Lazy Girl’s Slow Cooker Congee / Arroz Caldo Recipe – Karen MNL
When it rains like today, sometimes you just want some hot lugaw / congee / rice broth or whatever you call it to keep warm
My parents are also getting older and sometimes prefer to eat comforting lugaw. I used to spend a lot of time standing on a stove and stirring to cook it, but not anymore! I found a safe and easy way to do it that doesn’t involve a lot of work.
This is not a gourmet or fancy type of lugaw, this is the simplest and “least effort” recipe I came up with, which still offers the flavor. It is a recipe that I can easily modify: if I only want a white congee, then I will not add any kasubha (safflower). If I want some pork instead of chicken, I can easily add some ground pork instead.
I REALLY LIKE TO EAT IS A COMBINATION OF BROTH/CONGEE RICE. All I need is a slow cooker, a cup of rice, 10 cups of water, some ginger and 2 cubes of chicken broth, kasubha and good quality fish sauce. That’s the basic recipe. It’s easy to make because all the ingredients are pantry staples.
had some chicken necks that I kept in the freezer just for this occasion, so I’m adding them. More on that below.
I used to do this with a lot of chicken, like 6-8 pieces of chicken thigh, but what happens is that everyone ends up eating the lugaw and nobody eats the chicken pieces. That’s how I ended up not adding more pieces of chicken meat, no one at home actually eats them. They just want to eat the lugaw/congee/rice broth, and it’s the same for me. I only want the lugaw part and not the chicken. You can add chicken if you wish.
I like to use a rice-to-water ratio of 1:10. If you find it too thick or too thin, simply adjust the water to your preference. 🙂
- Rinse 1 cup of rice thoroughly. Drain. Put it in the slow cooker. I am using the standard size oval slow cooker and this does enough for the slow cooker to be almost full.
- Add 10 cups of water to the rice.
- Add 2 cubes of chicken broth. No need to pre-melt the cubes! They will melt while cooking 🙂 Simply remove the aluminum foil and drop those cubes into the rice water. No mess. No problem!
- Add some sautéed ginger. This is probably the only part where you actually have to pull out a pan and sauté some sliced ginger (about a small thumb). However, if you know you’re going to do this often, just fry a lot of ginger all at once and keep the rest in the fridge, ready to be used next time. 🙂 If you’re really too lazy to sauté ginger, you can skip doing it, but I think it makes the dish taste better if the ginger is sautéed. While you’re at it, fry some chopped garlic to garnish later.
- Add a generous pinch of kasubha and a few hints of fish sauce. Stir everything, place the lid of the slow cooker and put the slow cooker on low temperature for 8-12 hours (or high for 4-6 hours).
- Let it cook. Wait. Do something else. 🙂 Revir it in the 6th hour maybe. It doesn’t really matter. Simply stir once or twice during cooking time.
- When the rice grains have been “opened” completely, it is done. Check for condiments. I usually add a little more fish sauce and stir everything to match. That’s it! Easy! There is no need to stand on the stove for hours stirring and stirring.
- Serve with some fried garlic, chopped green onions, hard-boiled egg slices, calamansi or my favorite, all of the above combined with lots of pork floss (also known as ma hu). Salmon floss or fish floss also work! Yum yum yum! We used to have a bottle of garlic fried in oil that my aunt gave us, fried garlic never lost its crunch, even after all that time. That made life easier because I didn’t have to fry any garlic at all! Unfortunately, we already used it all and forgot to go get it the last time I was in a supermarket. 😀
How to make your life easier:
buy a bottle of fried garlic so you
- don’t need to fry garlic
- keep a stock of hard-boiled eggs in the refrigerator so you don’t have to boil eggs every time
every time you
pork/fish/salmon floss is usually a dressing for the Taiwanese congee, But I also like to add it to my version of rice broth. You can also use centenary egg instead of hard-boiled egg 🙂
Here’s our meat floss stash – we get most of them as pasalubong from relatives in Taiwan, but we’ve also bought some from S&R. The one on the left (ground fried salmon dental floss) I’m sure is available at S&R Shaw.
Meat floss is also very good as a sandwich filling, just add mayonnaise! If you love Pork Floss bread on Bread Talk, this is the same as its topping, except the ones I currently have are made with fish instead of pork.
I couldn’t take a stylish picture of the silver broth rice because everyone just dug and ate… 😀
WHAT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO USE
BOUILLON CUBES What if you don’t want to use bouillon cubes? It’s a processed flavoring that has some msg on it, and it’s understandable if you don’t want to use them. I use them because it’s convenient, but if I have leftover chicken bones, I’ll use them instead.
For example, the whole Magnolia chickens I cooked earlier, came with chicken necks. I didn’t throw away those chicken collars. Sayang! I kept them in a plastic bag in the freezer just for moments like this.
Sauté the chicken necks along with the ginger strips. There’s really no need to thaw chicken necks because they’re still going to cook for 8 hours or more. The only reason I want to sauté ginger and chicken is to get that broth rice aroma. You’ll know it when you smell it! Something as simple as sautéing some ginger and chicken will already emit that broth rice aroma that will add even more to the deliciousness of your broth rice!
If you have enough chicken parts/necks/backs/bones/wings, you can skip the broth. For this batch, because I only had two chicken necks, I used one bucket of chicken instead of two. The only problem I have with using real chicken pieces is that after 8 hours of cooking, they tend to fall apart, and eating the broth rice can become a hassle because I have to keep catching small chicken bones.
You can also choose to use homemade chicken broth instead of water if you want to take the time to make chicken broth. This will allow you to skip the broth and use chicken pieces that will disintegrate in the congee.
I hope you enjoyed this super easy recipe for Arroz Caldo. You can make it as easy as possible by using chicken cubes, or you can make it as natural as possible by taking the time to make your own chicken broth.
With this simple recipe and slow cooker, I can have hot broth rice ready in the morning without too much effort the night before!
Note about kasubha: Don’t buy too much. Just buy enough to last you a few weeks. I noticed that they become dusty and disgusting if kept for a long time. You can buy kasubha on the wet market, it is really cheap, only P5 – P10 for a small package.