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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

A Warm Bowl of Good Fortune: Arroz Caldo #SundayFunday

This week I am hosting the Sunday Funday group as we share lucky foods for New Year's.

Stacy of Food Lust People Love, Sue of Palatable Pastime, Rebekah of Making Miracles, and Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm coordinate this low-stress group; we only participate when we are inspired. As I mentioned, I am hosting this week. Here's our line-up of fortuitous feasting...

Fortuitous Feasting and Other Traditions

Años Viejos, December 2022

Do you have any New Year's Eve dining traditions meant to bring good luck in the coming year? Two things I adopted from my time in Italy: clementines, though I don't usually take the time to wrap them individually in red cellophane, and lentils.

Throughout the years, we have adopted many traditions from all around the world but the reasoning behind their lucky foods are oddly similar. Here are some of the overlapping auspicious attributes: food that’s round (the shape of coins), food that's yellow or orange (the color of gold), food that's green (the color of spring leaves and paper money), fish (symbol of bounty), pork (prosperity and an animal that roots forward), legumes (coin-like seeds that expand like wealth) and cakes (sweetness is richness).

We also don polka-dotted socks (the Philippines), red underwear (Italy), ring a bell 108 times (Japan), throw water out the window (Mexico), and leap off of a chair (Denmark). One of our favorite, however, is the Año Viejo. It's an Ecuadorian tradition a friend introduced to us many years ago.

We eagerly and symbolically burn up the failures, regrets, and anger of the old year to usher in the hopes and resolutions of the new one.

We stuff all the bad words and ill sentiments into his "belly." Then we set him on fire! Yeah, this is a family favorite. But we do it can't have too much good luck, can you?

A Warm Bowl of Good Fortune: Arroz Caldo

This sticky Filipino rice soup is said to make good fortune stick to you...and the rice expanding in the soup will be like your blessings in the New Year.

Ingredients serves 6

  • 3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

  • 1 Tablespoon oil

  • 4 to 5 cloves garlic peeled

  • 1" ginger knob grated + 1" ginger knob halved

  • 2 Tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 cup uncooked rice

  • 6 cups chicken stock

  • 2 bay leaves

  • freshly ground salt, to taste

  • freshly ground pepper, to taste

  • Also needed: 6 hard-boiled eggs and sliced green onions for garnish


In a large pot, heat oil. Add in the garlic and stir. Place the chicken thighs skin side down and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Flip the pieces over and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the grated ginger and whole ginger. Cook for another few minutes until the ginger is aromatic.

Pour in the fish sauce. Add the rice and stir until the rice is glossy with the oil and chicken fat that's been rendered. Pour in the stock and add in the bay leaves. Bring to a boil. Lower heat, cover, and simmer until the rice is softened and the stew has thickened. Stir occasionally so the rice doesn't stick and burn.

Once the rice has cooked and is to the consistency you desire, season to taste with salt and pepper. You can remove the chicken from the pot and shred for serving. Or serve the entire thigh.

Ladle into serving bowls. Top with hard-boiled eggs halved and green onions. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper, if you like. Serve hot.

That's a wrap for my final 2023 Sunday Funday post. Stay tuned for more deliciousness in the new year. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm kicks off our year with a celebration of National Tempura Day. Stay tuned!

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