Arroz Caldo/Philippine Rice Porridge

This is one of my favorite dishes to come out of recent articles, adapted from a family recipe from Jun Belen’s mother, Juanita Belen, in honor of the rice dishes served around Christmas time in the Philippines. It’s similar to Chinese rice porridge, or congee, with Philippine twists like fish sauce and calamansi, a type of citrus that is difficult to find here. This recipe makes a fairly thick rice porridge; for a thinner consistency add more cups of chicken stock when serving or reheating the soup.
Serves 4 to 6

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1-inch piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped, about 1/2 tablespoon
1/3 cup chopped onion
— Pinch of saffron
6 chicken wings, or 1 large boneless chicken breast cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup short- or medium-grain rice (see Note)
4 cups low-sodium chicken broth, or more as needed
2 tablespoons fish sauce
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced, to garnish
2 spring onions, thinly sliced, to garnish
3 calamansi or limes, cut into wedges, to garnish

Instructions: Saute the garlic in the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat until golden brown and crisp, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the garlic to paper towels to drain and set aside.

Add the ginger, onion and saffron; cook until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes. Add the chicken and brown on all sides for about 5 minutes.

Add the rice, chicken broth and fish sauce; cover and simmer over medium to low heat, until the chicken and rice are cooked through, 25-30 minutes, stirring frequently.

Ladle into bowls and serve with bowls of hard-boiled egg, spring onion, fried garlic, calamansi or limes and fish sauce, for garnishing.

Note: Shorter-grained rice creates the right texture for this soup; you can also use sticky or glutinous rice to make a thicker porridge.

Per serving: 253 calories, 15 g protein, 23 g carbohydrate, 11 g fat (2 g saturated), 41 mg cholesterol, 538 mg odium, 1 g fiber.

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