A Rainy Day Remedy: Cozy Up With A Comforting Bowl of Mestizo Arroz Caldo

Filipina food expert and cookbook author Nina Daza-Puyat reinvents two local favorites with her Mestizo Arroz Caldo

Summer season has passed and we are now in for rainy days ahead. Growing up, we all had a comfort soup we find solace in everytime the weather gets chilly outside. Admittedly, the classic Lugaw and Arroz Caldo have been the go-to meals for many families. Comforting and filling, what better way to warm up and get cozy during a cold day than with a warm bowl of porridge. With Nina Daza-Puyat’s Mestizo Arroz Caldo bearing such close similarities with the two staples, introducing this dish will make them feel at home.

The bulky cousin of a classic

During the early times of Nina and her husband’s marriage, the two grew to love Pilugaw—one of the beloved dishes from a restaurant they discovered near their home back in the 90s. Nina enjoyed the dish so much that she decided to adapt it into something of her own, introducing Mestizo Arroz Caldo. 

Through the familiar flavors of its namesake we’ve all grown to love, Nina decided to enhance the flavor profile even more with the inclusion of hibi or dried shrimp for a surprising yet rich hint of seafood flavor. The chicken broth and rice are of course present in the dish, the food expert gave it extra bulk and flavor with quail eggs, wood ear mushrooms, dried shiitake mushrooms, and vermicelli noodles that offered extra starch as well. One thing to note about this porridge variant is its hint of color to which Nina explained well.

“Something very particular about this dish that Arroz Caldos and Lugaws don’t have is the use of atsuete. That’s why I called it Mestizo because the atsuete was brought to us by the Spanish/Mexican traders,” Nina says. Not only is this dish an amplified version of Filipino favorites, it also gives a nod to our vast history. 

It’s no secret how deeply the Puyat family fell in love with the dish. However, funnily enough, Nina admits how they’ve forgotten about it over the years. 

“To be honest, I forgot about the dish… I think maybe sometime in the pandemic when it was raining during the rainy season, I decided to cook it again and my husband was so happy that I brought it back,” she shares with a fond laugh. 

Satisfying and filling, Mestizo Arroz Caldo is one to share among loved ones through stormy days, chilly nights, or even during ordinary moments because everyone could use a warm hug in a bowl. 

The Long Kow Vermicelli is Sapporo’s flagship product that’s gluten-free, fat-free, and low in sodium. For more details, visit their website.

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