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
- 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)
- 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.
- In a pot or dutch oven, heat oil. Then add garlic, onion, and ginger. Stir regularly until they are aromatic.
- Add rice to the pot, stirring so it gets covered with the oil evenly.
- 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.
- Add bullion cubes or chicken base and stir in.
- 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.