist (and a beautiful golden yellow hue), I added a little saffron as well. Add some water when reheating since it thickens over time.

Filipino Arroz Caldo

Filipino Arroz Caldo

Filipino Arroz Caldo

Filipino Chicken Arroz Caldo

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, diced
  • 1 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and diced (plus 4-6 round slices)
  • 1 small onion or shallot, diced
  • a pinch of saffron
  • 1 pound of boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 5-6 cups low-sodium chicken stock or water
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce or salt, or to taste
  • 2 sprigs spring onions, thinly sliced for garnish
  • 2 small limes or calamansi

In a pot, sauté garlic in oil over medium heat and cook until golden brown and crisp, for about 2-3 minutes. Transfer garlic on a paper towel to drain; set aside.

Add ginger, onion and saffron to the pot and cook until translucent, about 3 minutes. Stir in the pieces of chicken and brown for 5-6 minutes. Add rice, chicken stock and fish sauce or salt. Cover and bring to a slight boil, then simmer over low heat. Simmer until the chicken and rice are cooked through, stirring frequently, about 25-35 minutes. Add more stock or water depending on how thick you want it.

Serve the porridge into bowls and top with the crispy fried garlic, spring onion, lime (or calamansi) juice and fish sauce on the side.

Total Time: 60 minutes
Yield: 6-8 servings
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  1. Dessa says

    I noticed that the arroz caldo is not soupy and I find it nice and something new to try. Was your recipe meant to be like that?

    • says

      Hi Dessa – Yes, this recipe is not soupy, more like a porridge consistency. But you definitely can add more water or broth to thin it out depending on your taste. Hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

  2. Heather says

    I wish I’d seen this recipe a few months, it’s the wrong time of year to be wanting to make comfort food! Quick question though, do you think it could be adapted for using a slow cooker?

    • says

      Hi Heather – I still crave and make this recipe even if it’s getting warm out 😉 I haven’t tried myself, but I’m pretty sure you could use a slow cooker. Let me know how it goes!

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