Everyday Cooking

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Arroz a la Valenciana

Filipinos love rice. My husband still marvels at the mounds of white rice consumed every time the family gets together for a meal. There really is nothing more filling and satisfying than steamed white rice with a sauced meat dish and some patis on the side.

Apart from the daily steamed staple, rice is also enjoyed in various conconctions, whether it be savoury or sweet. One of my favourite rice dishes is Arroz a la Valenciana or Valenciana, for short. There are also various Latin American versions of this Spanish dish of rice, meat, a tomato base and vegetables but the Filipino interpretation is very much Asian-style with the use of sticky rice, coconut milk and fish sauce.

Valenciana is a dish usuallly made for fiestas in the Philippines- it is truly a special occassion dish, being colourful, rich and very filling. I made this for New Year's Day dinner. I actually hesitated trying to make this as my childhood memories of Valencianas were of perfect creations. Chewy sticky rice, tender meat redolent of rich tomatoes and bay leaves. Those were either made by a great aunt (who used to cook for rich families in Manila) or my late grandfather. Having made this now, the process, I feel is not that complicated but I still have to make this a few times before I get the consistency exactly right. Valencianas are supposed to be crusty on the sides (I remember aunts fighting over the tutong, the blackened, crunchy overcooked bits) and beautifully chewy but moist in the middle.

To further get a Filipino flavour, I searched for banana leaves to line the pots with. The authentic process involves cooking the rice in broth and coconut milk in one pot, stirring until the liquid is absorbed (as in making risotto) and then finishing off the cooking in the pot lined with banana leaves. The fragrance as the rice was steaming in the leaves was beautiful. I also experimented with wrapping individual serves, finished off in the oven instead of the stove top. This is an easier option and the parcels are easier to transport as baon for picnics and can even be thrown on a barbecue for re-heating.

The end result was quite tasty but the rice turned out too soft. I gave in to the temptation to add more water than what was required after seeing that the rice was already quite sticky but still raw in the middle. I did not realise that there was more than enough moisture in the banana leaves to cook the grains to perfection. I have noted this for next time.

I am sharing this at the Lasang Pinoy December edition. The theme being 'Rice to the Challenge', I'm sure Filipino food bloggers worldwide would be in their element. Be sure to check out the round-up by JMom from Cooked from the Heart.

Filipino Style 'Arroz a la Valenciana'
serves 12

3 Tbsp olive oil
1 c sliced chorizo
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, chopped finely
3 medium very ripe tomatoes, chopped finely
1 Tbsp sweet paprika
6 bay leaves
1.5 kg chicken pieces
2 Tbsp fish sauce
4 potatoes, cut into chunks
2.5 c sticky rice (soaked in water for a couple of hours)
1x400g can coconut milk
1c chicken stock
salt and pepper
1 large red pepper, sliced
1 c green peas
boiled egg for garnish (optional)
Banana leaves

Line a pot or deep pan with banana leaves and set aside

Heat oil in a pot and fry the chorizo until brown. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside.
In the same oil, sautée garlic and onion until browned slightly. Add the chopped tomatoes paprika and bay leaves. Mix around and simmer with the lid on until you get a thick sauce, around 5 minutes.

Add the chicken pieces and fish sauce. Mix around until the chicken pieces are slightly cooked. Add the potato, stir and cover to simmer for around 10 minutes.

Drain the sticky rice and add into the pot. Stir until the grains are well coated in the sauce. Add the coconut milk and stock.
On medium heat, keep on stirring until the rice has absorbed all the liquid, approximately 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the cooked chorizo, red pepper and peas then transfer the mix into the banana leaf-lined pot. Further cook on low heat for 30-40minutes until the rice is cooked and very sticky.

If making individual serves, spoon some of the rice onto banana leaves, wrap then tie with twine. Place in a baking tray and cook in a 150deg C oven for 30 minutes.

To serve, garnish with sliced boiled eggs.


Kevin said...

This sounds really good! It includes a lot of my favorite Latin American and Asian ingredients/flavours.

Gay Carrillo said...

Looks like you were busy during the holidays :) Haven't cooked this dish yet but I'd like to try...

Manggy said...

I've always thought they used tomato sauce to make it reddish :) (Who knows, maybe some do.) The individual portions are very clever!

maybahay said...

thanks for visiting again, Gay and Kevin.

manggy, traditionally, atsuete/anatto is used to get the red colour. personally, i prefer paprika as it adds a smoky flavour unlike atsuete which is only used for the colour.

nicisme said...

Absolutely wonderful! It is great to see such colourful rice - and the way you have done the individual portions is so interesting!

Dhanggit said...

OMG what a killer recipe for this new year!!! i didnt know this LP rice challenge :-(!! great presentation gives me envies to dive in your arroz wrapped in banana leaves!! happy new year :-)

ut-man said...

I could imagine the fragrance of the rice, ingredients and coconut being infused to the aroma of banana leaves, I bet your kitchen was oozing with aroma of Pinoy Christmass Fiesta…

oggi said...

I like the idea of adding coconut milk and wrapping in banana leaves. I'm going to try this soon. Thanks for the recipe.:)

Marvin said...

Awesome desie! I've never had Valenciana, but I love that you included individual portions. That seems like it would be easiest for me to do.

Bellini Valli said...

I wonder if I can get banana leaves in our local markets? Even so it would be delicious without serving it individually. I love all the colours...and the coconut milk!!!!

maybahay said...

hi dhanggit, maybe it's not too late to come up with something?

oggi and ut-man, the coconut milk and banana leaves did make the dish quite special.

i hope you get to try out the recipe soon, marvin.

valli, i found frozen banana leaves in my local asian shop. after thawing, they were as good as the fresh ones. maybe carribean grocery stores will have them, too...

Coffee & Vanilla said...

Wow, what an interesting dish Desie!

Enjoy your day, Margot :)

zlamushka said...

Oh, this is such a wonderful recipe. I will definitely try. I used to eat these in Thailand all the time. Thanx a lot for such a valuable recipe.

JMom said...

hi desie, sorry I missed you email. Thanks so much for joining LP. I will update the round up now to add your dish.

What a great recipe! My dad used to cook this on special occasions. I can try making it myself now :)

BTW, in my area, I've also found frozen banana leaves in Latin markets.

Lalaine said...

What a coincidence! A co-worker of mine brought some arroz valenciana today to work...she said she uses tumeric that's why her arroz valenciana is yellow. I think I'll enjoy your version very much as I love anything cooked in gata. Sana co-worker rin tayo, Hehehe

Joyce G. Emor said...

Thank you for posting this one, I was looking for this to cook for the forthcoming Holidays. Hope I can get the right way of cooking and the taste, which we crave for.

Batang Negros said...

Arroz a la Valenciana really taste good.. visit also http://batangnegros.co.cc/ to know more about Negros Island which is found in the Philippines

Anonymous said...

My cousin used to cook this recipe back in the Philippine and I have been wanting to cook it here in the US for a family party but could not remember the details on how to do it. Thanks I finally found a couple of them including this one after surfing the net. However, I am wondering why the use of tomatoes. I don't remember tomatoes or paprika being used back then. What I remember is using some kind of ginger which they call "luyang tagalog" to make the rice greenish or yellowish in color. Wouldn't it taste sour if tomato is used? It would taste more like paella than what we call "bringhe" the Filipino term for this recipe.

Jocelyn Baclor said...

I stumbled upon your blog today as I searched for the recipe for valenciana. I'm not a cook really, just someone who loves to enjoy good food. Not only did I discover your wonderful recipe, I also discovered you are a Sydney-sider Bulakena like me. No wonder your description of this valenciana is so much like the valenciana I used to know! Thanks, Desie, and I hope that you keep blogging.

milarivera said...

It's a holiday, and that means I have enough time to whip up a special recipe Arroz A valenciana for my kids Arvin and Adrian. Thanks to Maybahay for the recipe. Hm Very Filipino talaga ang dating! Keep up!

Eliza Milagros A. Rivera

naomitch said...

my mom used to cook this when she was still alive, i remember her using turmeric to give it a yellowish color.. i would like to try it sometime and have my hubby sample it, thanks for posting the recipe..

Bess said...

Salamat for the recipe. Is it okay to cook the rice ahead then mix it with the other ingredients afterwards, or will it get soggy?

My mother's valenciana is so yummy. But I love to try others as well.

MAT said...

ang sarap! gawa ako nito mamaya for the New Year!

johnnylynn5 said...

Are they selling sticky rice here in the US, if so, what do they call them or any brand maybe? Thanks for posting...