Arroz caldoso is a traditional way of preparing rice in Spain, as the name indicates it uses plenty of broth or caldo. A culinary opposite would be the dry version or paella 🥘.
Although it has a Spanish name, it originates from the congee introduced by Chinese-Filipino immigrants. It has diverged over the centuries to use Filipino ingredients and adapt to local tastes.
- 250 g rice
- 1 lobster 🦞 (shell prawns or other shellfish can also be used)
- 1 l fish broth
- 1 onion 🧅
- 1 red pepper
- 2-3 tomatoes 🍅
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 2-3 garlic cloves 🧄
- ½ cup brandi or wine
- 1 ñora (optional)
- In a container with hot water we are going to put the ñoras to hydrate for about an hour, save that water as we will add it later to the rice. (*Optional step, only if you can find the ñoras).
- Finely chop the pepper, onion and garlic.
- Then we prepare the lobster. First we cut off the head and then split it in half, cut off the pincers and chop up the tail (see picture for inspiration).
- We put a pan over medium-high heat with 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil. When the oil begins to be hot, we add the lobster pieces. When the lobster begins to take on an orange tone, we remove the pieces of the tail, the tongs, and let the heads roast well because they will be the ones that give flavor and a good color to our rice . We turn it over so that it browns on the other side and we remove it.
- Lower the heat a bit and add the minced garlic. When the garlic begins to brown, add the onion and let it fry until it begins to be transparent. At that moment we add the red pepper, rectify the salt and let the pepper poach.
- When the pepper is already poached, add the ñora and stir well. Add the tomato sauce, stir carefully so that it does not stick to the bottom and cook until it reduces and the sauce acquires the consistency of jam.
- Next, we add the brandy and with the help of a lighter we flambé until the alcohol evaporates.
- When the alcohol has evaporated, add the rice, mix with the sauce and let it cook for a couple of minutes, stirring from time to time. Meanwhile we are going to toast the saffron thread,and we crush them in a mortar and add to the rice mix. After the rice is ready we add the water where we hydrated the ñoras and the very hot fish broth.
- Stir well to mix the rice and let it cook over medium heat for about 10-13 minutes. After that time, add the lobster and continue cooking for a couple more minutes. Turn off the heat, add salt if necessary and sprinkle with chopped fresh parsley.
- Leave the pot closed to rest for 5-10 minutes before consuming to leave the flavors to develop, the broth will reduce a bit during this time.
If you cannot find saffron or is too expensive, paella seasoning, kukurma or pimenton work well as substitute.