Although White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford provided this recipe at a recent cooking demonstration held at TenPenh in downtown Washington, she said "there is no real recipe for how Filipinos eat arroz caldo." It's comfort food that is ubiquitous: made for breakfast, as an afternoon snack or late-night meal.
- 2 1/8 cups canola oil
- 1 pound boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
- 12 medium cloves garlic, 6 of them finely minced
- 1 tablespoon finely minced ginger root
- 1 small onion, thinly sliced
- 1 cup uncooked jasmine rice or medium-grain rice
- 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce, or to taste
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 1 cup whole or low-fat milk
- Cayenne pepper
- Sea salt
- 3 tablespoons finely sliced scallions, white and light green parts
- 6 small calamansi or key limes, juiced
- Scallion oil, for garnish (optional)
In a large saucepan over medium-high to high heat, heat 1 to 2 tablespoons of the oil until it shimmers. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, for about 7 minutes or until the chicken is lightly browned. Reduce the heat to medium and add the 6 cloves of minced garlic, the ginger and the onion. Cook, stirring, for about 5 to 8 minutes, until the mixture is fragrant and the onion becomes translucent. Add the rice and stir until well coated, then add the chicken broth and mix well. Cook, covered, for about 15 minutes or until the rice is tender. Add the fish sauce; season with salt and pepper to taste. Reduce heat to low.
Cut the remaining cloves of garlic into paper-thin slices and place in a small bowl. Add the milk and soak for 10 minutes, then transfer to a small saucepan and cook over medium heat for 3 minutes. Drain, discarding the milk, and pat the garlic dry with paper towels.
Line a plate with paper towels. Heat the remaining 2 cups of oil in a medium pot to 350 degrees. Carefully add the garlic slices and cook for 1 minute, until crisp. Transfer to the paper towel-lined plate and dust with cayenne pepper and sea salt to taste.
To serve, ladle portions of the soup into individual bowls and garnish with the crisped garlic, scallions and calamansi or lime juice. Drizzle with scallion oil, if desired.
Adapted from White House executive chef Cristeta Comerford.
Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.
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