Arroz Valenciana

This is a dish that is more commonly enjoyed in my father’s side of the family. The version that I grew up with, called Bringhe has fewer ingredients and consists mainly of glutinous rice and coconut cream. Arroz Valenciana or just Valenciana is the other type that uses stock instead of coconut cream. I don’t know which of the two is the more festive dish because we alternate them during celebrations. I made some Valenciana last Christmas, upon the request of my mother. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to document my paternal grandmother’s recipe. I only know the basic elements of the dish; the other embellishments are entirely my own.

Arroz Valenciana

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped tomato
  • 1 cup cooked chicken breast, cubed
  • 1 cup cooked pork belly, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup cooked medium-sized shrimps, shelled with tail intact
  • 3 pieces chorizo de bilbao, sliced thinly
  • 1 cup glutinous rice
  • 2 cups rice
  • 4 cups stock
  • 1 cups annato (atchuete) water
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 cup green peas
  • Salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Olive oil
  • Boiled eggs, for garnish

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Procedure:

  1. Soak the two kinds of rice in water. Make annato water by soaking a tablespoon of annato seeds in a cup of lukewarm water. Let stand and drain just before using. Make the stock by boiling the shrimp, chicken breast and pork belly in a pot of water with a dash of salt and whole peppercorn. Remove the scum that floats to the surface and simmer until the meats are cooked. Remove the shrimp after 5 minutes and the meats when cooked. Remove the shells from the shrimp but leave the tails intact. Cut the meats. Save the stock.
  2. On a large pan, heat olive oil and stir-fry onion, garlic, and tomato. When mushy, add the chorizo, chicken breast, and pork belly. Add the paprika. Continue stir-frying for 5-10 minutes until the mixture is aromatic. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Drain the mixed rice and add to the pan. Stir-fry for about 5 minutes, making sure that the rice is evenly coated.
  4. Pour 4 cups of stock and 1 cup of annato water. Mix well, making sure that the pieces sticking to the bottom of the pan are removed. Boil once, cover then let simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally.
  5. When the rice is cooked, add the red bell pepper and half of the shrimps and mix well.
  6. To serve, transfer to a large platter and garnish with the remaining shrimps and slivers of boiled egg. Serves 6-8.

Tips:

  • For a healthier version, use lean pork instead of pork belly, replace the rice with brown rice, and use half of the Chorizo de Bilbao. If not, exercise portion control.
  • If you’re using brown rice, you might need to soak them longer and to use more stock.
  • Try to find a better kind of Chorizo de Bilbao. Purefoods used to make great canned Chorizo but the latest I bought was not that great anymore. I used Fat & Thin instead. My mother thinks King Sue is good as well.
  • If the stock tastes bland, you can add a cube of Knorr (chicken or pork will work best).
  • If you’re making this, let me know how it turns out in the comments section.
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