Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is a dish that is quite well-known in the family, and across the Philippines I presume, as the go to dish when someone is feeling under the weather. In our house, you’d know when someone is sick with the flu when you see this dish on the table for everyone to eat; yes that’s right, you don’t have to be the sick one to have a bowl of arroz caldo! However, besides it well-known as the go to dish for the sick, arroz caldo is also a common breakfast dish as it can be quite filling, providing you with the energy that you’d need to last you until lunch time. It can also be a snack (merienda) dish with tokwa’t baboy (a dish composed of boiled pig’s ears and/or pork belly, and fried tofu with a vinegar, soy sauce, and chilli dip on the side).

Arroz Caldo is actually of Chinese origin as it draws resemblance to a type of risotto-like congee. The name of this dish however, was given by the Spaniards due to pronunciation issues. The dish is also similar to other Filipino porridges such as lugaw and goto, the only distinguishing ingredient would be that arroz caldo mainly uses chicken while goto requires the use of tripe, beef, and innards. Lugaw on the other hand, is as plain as it can get.

So I made this dish back when I was in Sydney, a few weeks before I left in early August. I was staying at Marissa’s place for the time I was there and we both fell ill at one point during my stay. I can’t quite remember who fell sick first and who gave who the sickness, but all I remembered was that I made this dish for the both of us. I even told her the story behind this dish and she even made mention that they have a similar Vietnamese dish known as Cháo Ga (also fed to those who were feeling under the weather).

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge) Ingredients

PREP TIME 10 MINS | COOKING TIME 45 MINS | SERVES 4-6

INGREDIENTS

  • 500g chicken mid-wings, washed and cleaned
  • 1.5L water
  • 2 cups rice, uncooked and washed
  • 4 large free range eggs, hard-boiled and sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large brown onion, sliced
  • 1 lemon (or calamansi if available)
  • 1 thumb-sized ginger, julienned
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Crispy fried shallots
  • Spring onions, sliced

METHOD

  1. Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot over medium-high. Add the ginger and fry until fragrant, then add in the garlic, sautéing until fragrant and golden brown. Then add in the onions and cook until soft, altogether about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add the chicken mid-wings to the pot and season with the chicken stock powder and ground black pepper. Give it a good mix and cook for about 6-8 minutes or until the outer layer of the chicken starts to brown. Then add in the water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cook for a further 5 minutes and then scoop out the chicken mid-wings and set aside*.
  3. Add the washed, uncooked rice and mix well, stirring occasionally. Turn the heat down to low-medium and leave it to simmer until the rice is fully cooked (about 30 to 40 minutes). Stir occasionally just to make sure that the rice doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pot. In the last 10 minutes of cooking time, you may return the chicken mid-wings to the pot to heat them up again before serving the dish.
  4. Taste and if the porridge needs a bit more seasoning, add some fish sauce and adjust to your liking.
  5. Divide the porridge into bowls equally and top with the chicken and sliced hard-boiled eggs. Garnish with a pinch of crispy fried shallots, spring onion, and a squeeze of lemon juice (you may add some saffron threads for aroma and colour).
  6. Serve hot and enjoy!

*You don’t usually scoop the chicken out, but because I didn’t want the chicken to become too soft and start breaking apart, so I took them out. The reason is just because I don’t want them to look aesthetically displeasing on the dish for the photograph really. Otherwise, leaving them in until they fall of the bone is what you would like to achieve with this dish.

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

Arroz Caldo (Chicken Rice Porridge)

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Caesar Salad with Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Caesar Salad with Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! As mentioned at the end of my last recipe post on Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken, I made a Caesar Salad to go with the roast. A quick and healthy dish (excluding the mayonnaise), to easily pack and take to work with you, which is exactly what I did last week.

Caesar Salad with Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

I have a funny, but quite saddening story on my part about this. So as usual, I always pre-pack my lunches the day I make them, which is usually on Monday afternoon, and I made the decision to add the caesar dressing in the morning before going to work because I didn’t want the lettuce leaves to soak in the dressing overnight. Tuesday was fine, but I completely forgot to add the dressing on the salad for Wednesday. I specifically remembered to do it when I woke up in the morning, and even had it running in my mind throughout my morning shower. But for some mystical reason, it slipped my mind and it only hit my that I completely forgot to add the dressing was when I was halfway through the journey to work by bus. I was so devastated when I came to that realisation. I was too devastated that I didn’t even look forward to having my lunch that day. I now know what it’s like to eat rabbit food. Rabbits must have such a hard life to have to go through this every single meal of every single day.

All that aside, even though I had bottled caesar dressing sitting in the fridge, I decided to make my own (sort of) caesar dressing. I say ‘sort of’ because I used bottled mayonnaise; if you really want to go all out, then be my guest and whip up your own healthier version of mayo! Anyway, I wanted to give making my own caesar dressing a go since I had all the ingredients to make it possible already in the pantry. Maybe my next challenge will be to make my own mayo too! Also, I accidentally left the croutons in the oven for a little bit too long that they were overly tanned, but thankfully not burnt. Oops! I made the mistake of not setting a timer to remind me that they were in the oven; I think at that time I was busy carving the chicken. (I picked the least tanned ones for the photographs)!

Caesar Salad Ingredients

Croutons Ingredients

Caesar Salad Dressing Ingredients

PREP TIME 20 MINS | COOKING TIME 10 MINS | SERVES 4

INGREDIENTS

  • Baby cos lettuce, washed and sliced
  • Garlic infused olive oil
  • Mini stone-baked pane di casa, cut into small chunks
  • Roast chicken slices

For the caesar dressing

  • 1/3 cup free range egg mayonnaise
  • 4 anchovy fillets, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed then minced
  • 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • Handful of grated parmesan
  • Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD

  1. Preheat oven to 180C. Spread the small chunks of bread over a large baking tray lined with parchment paper and sprinkle the garlic infused olive oil over them. Rub the oil into the bread and season with a little salt if you like. Bake for about 8 to 10 minutes, turning the croutons a few times during cooking so they brown evenly on all sides. Once done, remove from the oven and set aside.
  2. Combine all the ingredients for the caesar dressing into and small bowl and whisk together to combine.
  3. Plate up the baby cos lettuce and the roast chicken. Drizzle a generous amount of the dressing, and top with the croutons, shaved parmesan, and a bit of cracked black pepper.

Caesar Salad with Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

You can skip the chicken if you wish for a great light salad for lunch, and for those who want to bulk it up so that it’s not just leaves, have it with the chicken of course! For this salad, I carved up the breast parts from the whole roast chicken that I posted the recipe to last week. Check it out here on the blog for those of you who missed it!

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Hello Everyone! Today’s recipe is pretty much what the title says, a classic whole roast chicken. I know some of you guys out there, myself included, would’ve probably rubbed some herds onto the skin and then pop it in the oven to roast away. I kid you not, I have had my fair share of roast chicken, homemade or from the grocers and almost every time the chicken is quite dry, especially the breast parts (which is why I hated eating chicken breast while growing up as a kid). It wasn’t only until recently I learnt about a cooking technique known as brining (submerging in salted water at the very basic) when we roasted a whole turkey for last year’s Noche Buena. It feels weird saying last year when it was technically less than a month ago. Anyway, the turkey was super moist and flavoursome! So I decided to try out brining again with a whole chicken.

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

Keeping your bird juicy isn’t that hard – all you need is the right seasoning, and a little bit of patience and motivation to add that extra step before having your lunch or dinner. It does pay off though! Brining chicken not only adds moisture to the chicken, making it nice and plump, it also helps prevent it from drying out when you cook it. The result is a delicious, moist, and juicy chicken. In addition, not only does it affect the texture and juiciness of your chicken, it also affects the taste. A few hours, or even better if overnight, in brine will let the salt penetrate deep into the chicken meat, enhancing its natural flavour. Of course, there is one disadvantage. All the extra water that ends up in the chicken can make it harder to get a crispy skin. Luckily, that’s easy to fix. If you’re going for crispy skin, just let the chicken air dry in the refrigerator for an hour or so. Yes, it does take the extra effort, but it’s so easy to do!

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken Brine

So what actually happens during the brining process? A little bit of high school science for you!

  • Diffusion: This occurs when particles move from a region of higher concentration to an area of lower concentration. So, as we have established above, the brine has a lot more salt in it than the chicken. Therefore, to balance things out, the salt gets absorbed by the chicken – not just on the surface, but all through the meat.
  • Osmosis: This is when water (or another liquid) moves through a membrane from one region that has more water to another region that has less water. This is exactly what happens when you brine chicken. The brine has a lot more water than the chicken, so the water moves through the chicken cells, from the brine to the chicken.

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken Brining Process

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken Brining Process

Salt is the most important ingredient when brining chicken. It actually doesn’t make the chicken salty in the end, but as explained above, really enhances the chicken’ natural flavour. You can also add some other seasonings to your chicken brine, and they’ll work the same way and diffuse into the chicken. If you’re planning on using extra seasonings in your chicken brine, you’re going to need to boil it. Otherwise, the flavors just won’t penetrate the chicken. Think of it as if you were making tea – if you try making it with cold water, nothing happens. You need the heat to leech the flavour out of your seasonings. But remember to cool your brine down first before submerging your chicken into it. Not only does it end up cooking the chicken just a little bit, it also creates a bacteria farm that could potentially make you sick.

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken Ingredients

PREP TIME 24 HOURS* | COOKING TIME 2 HOURS | SERVES 6-8

*This includes the brining process.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2kg whole free range chicken, washed and cleaned
  • 3L water
  • 3/4 cup salt
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1 medium-sized spanish onion, halved and sliced thinly
  • 1/2 lemon, sliced
  • 2 tsp chicken stock powder
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Handful of whole black peppercorns
  • 50g butter, chilled

The basic ratio of salt to water for a brine is 4 tablespoons of salt per litre of water.

METHOD

  1. Start by clearing out a space big enough to fit a bowl large enough to hold your chicken in the fridge. Line two plastic bags over your bowl, or if you don’t have one large enough, a cooking pot will do. Place your chicken into the bag, and set aside.
  2. Combine half of the water and all the ingredients, except the butter, chicken, and wine, in a large cooking pot and bring to a slight boil to allow all the flavours and seasoning to incorporate into the liquid. Once boiling, let it boil for a further 5 minutes before removing from the heat.
  3. Add the remaining water and the wine. Set aside to cool down completely. There are other ways of cooling down the brine faster if you are short on time, or a little bit impatient. You can submerge the pot in cold water, or even add ice to the brine.
  4. Once the brine has cooled down completely, slowly and carefully pour it over the prepared bowl/pot of chicken. If there is too much liquid, do not panic! Simply lift the plastic bags up and then pour the remaining brine in.
  5. Tie the bags ups nice and tightly and refrigerate for a few hours, or overnight. If you’re going for crispy skin, just let the chicken air dry in the refrigerator for an hour or so before roasting in the oven.
  6. Preheat oven to 190C. Line a deep baking tray with foil and place a wire rack above it.
  7. Using cooking twine, tie the drumsticks together as well as the wings to hold them in place while roasting. I don’t actually know how to tie the wings properly, so that’s how I tied mine! I don’t even know if tying it the way I did is how it’s done either!
  8. In a small bowl, combine the butter with a few thyme leave, mashing it together just by using your fingertips, and then rubbing it all over the chicken.
  9. Add the garlic and onions from the brining liquid to the drop tray, as well as a little bit of the brine. This will later add flavour to the gravy that you can make combined with the drippings from the chicken. Just combine the pan drippings into a small sauce pan and add flour to thicken it up.
  10. Place the chicken on the wire rack, and into the oven for about 2 hours.
  11. Once done, remove from the oven and tent it for about 10 to 15 minutes before serving. Serve with steamed rice or mashed potatoes and veggies. Alternatively, you can serve with is a nice Caesar Salad which is what I did – stay tuned for the recipe on Tuesday!

Lemon & Thyme Roast Chicken

BON APPÉTIT

– Ally xx

myTaste.com