Arroz Caldo | Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup

Arroz Caldo | Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup

I spoke with him on the phone. The storm was beginning to pick up and my dad assured me that he had enough water. Enough food. Batteries. A generator. Even a power inverter. And I slowly felt reassured. If anyone could McGuyver his way though a hurricane, it’s my dad. He’s always been Mr. Handy. And he’s a mechanical engineer.

But his one concern were the trees. As he spoke of the large trees in front of my childhood home, I became nostalgic. I remembered each of those trees fondly: the majestic walnut that dropped its nuts, leaving round, treacherous obstacles to those not paying attention when they walked past our house, the dogwood whose leaves had surely turned its brilliant magenta by now, the oak that was home to the squirrels who scampered on our lawn, and the Japanese maple, whose only job, it seemed, was to look pretty. I played amongst those trees, and now I worried that they would fall.

It was hard to be away, to worry from afar. I took solace in knowing that my brother and his fiancee are a relatively short drive away, and that he checked in on him before Sandy.

Relief came this morning, when I heard from family and friends. Everyone was fine. But the images on the news are hard to swallow.

So, today, I cooked from the archives. Something sentimental. Arroz Caldo is the chicken soup that brings warmth and comfort – I cooked it for my dad when he was sick, and I cook it now for my family whenever we need a little extra hug. I hope that wherever you are, you can have a steaming bowlful and feel my warm thoughts with you.

Arroz Caldo (Filipino Chicken and Rice Soup)

Serves 4-6. | Prep: 10 minutes | Cook: 25 minutes

This is my quick and easy, fast and speedy way of making Arroz Caldo. I can get it done in just about half an hour, perfect for weeknight dinners. When I have extra time, I also have a weekend version, which I originally published two years ago here.


1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 pieces of ginger, sliced in thick chunks
2 lbs chicken (a combination of boneless, skinless thighs and breast works well), cut into bite size pieces
1-2 tablespoons patis (fish sauce), to taste. If you don’t have this handy, just use salt!
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 cups chicken stock, low sodium
1 cup jasmine rice
4 scallions, finely sliced


In a large stock pot, saute the onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat until onion starts to become transparent, about 5-7 minutes. Add chicken, patis/fish sauce and pepper. When the chicken is cooked, add chicken stock and rice. Bring to a boil, then lower heat to simmer. Cover and continue to cook until chicken is very tender and the rice is fluffed and cooked, about 20 minutes. Stir frequently and adjust seasoning as necessary. Take out the medallions of ginger (no one really likes biting into chunks of ginger!).

Garnish with scallions and freshly ground black pepper before serving.

This recipe for Arroz Caldo first appeared here on February 23, 2010.


  1. Brian

    Hi darling… I am sure it was hard to be away, to have to worry from afar. I’m glad he’s doing alright and that your family and friends are safe.

    Such a wonderful, comforting soup. I hope it helped calm your nerves a bit.

  2. Rowena Dumlao-Giardina (Apron and Sneakers)

    I’m glad that your family is fine after the hurricane. I’m sure you didn’t sleep so well thinking about what was happening to your Dad. A bowl of arroz caldo is something I would like to have right now. It had been raining all day, dark, gray and very cold here.

  3. Mary

    Liren, so glad to hear everything is fine with your family. I know a bit about what that worry feels like. I lost contact with Jael for hours during the storm. She, along with so many others, is still without power and will be for days. She will be fine though. The wonderful thing about family recipes is that it can bring us closer to the ones we love, even when they are far away.

  4. Belinda @zomppa

    Gosh, I’m glad to hear your family is safe and sound. It’s so crazy the photos! This soup looks like the perfect comfort food.

  5. lea davenport

    I loved this post. It reminded me of how I have felt when learning a loved one had made it through a rough patch. And there’s just nothing like soup for comfort! Glad your family is safe.

  6. denise @ singapore shiok

    Hi Liren, I saw this evocative photo somewhere on the internet last week and couldn’t get it out of my mind. It reminded me of something very similar I saw in 2010 when I dived head first into the foodblogosphere and it was one of the earliest blog posts I had read and commented on. Today, on a hunch, I tracked it and here I am :) I’ve come full circle – I loved your work then, and I love it now, even when I don’t know it’s you. Congee is soul food and medicine for me too. I’m glad to know your dad and family are fine. I hope they remain safe and well in this difficult time.

  7. Kiran @

    So glad your family is fine — its been nerve wrecking ever since Sandy. I’m sure everyone would find comfort in this delicious bowl of homemade soup!

  8. Pat

    Hello my friend, hope you are enjoying a wonderful autumn day.
    I would love to make this recipe for a dear friend who cares for my Mom.
    The fish sauce that you refer to, patis, is this similar to the fish sauce that would be purchased in an asian grocery store?
    Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful recipes with all of us.
    Pat D.

    • Liren

      Hi Pat! I made this yesterday, as a matter of fact, and will be enjoying a bowl again tonight (made a large batch). This is the perfect time of year for it. Patis is indeed fish sauce, it is simply the Filipino word for fish sauce. Any kind of Asian fish sauce will work :) I hope your friend enjoys it!

  9. Shannon

    Hi there,

    I’ve made your recipe twice and my family loves it. I’m half Filipino, but never grew up with that part of my culture so I never learned how to cook the food. Your recipe is amazing and I’m going to make it a third time tonight. Thank you for posting this! :-)

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