#170 Arroz Caldo

From the Spanish ‘arroz caldo,’ the Filipino lúgao (spelled “lugaw” or “lugau”) is the Filipino name for congee. Similar to Cantonese-style congee, lúgao is typically thicker, retaining the shape of the rice but with a similar texture. It is boiled with strips of fresh ginger (from Wikipedia).

The Philippine arroz caldo or lugaw is often topped with scallions and served with crispy fried garlic. Fish or chicken stock may be used to flavour the broth. Lúgao can also be served with tokwa’t baboy (diced tofu and pork), goto (beef tripe), utak (pig’s brain), dila (pork tongue), litid (beef ligaments), and with calamansi, fish sauce and soy sauce. It is often served to the ill and the elderly and is favored by Pinoys living abroad in colder climates because it is warm, soft and easily digestible.

Some provinces prefer the Spanish-influenced arroz caldo (literally ‘rice broth), which is often thought to be a European dish because of its name. Arroz caldo is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronized Chinese restaurants in the Philippines.

Arroz caldo is most usually spiced with saffron and black pepper in addition to the more traditional ginger and scallion. Arroz caldo more closely resembles risotto than congee, from which it can be distinguished by the bright yellow saffron hue and the larger pieces of meat.

Bon appetit!

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