foodgeek's diary


Kulinarya Challenge - Arroz Caldo

Posted by foodgeek on November 14, 2011 at 1:50 AM Comments comments (12)

This month's Kulinarya challenge is Arroz Caldo. Perfect timing because I had been intending to make it anyway. Perfect theme for rainy, cooler weather here in Southern California. This is also the first time I am making this dish. I have made similar chicken and rice stews and soups, but never the traditional FilipinoArroz Caldo.



Arroz Caldo is quintessential of the Chinese/Spanish influence on Filipino cuisine. According to Wikipedia, "Arroz caldo is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronised Chinese restaurants in the Philippines." It "is usually spiced with safflower and black pepper in place of or in addition to the more traditional ginger and scallion. Arroz caldo more closely resembles risotto than congee, from which it can be distinguished by its bright yellow saffron colour and the relatively larger pieces of chicken meat."


So here you are. My version of Arroz Caldo! It became my version due to ingredients I had on hand. Instead of white rice, I used brown. I had no fresh ginger, so I used powdered. I used boneless, skinless chicken breast instead of skin-on, bone-in. I also added carrots and shiitake mushrooms. I had no safflower, so used saffron. I have to say, it turned out quite good!



2 tbsp. vegetable or saflowwer oil.

1 to 2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed

1 cup onion diced, medium

2 medium carrots, chopped to bite-size or smaller pieces

1 ½ lbs skinless, boneless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces

1 ½ cups uncooked brown rice

2 tbsp fish sauce

1/4 tsp. ground ginger

32 ounces low-sodium chicken broth

1/2 cup water

6 oz. shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

4 to 5 hard boiled eggs, quartered (or leave them whole if you wish)

A pinch of saffron

Salt and pepper to taste



1. Heat the cooking oil over medium heat then saute the garlic and onion until onions are soft and aromatic.

2. Add the carrots and saute for about 3 minutes or cooked to just a slight crunch.

3. Add the chicken and cook until browned but not fully cooked, about 5 minutes.

5. Add the fish sauce, ground ginger and uncooked rice cook for about 3 minutes.



6. Stir in the chicken broth and water and bring to a boil.

7. Put on low heat, add the mushrooms, and allow to simmer until the rice is fully cooked (about 40 to 50 minutes), stirring occasionally to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom of the pot.



8. Add the saffron and salt and pepper to taste.



9. You can add the hard-boiled eggs at this point and garnish with toasted garlic (instrucitions below) and chopped scallions (optional), or add the eggs and the garnish to the individual servings. Serve with lemon wedges or calamansi.


Toasted garlic:

Simply saute minced garlic in oil over medium heat until golden brown. Spread the cooked garlic on paper towel lined plate to drain.





Please check out the Kulinarya Cooking Club website to see the fabulous entries of other members. Thank you Joy of Joy's Misadventures for stepping up to the plate and coming up with the Arroz Caldo theme for this month. Good choice!

Creamless Creamy Tomato Soup

Posted by foodgeek on January 13, 2010 at 1:13 AM Comments comments (0)

 Serves 6 to 8. From Cook's Illustrated. Good quick meal for a chilly night. Also makes for a good brown bag lunch. No cream added, but tastes and feels like it.


If half of the soup fills your blender by more than two-thirds, process the soup in three batches. You can also use an immersion blender to process the soup directly in the pot. For an even smoother soup, pass the pureed mixture through a fine-mesh strainer before stirring in the chicken broth in step 2. Serve this soup with grilled cheese sandwiches or topped with croutons.



1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil , plus more for drizzling

1 medium onion , chopped medium (about 1 cup)

3 medium garlic cloves , minced or pressed through garlic press (about 1 tablespoon)

Pinch hot red pepper flakes (optional)

1 bay leaf

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes packed in juice (I used diced tomatoes since that was what I had in the pantry)

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 large slices good-quality sandwich bread , crusts removed, torn into 1-inch pieces

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 tablespoons brandy (optional)

1/4 cup chopped fresh chives (or parsley for garnish)



1. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven (I used a medium sauce pan since I only made half the recipe) over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add onion, garlic, red pepper flakes (if using), and bay leaf. Cook, stirring frequently, until onion is translucent, 3 to 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes and their juice. Using potato masher, mash until no pieces bigger than 2 inches remain (skipped the mashing since I used diced tomatoes). Stir in sugar and bread; bring soup to boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until bread is completely saturated and starts to break down, about 5 minutes. Remove and discard bay leaf.


2. Transfer half of soup to blender. Add 1 tablespoon oil and process until soup is smooth and creamy, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer to large bowl and repeat with remaining soup and oil. Rinse out Dutch oven and return soup to pot. Stir in chicken broth and brandy (if using). Return soup to boil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve soup in individual bowls. Sprinkle each portion with pepper and chives and drizzle with olive oil.