Eric is an educator, cook, and food writer from the Philippines. He writes about various topics relating to Filipino cuisine.
Rice (Oryza sativa) is a plant that has starchy cereal grain that belongs to the grass family. Its seed is consumed as a food throughout the world, especially in Asia and Africa. There are two subspecies of rice, sticky and nonsticky rice, and has more than 40, 000 different varieties worldwide. In Korean, it is called ssal, gohan in Japanese, dàmi in Chinese, and rys in Afrikaans. Properly stored, raw rice will last for 10 to 30 years.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it is a very nutritious grain. 100 grams of cooked white rice has 130 calories. It is rich in essential nutrients such as carbohydrates, fiber, magnesium, B vitamins, iron, and potassium.
In the Philippines, the rice has several names depending on what the Filipino referring to: bigas (uncooked), sanaing (boiled), kanin (cooked), bahaw (chilled or leftover), and sinangag (fried). There are also hundreds of names for different rice recipes in different regions. For cooking techniques, some people use bamboo shoots, pitcher plant cups, and banana and coconut leaves.
The simplest way to cook the rice is to boil it. Whether you use a rice cooker or stove, the procedure for boiling it is the same.
- Wash and drain the rice three times to remove the excess starch.
- Then, put the tip of your middle finger on the surface of the washed rice.
- Next, add water. The water level should be equal to the height of the first knuckle of your middle finger.
- Then boil. Wait until the water evaporates and the rice becomes look starchy.
- Last, serve the rice with other viands.
Aside from boiled rice, there are many rice recipes in the Philippines. Six of them are listed below. (The videos include ingredients and instructions on how to cook them).
Champorado is a chocolate rice porridge similar to the champurrado of Mexico but the difference is that Mexican meal is a thick beverage and made of masa instead of rice. Champorado was invented by the Philippine national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal when he was a child when he accidentally spilled a cup of chocolate drink onto the rice that he was eating.
It is just easy to cook. It just consists of chocolate or cacao powder, sticky or nonsticky rice, sugar, and evaporated milk. Some people pair it with salted dried fish but it is optional.
Bibingka is a baked rice cake traditionally consumed during the “ber months” or Filipino Christmas season. It is usually sold alongside and churches after mass.
It is consists of sugar, baking soda, coconut milk, egg, butter, and ground stocky rice or rice flour and top with salted egg, cheese, and coconut strips. It is cooked on a mold lined with banana leaves that add savor to the food.
Arroz caldo comes from the Spanish words “arroz” which means “rice” and “caldo” which means “broth.” It is a rice and chicken gruel seasoned with salt, pepper, onion, garlic, and ginger or lemongrass. It is usually served hot and eaten during the rainy and cold season.
The following are several kinds of arroz caldo:
- Lugaw - is a plain arroz caldo or boiled rice with excess water. It is usually used to feed babies, sicks, and bedridden because it is easy to digest.
- Plain lugaw - is a lugaw that has spices.
- Yellow lugaw - is a plain lugaw with the dried flower of the safflower plant that gives it a yellow color
- Common arroz caldo - is a plain lugaw with chicken.
- Goto - is an arroz caldo but uses a cow's internal organs instead of chicken.
- Special lugaw - is an arroz caldo that tops with chicharron (fried pork belly or pork rind), hardboiled egg, spring onion, and toasted garlic. Some people substitute the toppings with mushrooms, shrimp, or vegetables.
The video below demonstrates how to cook the special lugaw.
Paella is originally from Spain but has been introduced to the countries that were colonized by this Iberian country like the Philippines and the Latinas. Paella becomes a part of the cuisine and culture of these countries. The dish is consists of rice, bell pepper, tomatoes, chorizo, butter, salt, peppers, and some kind of meat such as chicken, beef, pork, sausage, or seafood.
The video below demonstrates how to cook seafood paella.
Silog is a breakfast combo food consists of sinangag (fried rice), itlog (egg), and various viands such as fried chicken, hotdog, Filipino sausage, pork chop, corned beef, or ham. Fried rice is usually garlicked but you can add more ingredients to it such as beans, pea, carrot, cauliflower, eggs, or sausage. It is important to use bahaw when frying it because hot and newly cooked rice is very hard to stir and stick on your pan, bahaw is disintegrated. For the egg, you can be fried, omelet, hard-boiled, poached, or scrambled it.
The video below shows how to cook the tapsilog, a kind of silog that serve with a tapa or cured beef.
Sapin-sapin is another rice cake on the list that originated in the province of Abra. It comes from the Filipino word “sapin” which means “layers” and “sapin-sapin” which means “layered”. This food has different layers of different colors and flavors. The purple is flavored with ube (purple yam), the orange is mixed with langka (ripe jackfruit) and the white layer has no flavor. For modern variation, you can substitute the flavoring with strawberry, ripe mango, pandan, or chocolate. It is consists of sticky (or glutinous) rice, coconut milk, sugar, milk
It is usually garnished with latik or toasted coconut flakes.
© 2021 Eric Caunca
Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on February 01, 2021:
All your Filipino rice recipes sound delicious. I wasn’t aware of these names. Thank you for introducing the readers, with these interesting recipes.
Thank you for sharing.
Linda Crampton from British Columbia, Canada on January 30, 2021:
Your article is very interesting, Eric. All of the recipes sound delicious!
Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on January 30, 2021:
I would like to have Paella. It’s very famous in Spain
I always love eating it, arroz cal do is also nice,
A wonderful share, I am a food lover