ARROZ CALDO: The King of Congees

This Filipino souped up version of a Chinese classic will blow your mind. 

Back home this dish is perfect for the wet season to fight of the winter chills. When you select your chicken you want to see a nice happy chicken that’s running around that’s had a nice healthy full life. Our native chickens have a hint of gaminess to them. Much less fat and a much firmer texture. So you are going to need to cook them for longer but the extra wait is worth double. 

You need a bowl with a small handful of Jasmine rice. Leave the bowl on the floor. Step on the two wings with your two feet bowl of rice underneath the next. Hold the neck. Grab a little feather from where you are going to cut. Tap the neck with the side of the neck to stimulate the blood vessels. Then slice across the neck. If you do it right then the process takes 5 seconds and while the chicken is bleeding out it shouldn’t feel a thing. Collect all the blood in the bowl. 

Put the chicken in a pot of boiling water for a few seconds then pluck the feathers. Keep dipping to soften and repeat. Once all the feathers are gone blowtorch it or hold over an open fire to singe all the small hairs. Open cavity and pull out the guys. Keep the heart, the liver and the gizzard. Cut open the gizzard. Discard the food inside. Peel away the lining. Give all the insides a good wash. Cut beak of and put the head and the neck. Chop up the chicken keeping all the bones and put aside. Saute all the meat in a pan for a few minutes. The saute garlic and onion. Smash up ginger and lemongrass. Put rice in and add 6 litre of water. Cook it off till rice breaks. 30 40minutes slow boil. Then add the chicken. When almost cooked add the blooded rice. It should stay as one congealed whole which if you like you can cut into quarters. Season it up. Serve it with boiled eggs, crispy chicken skin and spring onions. For me add achiote oil for colour and depth. Add black pepper and keep topping up with a pinch as you eat up your soup. 

Guaranteed to revitalise yourself and firm up family bonds when it is too cold, windy and wet to go out. You serve this dish right not even your wife’s mother will argue with you.

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