The past week and a half has been pretty uncomfortable at home. First, Jess got sick, then a few days later, I followed him. I’m five days in, and while my sore throat is almost gone, I can’t shake my cough. We’re calling our place the Den of Disease. Quaint, isn’t it?

So far in the past week, I’ve made my favorite meal for the weary twice – Arroz Caldo. Or lugaw, jook, congee, rice porridge, or gruel, depending on where you’re from. Chicken, ginger, garlic and rice all mushed up in a bowl. If you haven’t had it, that might not sound appealing. But trust me – it’s the perfect comfort food when you’re under the weather. And it’s incredibly easy to make. Here’s how I make mine.


  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 1 tablespoon of oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons of ginger, peeled and minced
  • 1 small onion, sliced or chopped
  • 1 cup of uncooked white rice (I like to use Korean rice because its shorter grain)
  • 6 cups of water
  • 1 tablespoon of chicken base -or-
  • 3 chicken bullion cubes
  • salt and pepper to taste

Toppings (optional)

  • 5 cloves of garlic, minced and fried until crispy
  • 4 hardboiled eggs, halved
  • 1/4 cup of chopped green onions
  • lemon wedges
  • patis (fish sauce)


  1. Boil the chicken breast in water until soft. When they’re done, take them out and shred into large chunks with a fork. Set aside. Save the broth.
  2. In a pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Then add garlic, onion, and ginger. Stir regularly until they are aromatic.
  3. Add rice to the pot, stirring so it gets covered with the oil evenly.
  4. Add water. In lieu of 6 cups of water, you can use what’s left of your broth in Step 1, then add whatever you need to total 6 cups of liquid using plain water.
  5. Add bullion cubes or chicken base and stir in.
  6. Allow the pot to boil, then reduce to a shimmer and cover, stirring occasionally until the rice is soft and the arroz caldo has thickened.

When you’re done, ladle the porridge into a bowl and sprinkle with fried garlic bits. I love to put lots of patis (fish sauce) in my bowl. You can also top with a boiled egg, green onions, and a squeeze of lemon.