Healing Foods, A Multicultural Potluck

This was another of my homeworks in the Coursera on-line class that I am taking right now. I thought it was really fun!

I had to identify a food from my own culture that has purported effects on health promotion or disease prevention and “actually” prepare it at home, do an independent nutrient analysis, provide visual documentation of the final product, and then share the health-related significance that this cultural dish has.

So, I made…

My Homework: Arroz Caldo!

Arroz Caldo! ^^,

After reading the assignment details, the first thing that came to my mind is the traditional Filipino thick rice porridge called lugaw (loo-gaow).

This dish can be cooked in different variations like the one I made called Arroz Caldo – a lugaw made with chicken and ginger. It is often thought to be a European dish because of its name but is actually a Chinese congee that was adapted to the tastes of the Spanish colonial settlers who patronized Chinese restaurants in the Philippines.

I chose this primarily because all the ingredients in this dish are readily available at my pantry and I don’t really want to go to the Superstore again after doing grocery the other day =)

When I was young, I can often remember people favouring this dish (I even watch it on telenovelas) where they would serve lugaw for someone who is sick particularly those who have a cold,fever or an upset stomach.

It’s remarkably comforting, warming from the inside, soft, and easily digestible. They say that when you’re feeling unwell, one of the last things the body needs is to expend extra energy digesting and the higher fiber content of unrefined rice can upset the stomach. So it actually serves a purpose.

Also, this dish has a lot of herbs like garlic, ginger and onions.

Garlic, which according to Wikipedia has been found to have antibacterial, antiviral, and antifungal activity. Ginger on the other hand contains chemicals that may reduce nausea and inflammation. Researchers also believe the chemicals work primarily in the stomach and intestines, but they may also work in the brain and nervous system to control nausea.Last but not least, onions contain chemical compounds with potential anti-inflammatory, anticholesterol, anticancer, and anti-oxidant properties, such as quercetin and glycosides.

Here are the ingredients to prepare this recipe:


Chicken Broth (adapted from Simply Recipes)

  • Leftover bones and skin from a cooked or raw chicken carcass
  • Celery
  • Onions
  • Carrot
  • Salt
  • Pepper

1. Put the leftover bones and skin from a chicken carcass into a large stock pot and cover with cold water. Add veggies like celery, onion, carrots. Add salt and pepper, about a teaspoon of salt, 1/4 tsp of pepper.

2 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to barely a simmer. Simmer uncovered at least 4 hours, occassionally skimming off the foam that comes to the surface.

3 Remove the bones and strain the stock.

Arroz Caldo (adapted from sarahlynnpablo.wordpress.com)
3 cups jasmine rice
3-4 cups Chicken broth, or a substitute like vegetable broth
3 eggs, hard-boiled
4 thumb sized, ginger, cut lengthwise
*one chicken breast (optional)
1/2 lemon, juice
1 whole onion,diced
4 garlic cloves, minced
fish sauce, soy sauce, salt and fresh-cracked black pepper (catered to your taste buds)
green onions, chopped+fried garlic for toppings


1. Cook 3 cups of jasmine rice in a rice cooker. Using cooked rice speeds up the process than if you started the recipe using raw rice.

Spoon the cooked rice into a large pot on medium heat. Start with as much broth as it takes to meet the top of the rice.

2. Stir to over cook the rice without burning it. Once the broth-rice comes to a simmer, lower the heat, and stir every 3-5 minutes.

3. Dice four cloves of garlic and half of a medium-sized onion. Warm a little vegetable oil in the bottom of a pan on medium heat.

4. Using the fresh or frozen ginger, cut into thumb-sized pieces that are more manageable.

5. Saute garlic, onion and ginger and add it to the rice.

6. Stir everything together approximately 30 minutes.

Easier additions to lugaw include hard-boiled eggs, fresh-cracked black pepper or salt, fish or soy sauce, basically anything.

What I really like to do is add a generous amount of fresh lemon, green onions to give it crunch and color!

Nutrient Analysis:

  • Serving size = 1 bowl of Arroz Caldo
  • How many servings your instructions in Answer 2 makes = 6 servings
  • Calories = 362 calories
  • Total fat (grams) = 10 grams
  • Saturated fat (grams) = 3 grams
  • Sodium (milligrams) = 1522 mg
  • Carbohydrate (grams) =51 grams
  • Dietary fiber (grams) = 5 grams
  • Sugars (grams) = 0 grams
  • Protein (grams) = 18 grams

I arrived at this numbers by plugging in an estimation of the amount of ingredients in a bowl of arroz caldo. I used the Super tracker to adjust the servings and calculate the nutrients of each food. I did the nutrient analysis of my Arroz Caldo using the Super Tracker Software.

After 3 consecutive meals of lugaw (dinner, brunch and dinner tonight)…my husband and I finally finished eating them!

I guess all the effort was worth it, but I might not do this dish for the next 2 years. ^^p