Arroz Caldo is a Filipino chicken and rice soup or rice porridge. In this dish the chicken is cooked with a sauteed onion, garlic and ginger base before adding in rice, fish sauce and chicken stock. When served the soup is garnished with a boiled egg, spring onion and crunchy toasted garlic. Additional fish sauce and calamansi (a type of citrus fruit that is a hybrid of a kumquat and an orange, native to the Philippines) are also normally at hand to bring the flavours out even more if desired.

In the Philippines this dish is typically eaten during the cooler rainy season days, sometimes as a breakfast dish. However, my mum makes this for my daughter and I when we’re feeling under the weather. It is the ultimate Filipino comfort food.

Some people make this with glutinous rice, but I use basmati rice. I’m not a huge fan of fish sauce so in my version I substitute this with oyster sauce. Calimansi is also difficult to find here in the UK, so I substitute this with lemon instead. For extra depth of flavour I marinade chicken thighs overnight in garlic powder and soy sauce, this gives the chicken a richer brown during the initial browning.


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Arroz Caldo Recipe

Serves: 4
Preparation Time: 15 minutes
Marinating Time: 30 minutes – 12 hours
Cooking Time: 45 minutes


  • 1 kg skinless chicken thighs
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp reduced salt soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp light olive oil
  • 12 cloves garlic finely chopped
  • 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic crushed
  • thumb sized piece of ginger finely chopped
  • 1.5 l chicken stock
  • 200 g basmati rice
  • 1tsp finely ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce
  • 2 stalks spring onion finely chopped for serving
  • lemon slices for serving
  • boiled eggs for serving
  • fish sauce or additional oyster sauce for serving


  1. Marinade the chicken: Cut 2 slashes into each chicken thigh, add them all to a large bowl and combine with the garlic powder and soy sauce. Cover and leave in the fridge for at least half an hour or overnight.
  2. Toast the garlic: Add the oil and chopped garlic to a large saucepan. Put over a medium heat and stir as it all heats up. Cook garlic until golden brown. Pour into a metal sieve and place the sieve on a plate lined with kitchen roll to absorb the excess oil.
  3. In the same pan brown the chicken thighs in batches on a high heat for around 5 minutes per side. Then set aside.
  4. In the same pan fry onions on medium heat until soft. Add in the crushed garlic and the ginger and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  5. Add in a little stock and stir well to de-glaze the bottom of the pan. Then add remaining stock, rice and the chicken and stir well. Simmer for 25 mins.
  6. Serve in bowls topped with a boiled egg, spring onion and toasted garlic garnish and a slice of lemon.


  • Yes, the fried garlic garnish is a bit of a faff (peeling garlic is so tedious), but it definitely makes this dish pop – the effort is so worth it.
  • Tip: when peeling the garlic slice off the hard end of the clove (where the cloves join together in the bulb) then place the clove under the handle of your knife. Press down firmly on the handle to very slightly crush the clove. This will loosen the skin and make it easier to peel off.

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