Rice porridge, Filipino congee, whatever you want to call it, this is a great dish to have on a cold day or when you are feeling under the weather. My mom used to make this for me whenever I was sick, the hot chicken flavored porridge with hints of ginger really soothe the throat when it's sore.
1 small (local organic 2-3 lbs) chicken or 1/2 large (supermarket 5-7 lb) chicken, or 2 leg quarters, broken up into parts, bone in skin on.
1 med onion, chopped fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups water
2 bay leaves
2 cups rice, short grain, I like Calrose for this.
2 thumb sized piece of ginger, skinned and minced fine
2 tbsp patis, more to taste
salt and pepper
Season chicken pieces with salt, brown in a stockpot or dutch oven on all sides in some neutral oil. Reserve chicken, lower heat and add onions, garlic and more salt. Sweat until onions are translucent. Replace chicken and add water, bay leaves and half of the ginger. Simmer until chicken is cooked through, don't allow to rapid boil. Remove the chicken and set aside to cool. Skim stock for any foam. Add rice and patis to stock. Raise heat to high and bring to a low boil, stirring frequently to keep rice from sticking. Cook until rice is tender and is beginning to disintegrate slightly. If it begins to dry out and get too thick, add more water. While the porridge is cooking, shred the chicken. Remove skin, mince and fry crispy (optional). When porridge is cooked, add chicken and remaining ginger. Stir to incorporate and heat through. Taste for salt, pepper, and patis. Fish sauce flavor should be just perceptible, but not over powering. Ginger should be fairly strong but not overwhelming. This is a ridiculously easy dish to make. If it gets too dry add water, if it's too wet, reduce it. There's really no such thing as over cooked arroz caldo. Correct texture should be pretty soft, like runny oatmeal. Two pitfalls to watch out for, burned rice on the bottom caused by not stirring enough, and salting when the porridge is too liquidy then reducing.
Serve with the following garnishes and calamansi or lemon slices.
Garnish with your choice of: fried garlic, minced scallions, hard boiled egg, more shredded chicken, fried chicken skin pieces, chili sesame oil, or pork rousong (Chinese dried sweet pork floss).