Arroz Caldo is part of the family of rice porridge dishes known more generally as 'lugaw' in Tagalog and is thought to be descended from Chinese congee which was brought to the Philippines by Chinese traders. The version you're making this week with chicken and ginger came about during the times of Spanish colonial rule which is when it got the name Arroz Caldo meaning 'rice broth' in Spanish. This dish has gone on to become a much-loved part of Filipino home cooking and, as is often the case with Filipino food, the eater can customise their own dish with different condiments like fried garlic, calamansi, patis and salted duck egg. It's the perfect 'homey' pick-me-up!
The Holy Trinity (the Filipino "mirepoix") - Learn about the key base flavours of many filipino dishes with this key trio and develop your pallet to building flavours.
Brining - Brine your own duck eggs creating the salt water solution and leaving the eggs for your live class.
Filipino plating - Learn how to bring together a filipino recipe with a variety of different sauces, toppings and condiments.
To make your own salted duck eggs
1x large chopping board, 3x small bowls, 1x chef knife or cleaver, 1x waste bowl, 2x high-sided pan, 1x wooden spoon, 3x small bowls, 1x tablespoon, 1x sealable container/jug, 1x deep bowl
No pre-lesson preparation needed.
On your chopping board, peel and cut your garlic into a fine dice. Push to one side and move on to peeling and dicing your ginger. Then prep your shallot - peeling and dicing. This is your holy trinity of filipino cookery, prepped and ready.
Set your prepped aromatics aside, as it's now time to start working on the chicken. Take the skin off the thighs and reserve for frying later.
Time to move over to the stove to start cooking.
Add a drizzle of oil to the pan and allow to come up to temperature. Add the chicken into the pan and start colouring the outside developing those layers of flavour. Keep the thighs moving regularly to colour evenly. Leaving the chicken in the pan, add your prepped holy trinity and cook thoroughly.
Time to get started with our rice as well. Once we see that the aromatics have begun to cook through, let's add our two rice varieties. Stir the rice in fully and leave for 30 seconds to a minute.
Now, grab your chicken stock and water. Add the stock to the pan first, give it a bit of a stir and then add the water. Stir once more and leave to one side to cook while we prepare our toppings.
[Optional step, if you're not using the pre-cooked, salted eggs from your specialist box] Into a clean sauce pan get some water boiling. Once on the boil, get your duck eggs in and leave to cook for 8-10 minutes depending on how you like your egg yolk.
Let's move back to our chopping board while we leave the rice to absorb the water and fully cook!
Let's look at the toppings for our Arroz Caldo. For the calamansi, all we need to do is cut it in half, de-pip and place to one side. Remove the green stems of the spring onions and then slice one side of the stalks open so you can lay it flat like a sheet of paper. Slice as thinly as you can (like a julienne) and place directly into the ice water.
[Optional step, if you're not using the pre-cooked, salted eggs from your specialist box] Going back to our salted duck eggs, remove them from the boil and run under cold water (stopping the cooking process). Leave the eggs to one side and get going on the garlic.
Peel and slice the garlic cloves into even and thin slices and set aside. Let's give the rice a stir and a check.
If you fancy a challenge ahead of your live class in 3 weeks, you can have a go at salting your own duck eggs. So what you need to do is take 1 part salt to 3 parts water into a deep jug, stir this well to get the salt dissolving into the water. Then you just take the duck eggs and gently place them into the brine and leave covered for 20 - 30 days (or until the live class).
[Optional step, if you're not using the pre-cooked, salted eggs from your specialist box] By now our cooked duck eggs would have cooled down enough for us to handle them - so let's get to peeling them. Peel the egg and set to one side along with the spring onions and calamansi. (check my notes for the best way to do this).
Now head back over to the stove with the sliced garlic and chicken skin. Into a nice hot pan, add a drizzle of oil and lay your chicken skin down into the pan as flat as possible. Now add the garlic and allow to fry and remove both once they are golden brown and crisp.
Have a quick clean down and before the final stages of our Arroz Caldo. Remove the chicken from the pan and de-bone the thighs. Once de-boned, dice the chicken and add back into the rice.
At this point, we can add the soy sauce, just a little bit to begin with, and a little bit of black pepper. Give everything a good mix around and taste again. Adjust the seasoning as you wish (I added more soy). Take your chicken skin and cut it into smaller pieces and drain the spring onions.
We are now ready to serve. Clean everything non-essential away and dish out a good portion of the Arroz Caldo and then top with the array of toppings we have prepared.
All that's left is to eat and enjoy!
I like using my Chinese cleaver but a regular chef's knife would work absolutely fine.
I use the side of my knife to press down on a clove of garlic to remove the flesh from the skin ever so slightly and make it easier for me to peel.
For the ginger, you can try using a knife like me or using a teaspoon to scrape the skin away. Save any peels of your ginger you have to make a spiced stock or a ginger tea.
The holy trinity is used across many different Filipino dishes with the combination of ginger, garlic and shallot/onion forming the base of the Arroz Caldo in this recipe.
You can use your chicken in a couple of different ways in this recipe, firstly by simply putting the whole thigh into the pot and cooking it, which is a really simple and great way to make this recipe that bit quicker or by de-skinning them like I do in the recipe.
This is a general rule of thumb, when removing the skin from meat, it becomes much easier when chilled. So if you're struggling, pop it back in the fridge to bring the temperature down.
When cooking meat, various reactions are taking place that are helping us achieve flavour and tenderisation.
The Maillard reaction is a complex reaction taking place at 120°C/248°F and above. The reaction takes place between a carbohydrate molecule and an amino acid and creates hundreds of different by products mostly dark colouration and an intense flavour.
This reaction happens when any sugar molecules are present in what we are cooking. Once at 160°C/320°F and above, our meat will begin to colour more darkly as the sugar begins to melt. The many chemical reactions in this complex process create hundreds of different products, such as sour acids, sweet and bitter derivatives, brown colouring and fragrant molecules.
This recipe is the perfect pick me up when you aren't very well or the weather outside isn't great.
There are thought to be more than 100,000 distinct varieties of rice throughout the world. Glutinous rice is a short-grain with starch that is nearly all amylopectin (highly water-soluble sugars) giving the rice its characteristic thickening qualities. This type of rice requires the least amount of water (1 - 1 by weight or volume). Despite its name, it does not contain any gluten.
Jasmine rice is from the group of aromatic rices that are typically long or medium grain lengths. Their flavours come from high concentrations of volatile compounds. It's also known for its longer grain and low level of amylose, making it less sticky.
We are using these two rices to create a thick, porridge-like consistency which is also why we aren't washing the rice - we want to keep all of that starchy goodness!
The glutinous rice is the reason this recipe calls for more water to be added.
Salted duck eggs in ancient times were buried in the sand, where the salty sea water would penetrate the shell of the egg over time, then once the desired amount of salinity was achieved, the egg would be retrieved.
Calamansi is a citrus fruit similar to a lime or lemon. This fruit has a tart juice, starting off as a green fruit before slowly turning yellow-orange as it matures on the tree.
When placed in ice water, the spring onions curl right up. This is initially down to the shock of the ice water but then the saturation of the cells causing the vegetable to swell.
Take your time when slicing the garlic, we don't need to rush. What we are looking for is even slices that show the shape of the clove.
Hopefully at this point with the Arroz Caldo you will see the rice has gained some body from absorbing the water and we can leave it simmering until nearly all the water is gone and the rice is soft.
Step 5 of this recipe is a little challenge for your live class. We want you to brine your own duck eggs and then bring that to the live class.
Don't be afraid to flavour your brine. Eggs are incredibly porous and will let in all the flavours we put into the brine.
- Star anise
Remember duck eggs are a bit of a different creature from hens eggs, with a thicker shell and membrane.
My method is:
1. Take a cooked duck egg and using the heel of the knife to make a small incision to guide the knife.
2. The cut straight down the middle of the egg creating 2 halves.
3. Once cut begin to peel the egg shell away from the white and yolk.
When frying the chicken skin lay it down away from you so the fat doesn't spit back at you. You will also notice it shrink and curl up instantly, don't worry just press it back down or get it to lay flat once again.
If you want to fry the chicken and garlic separately to ensure you have more control over the pan, fry the chicken and then the garlic.
You can also get your chicken skins crispy by cooking them in the oven on a sheet of parchment paper!
We want to dice the chicken in such a way that we will get a bite of it in every spoonful and keep the dice large enough so we still get the texture in our mouths.