As a child, Edwin's mom told him, "If you want to eat, you should cook it yourself." And that's exactly what he's been doing ever since.
Filipino-Style Vegetarian Arroz Caldo
A common breakfast in Chinese cuisine is congee, or jook, which is a thick rice soup or porridge. Because of the Chinese influence on Filipino cooking, people in the Philippines also enjoy congee—though in Tagalog we call it lugaw.
However, we've also developed a variation that we call arroz caldo (Spanish for "hot rice"). Arroz caldo is fancier than a simple rice porridge; it usually contains meat and other seasonings. This dish is typically eaten as a light afternoon or late-night snack. It can also be eaten as a main dish.
Normally, this dish takes at least an hour to make. But if you happen to have leftover rice, the recipe comes together much more quickly.
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Since some of my friends are vegetarians, I created a non-meat version of this recipe for them. But you don't have to be a vegetarian to enjoy this.
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For the arroz caldo:
- 3 cups cooked leftover rice
- 1 pinch Persian saffron, available at ethnic stores
- 1 (32-ounce) carton vegetable broth
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 tablespoon ginger, minced
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
For the toppings:
- 1 (12-ounce) box firm tofu, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1/4 cup green onions, sliced
- 6 lemon wedges
- Boil the cooked rice in a pot of vegetable broth over medium heat until the soup becomes thick, stirring often, for at least 15 minutes.
- Saute the garlic, onion, and ginger in 1 tablespoon oil for about 2 minutes. Then add this mixture to the pot of rice.
- Add more water if needed to adjust the consistency. Add the saffron and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Continue to cook until the desired thickness/consistency is achieved.
- In a separate pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Fry the tofu cubes until brown, about 5 minutes on each side.
- Ladle the rice soup into bowls. Top with the fried tofu and other toppings. Drizzle with soy sauce.
- Soy sauce: You can serve the soy sauce on the side instead of drizzling it on top.
- Optional garlic garnish: You can also top with toasted chopped garlic by sauteing the garlic in a pan until brown.