Arroz Caldo (Lugaw)

Published January 10, 2013. Comments


When I'm not feeling well because of the flu, I ask for this. This dish is called Lugaw in Tagalog and it has no Spanish origins at all but comes from the Chinese. This dish is the Chinese rice soup, congee, and was named arroz caldo  because when the first restaurants opened in the Philippines the menus were tailored to suit the Spanish by giving certain dishes Spanish names to make them more familiar to their patrons. 

You can cook this dish one of two ways: either all in and let it cook at a low boil or sometimes I will cook this dish like it was risotto, adding liquid until it has been absorbed and repeating this process until I get a nice thick consistency yet the rice grain is still intact but tender. 

This dish is usually served thick, retaining the shape of the rice rather than soupy or watery. It is either served plain but traditionally served with toppings such as scallions, fried garlic, fried pork, bits of meat (diced offal), kalamansi and patis (fish sauce). When I'm sick, I add extra ginger with the onions and garlic and a nice runny boiled egg or two. 

Arroz Caldo (Lugaw)


2 tablespoon cooking oil

2 inch piece of ginger root, julienne sticks

1/2 cup of chopped onion

1 tablespoon minced garlic

3 cups of cooked short grain rice

2 quarts chicken stock plus more if needed


Suggested Garnishes: 


fried garlic

fried pork

fried pork skins, crushed (chicharones)

shredded chicken breast

medium-boiled egg

Kalamansi or lime 

Patis (fish sauce)


  1. Heat oil in large dutch oven. Saute the ginger, onion and garlic until fragrant. 
  2. Add the cooked rice to the pot. If your rice isn't cooked you can add 2 cups of uncooked short grain rice at this point and saute until the grains are almost translucent. 
  3. Add the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Once the mixture has come to a boil, lower the heat to medium low and let cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until thickened. If the rice is uncooked, this process will take up to 45 minutes to an hour. Stir constantly so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. Add more liquid as needed. Your spoon should not be able to stand up on its own. If it does, add more liquid. It should be the consistency of pudding. 
  4. Once the rice has absorbed all the liquid, test some grains for doneness. The rice grains should still be able to be distinguishable and not too soft. 
  5. Serve hot with any suggested toppings.