Filipino Arroz Caldo Recipe is to the Philippines as chicken noodle soup is to America. It’s the ultimate comfort food when you have a cold and you’re not feeling well. Back when I had my wisdom teeth pulled out, I had arroz caldo for dayssss without any complaint. My belly was quite satisfied and happy from the delicious medley of rice, chicken, potatoes, and lots of ginger.
Arroz caldo literally translates to hot rice or rice stew/soup. This Filipino rice porridge is a great representation of Philippine history as this dish is a combination of Spanish and Chinese influences. Though Spanish by name, it’s very similar to Chinese congee. Some variations take the Spanish influence a bit further with the addition of saffron to the chicken broth.
Arroz caldo is a rice congee that was introduced by Chinese traders to the natives of the Philippines. During the Song Dynasty (960–1279) in China, native Filipinos is trading crops, herbs, and condiments in exchange for silk, porcelain, and ceramics with Hokkien speaking people from China. Chinese traders prepare congee food for their meal which was eventually shared to the native Filipinos to which they do their trading.
The name Arroz Caldo was Spanish in origin but the dish itself originates from the Chinese. Congee, which is a type of rice porridge, was already popular in the Philippines and other Asian countries before the Spaniards colonized the Philippines. It so happened that Chinese terminology is hard to pronounce by the Spanish colonizers and so the Spaniards made a Spanish name to it. Similarly, the Philippine island was long been discovered before the Spaniards arrived in the archipelago but was named “Philippines” by the Spanish colonizer after the name of their king Philip II of Spain in the 16th century.
This ginger flavored rice-chicken soup have similarities with other Filipino rice congee dishes like “goto” and “lugaw”. Their main differences are: Arroz caldo uses chicken as its meat ingredient; “Goto” uses tripe, beef, and internal organs; and “Lugaw” is simply a plain rice congee.