my mom’s chicken soup: arroz caldo

I’ve been sick with the flu since Thursday night, and suffered through varying levels of fever (oh, hello there, 104.7F) over the weekend, preventing me from making the three dishes I had on deck.  So sad!  The only thing I managed to make was what I refer to as “my mom’s chicken soup” – a rice soup, or arroz caldo in Tagalog, which is what my mom would give us when we were feeling sick.  It’s more like a porridge or jook (congee) than a regular soup, and if you prefer it to be thinner, you can add more stock.  The mix of the ginger and onions is yummy and warming, one of my favorite flavor combinations ever.  Since I love ginger, I tend to add more than the normal amount – feel free to adjust to your preferences.
Arroz Caldo
1 lb of chicken drummettes OR 1 chicken breast (I prefer the breast, but traditionally, my mom uses the drummettes)
1/2 onion, chopped finely
1-2 inch pice of ginger, peeled and chopped
7-10 threads of saffron
2 cloves garlic, chopped finely (and as evenly as possible)
1 1/2 cups of calrose rice
4 cups chicken broth
2 T fish sauce (more or less to taste)
vegetable oil
2 scallions, chopped
Heat some vegetable oil in a 5 qt. stock pot over medium-high heat, and gently brown garlic until crispy – be vigilant so you don’t burn it.  Remove garlic from oil and set on a paper towel to drain.  You will use this as garnish.  Add onions, saffron, and ginger to pot, saute until cooked through – about 5 minutes.  Add rice, give it a few stirs, then add broth and 1 T of fish sauce.  Lower heat, and let the rice cook, making sure to stir every once in a while to ensure nothing sticks to the bottom of the pot.  In about 30 minutes, the rice should be cooked and tender, and will have soaked up some of the liquid.  If you want it thinner, add more liquid, and cook longer.  Taste and adjust salt levels (add more fish sauce if desired).
To serve, ladle into a bowl and top with chopped scallions, fried garlic, and add a wedge or two of lemon.
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fiendishly fond of cooking, SoulCycle, Pilates, green smoothies, and Korean spas.

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