Today I had the (unpleasant) experience of feeling under the weather. Stuffy nose, sore, itchy throat, pounding headache and constant sneezing. Ughhhhhh. Fortunately, this happens very rarely as I like to believe I have one of the best immune systems. When the sickness comes around I also like to deny that it’s there. I’m admitting it now because, sigh, I’m getting older. (Yes, another ughhhhhhhh!)
Growing up in a Filipino family, my mother always made arroz caldo to soothe our sickness.
What exactly is arroz caldo? It is a type of congee (rice porridge) that originated from the Chinese, but officially named by the Spaniards as “Arroz Caldo” since the Filipino natives had a hard time pronouncing Chinese terminology. Anyway, mama’s arroz caldo was easy to digest, keeping our tummy warm from the cold was the best medicine. Psychologically that must also be another reason why I hated and denied being sick because it made me miss her even more. Arroz Caldo was the closest thing to her being by my side again. I never learned her recipe, so as an adult, whenever I would get sick I’d seek the best arroz caldo in the island. So far, Thelma’s Restaurant in Waipahu is the most comforting.
Tonight, I was brave enough to make my own. (Recipe below)
HONEY’S ARROZ CALDO
WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1 tbsp Olive Oil
3 Garlic Cloves (peeled and minced)
1/2 cup Onion (minced)
1/4 cup Root Ginger (peeled and minced)
1 lb Chicken (cut or shredded – you can add more if you’d like)
1 cup Jasmine Rice (uncooked)
2 tbsp Fish Sauce (I used Patis)
7 cups Water
2 Chicken Bouillon Cubes
4-5 Boiled Eggs (depending on how many you’re serving)
1/4 cup chopped Scallions (green onions)
3 Lemons (sliced) or lemon juice
HOW TO COOK:
In a big pot, sauté garlic, onion, and ginger in oil. Add chicken and cook until lightly browned, add fish sauce and continue to cook for a few more minutes. Add rice, until lightly browned, then add water and bouillon cubes, and bring to a boil. Make sure to remove scum from rice that floats to the surface of the pot. Lower heat, continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until chicken is tender and rice is thickened and cooked. Serve immediately, as it tastes better hot. Garnish on top with sliced boiled egg, green onions and a hint of lemon or lemon juice.
Surprisingly, it turned out not-so-bad. Although I hope this comforts you in your not-so-good days as it did for me tonight.