I love food.

I love how food has this ability to give warm fuzzies and bring up so many good memories.

One dish in particular that does this to me is Lugaw or Arroz Caldo as some would call it. Lugaw is the Filipino version of Congee. An Asian style rice porridge made with chicken, rice, and stock.

Lugaw always reminds me of certain parts of my childhood. Happy moments, like spending time with my grandfather, visiting my grandmother where she was serving lugaw and breakfast with my family in the Phillipines. It also reminds me of times when I have been sick.

I used to call up my mum or visit her whenever I was feeling blah just so I could feel babied. She would give me a cuddle and validate me feeling ill. I remember how she used to stroke my hair and give me that mum look - a mixture of worry and a bit of relief that I still needed her.  I think she secretly loved it. Another thing she used to do was feed me and the main dish she would whip up was Chicken Lugaw.

Mum used to offer lugaw like it had magic in it to cure any ailments. It was THE dish she would whip up for me at any situation.

Got a cold?  - Lugaw.

Got a headache? - You want some lugaw?

You have a hangover? - Here, have some lugaw.

My hug in a bowl.

Unfortunately, about 4 years ago. My mum lost her short battle to bowel cancer. Gone are the days of mummy cuddles and the endless supply of lugaw.

I miss her. I was broken after she passed and I couldn't accept that she had left this world. It's the kind of heartache that doesn't heal but you learn to live with as time passes.

However, the good memories are still with me and I think of them often. The warm fuzzies I used to get all come flooding back whenever  I eat lugaw at home. *sigh* My mum hug in a bowl.

Today I felt like poo. For about the millionth time, I got sick again (thanks for bringing the bugs home Juliet). I decided I would make up this miracle dish for dinner. I had intended to cook it for lunch but I was ill and ended up skipping lunch and crashed out. Luckily Matt was home. He took driver's seat to look after Juliet today - thanks Matty.

For today's lugaw, I used chicken marylands and didn't trim the off the excess fat or remove the skin. I probably should have but.....meh.......

Lugaw (or Arroz Caldo)


  • 2 x chicken marylands (you can trim off the excess fat if you wish)
  • 1 cup of uncooked rice
  • 2 cups of chicken stock
  • 6 cups (1.5L water)
  • 1 pinch of saffron
  • 2 pieces of ginger sliced (about 1.5cms or the size of a thumb....my thumb)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 garlic cloves - bruised
  • 2 tablespoon fish sauce
  • approximately 1 tblspn peanut oil
  • boiled egg - to garnish
  • spring onion - to garnish
  • lemon wedge - to serve



  1. Using a large saucepan or pot that can hold more than 4L, heat up the peanut oil on med heat.
  2. Brown the chicken pieces and then set aside. Turn the heat to low If you left the skin on, you will notice a lot of oil left in the pot. Pour the oil in a heatproof bowl. Keep about 1 tablespoon (or less) of oil in the pan. Discard the oil that you are not using appropriately, I don't recommend it being poured down the drain.
  3. On low heat, sautee the onions, garlic and ginger until the onions become translucent. Be careful not to burn the onion and garlic.
  4. Add the rice and stir all together
  5. Stir in the stock, water, fish sauce and saffron.
  6. Place the chicken pieces snugly in the pot and crank up the heat to medium/high or a light boil. Pop the lid on the saucepan.
  7. Cook for about 30 minutes. Stirring occasionally (every 5 -10 minutes) to try and prevent the rice from sticking to the pot and burning. Meanwhile you can boil some eggs if you are having eggs with it.
  8. When ready to serve, take out the chicken and strip off the meat. Be careful not to burn yourself.
  9. Serve hot with sliced spring onions, boiled egg and lemon wedge. If you have any, serve with fried garlic on top.

Feeling adventurous? Serve up with cooked chicken giblets and beef tripe or tokwa't baboy which is boiled pigs ears and fried tofu cubes with vinegar and soy sauce. Hhmmmm..this will be in another post in the future.


Published by Marlene Fulham