Chicken Arroz Caldo – Another Filipino Classic Dish

Every time I eat arroz caldo, it reminds me of the countless times my dad and I spent on those hole-in-a-wall eateries that are often found on the street or what many Filipinos called “carinderia”.  That is why I want to thank Joy of Kulinarya Club for coming up with arroz caldo as our November cooking theme.

The true Filipino name of this dish is “lugaw” or “lugao” and it was adapted from the Chinese congee. Congee and lugaw are very similar except Filipinos added diced scallions, toasted garlic, and some even added boiled eggs. Then came the Castilian or Spanish influence of adding saffron, and other spices that made it arroz caldo. Well, with the price tag of about $70 per ounce, I guess. . . we’re not using saffron today. Instead we will be using the saffron wanna be and that is kasubha (safflower $1.49 per oz). But if you insist on using saffron, be my guest and if you have any leftover, email me and I will let you know where to send it, he he he.

There are arroz caldo (sometimes called “GOTO”) that is prepared with beef tripe, or even pork stomach but the most common type is chicken arroz caldo.  You can use boneless and skinless chicken meat or you can use chopped whole chicken. I like using chopped whole chicken because of the flavorful broth that it produces.


Chicken Arroz Caldo
  • 1 whole chicken – cut into serving pieces
  • 1 medium onion – chopped
  • 1 cup uncooked rice
  • 2½ Tablespoon finely minced ginger
  • 2 Tablespoon finely minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt or Patis(Fish Sauce) to taste
  • Gound black pepper to taste
  • 6 cups water (add more if it rice becomes too thick)
  • 2 Tablespoon vegetable oil (for sauteing and browning garlic)
  • 4 Tablespoon finely-minced garlic (set aside to be sauted)
  • 1 cup chopped green onions or scallion for flavoring and garnishing (chop but separate the white parts)
  • Sesame oil to taste.
  • Slices of lemon or calamansi.
  • 1 teaspoon kasubha or safflower for coloring. (See picture below).

  1. Place wok or large casserole over medium-high heat then add oil.
  2. When the oil is hot,add onions, garlic, and ginger.
  3. Stir fry until onion is translucent.
  4. Add chicken then stir fry until chicken is seared to light brown.
  5. Add water and let it boil.
  6. Remove all the foam that will float on top of the water.
  7. Add rice and let it boil.
  8. Stir occasionally to avoid rice from sticking to the bottom.
  9. Add the safflower.
  10. Add the whites parts of the green onion.
  11. Add salt or fish sauce as needed.
  12. Add ground pepper.
  13. Serve hot topped with chopped green onion.
  14. Toasted garlic, lemon or kalamansi, additional chopped green onions, and sesame oil may be served on the side.
Prepare the Toasted Garlic
  1. *Note: This process must be done while chicken is simmering.*
  2. Place small frying pan on medium-low heat
  3. Add 2 Tablespoon Vegetable oil.
  4. Add 4 Tablespoon finely minced garlic.
  5. Keep stirring until garlic light-golden brown.
  6. Remove from heat, transfer in a small bowl then set aside. Yes, including the oil. :)
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 6 to 8



Your comment is always appreciated.





  1. says

    Your Chicken Arroz Caldo recipe looks soooooo good! I haven’t cooked in a wok in years so after reading through this recipe I started missing my wok. Guess it’s time to buy another one and give this recipe a go. You know I love the toasted garlic! I like to cook up garlic like that and just dip fresh bread in the oil, picking up a few bits of the garlic. I can only imagine how well it goes with the arroz caldo!

  2. says

    Classic, indeed. Classic comfort food that’s perfect all-year round but more so now. Handsome bowl of arroz caldo you have, Ray. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving to you and your family.

  3. says

    Sometimes I don’t use Spanish saffron either. Besides my husband can’t even tell the difference in flavor.LOL
    Your photos are making me want to cook again, goto next time.

  4. says

    Hi Ray! HMMM! This is why I need to come to Filipino blogger’s site. I’m not exposed to Filipino cuisines AT ALL. I’m missing great food in my life. This looks amazingly delicious…perfect for cold day like today (freezing up here).

  5. says

    What a lovely sunny dish! I think I will have to wait several long months before I have such a warm light… It looks delicious! thank you for introducing the false saffron. I have never heard about it, but many people say that often false saffron is sold as real saffron… (of course at the high price!)

    • says

      Thank you, Sissi. Safflower doesn’t have the aroma and flavor of saffron (in my opinion) and it doesn’t even come close. If you would like the yellow coloring, this would do. :)

  6. says

    I also use safflower when I had access to it in Cali. It gives a beautiful landscape like your bowl… so soothing. Great post and amazing photos as always. Don’t get tired of those praises Ray because your clicks are always so stunning!

  7. says

    Hi ray, i spelled by your picture through Season with spice. This recipe is absolutely what i need because i have sun flower strand just sitting in the spices jar. Thank you!
    *Book marked right away :)

  8. says

    I’ve been tempted on buying those mini capsules of saffron from the grocery stores but keep on chickening out! So expensive! I second the motion if ever anyone got spare I would love to have some=P Okey na rin ang kasubha or even turmeric powder for Filipino Congee (*barat ko* LOL!) Your Arroz Caldo looks like it packs so much flavour because I can see that rich broth…and I love that golden brown searing on the chicken pieces, reminds me of the lugawan stopover halfway to Ilocos Norte, they kind of pan seared the cooked chicken pieces and then they place a piece on the bottom of the bowl and ladle the Arroz Caldo on top=)

  9. says

    Great introduction Ray to this delicious looking dish. Reading this post makes me wonder why there aren’t more Filipino restaurants around. I haven’t heard of this dish before but it looks so comforting and satisfying! I’ll need to remember this recipe and give it a try … with the safflower seeds version. =P

  10. says

    Your arroz caldo look so good. I wasn’t able to make this for our KC Challenge but i will for surely make one any time soon. I braise my chicken when i make “puspas” Cebuano name for Arroz caldo as well. Thank you for reminding me of the kasubha, my mom uses them too but i haven’t used them for a long time now…i must look for it when i go to the Asian store.

    • says

      Hi Mon, You don’t need kasubha. It is just a coloring and not really adding flavor to the dish unlike saffron. Wala bang Asian store in Central Europe?

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