Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Pospas (Arroz Caldo)- November KC Challenge

Better late than never! This is my November Kulinarya Cooking Challenge. Thank you, Joy for the challenge. I really thought i have blogged pospas considering,  this is one of the staple food, comfort food at home.

Growing up and being a Cebuana, pospas is the best comfort food you could ever have and the best food espeically when you are under the weather. Even better than chicken noodle soup, i dare say. I remember how Mama would cook a big cast iron pot of pospas enough for breakfast and mirienda. I just love the aroma as she was cooking, i love the smell of the lemon grass and ginger in particular.

It was only when i went to Manila that i learned that pospas is also called Arroz Caldo and Chinese calls it congee. Actually others call it lugaw but i remember lugaw is just plain rice and chicken broth sans the chicken meat. Lugaw with beef tripes would be called Goto. Goto served with tokwa at baboy (crispy tofu, and crispy pig's jowl)  yum...oh i digress... that will be another version that i should blog.

Anyways, for those who aren't familiar with this dish, i highly suggest that you give this a try. Pospas is good anytime of the day. Like i mentioned earlier we have this for breakfast, mirienda (snacks), lunch, dinner, really anytime. Oh, even midnight snacks, and i'm serious, others, swear that this is a cure for hang over as well.

Also, pospas doesn't call for fish sauce, we use salt. Cebuanos doesn't use fish sauce (Patis) well at least back then. I know for a fact that patis for Cebuanos or Visayas region means soy sauce. It took me a while to adjust and accept that patis in Manila or Luzon region is fish sauce.

So that being said, my dish is staying true based on how my mama prepared it or shall i say a Cebuana's Pospas. This is so simple, ingredients are easy to find, a "straight forward dish" nothing complicated!

Pospas, Arroz Caldo, Congee, Lugaw ....however you call this, i really want you to give this a try if you haven't already. And you tell me which is better Chicken Noodle Soup or Pospas aka Arroz Caldo.

Serves : 4

4 pcs. chciken leg quarters skin on*
1 1/2 C rice (Jasmine or Calrose) *
1 knob of ginger
2 stalks of lemongrass (remove the green top)
6 C water ( add more if necessary) *
2 T vegetable oil
1 T salt (sea salt or kosher salt)
Dash of white pepper
1 bulb of garlic (sliced thinly) I suggest to use mandoline.
4 pieces of shallots (thinly sliced) or one medium size onions
2 T chives or green onions (chopped. This is for garnish and flavoring)
1 lemon (sliced)

* Chop leg quarters to small pieces, at least 4 pieces per leg quarters. Clean and wash.
* Wash and rinse the rice until the water is clear.
* Should you prefer chicken breast i recommend to use chicken breast, skin on, bone in. Chicken bones gives more depth to the flavor profile.
* You can always add more liquid depending on how you want the consistency of your pospas. We prefer it to be runny, more liquidy

Step One: Use a Dutch oven or any Stew Pot.
Heat up the pot with 2 T vegetable oil.
Shallow fry the sliced garlic enough to make them brown but not burned. Remove and set aside.
Using the same oil shallow fry the sliced shallots until brown but not burned. Remove and set aside.

Step Two:
Using the same oil, sear and brown the chicken in batches. Set aside the brown pieces.
It is imperative to use the oil that was used to fry the garlic and shallots. The oil has been infused with garlic and onion flavor which means the chicken will be seared with the infused oil.
Continue the process until all chicken pieces are done.
Remove excess oil, leaving at least a tablespoon of the grease.

Step Three:
Return the seared chicken into the pot.
Add the ginger and lemongrass.
Sear a little bit or until you get a whiff of the ginger and lemongrass. (Did i tell, i love the aroma of these two being sauteed) I think i did!!! lol!!!
Add the washed and rinsed rice.
Stir until everything are mixed.
Add 6 C of water and salt.
Bring this to a rolling boil then lower the heat and bring to a simmer until the chicken and rice are cooked.
I'd say about 25 minutes.
Constantly and gingerly stir making sure the rice will not stick to the bottom.
Taste and adjust your salt since this is basically the only seasoning you have in this dish.
Add more water if needed.

Step Four:
Remove ginger and lemongrass.
Serve in a bowl.
Garnish with some fried garlic, fried shallots, chopped chives or green onions and squeeze some lemons.
If you can get fresh Kalamansi the better. But sad to say i can't get them here so i either use lemons or limes

Fried garlic

Fried and crispy shallots

Pospas boiling away with a knob of ginger and stalks of lemongrass

I wish you can smell this now. I also remember mama makes this during rainy days especially when we don't have school because the blackboards are  wet! ha!ha!ha! that's a joke. But yeah, she makes this when we have no school because of typhoon etc.