January 10, 2010

pospas (chicken & rice soup)

When it comes to comforting soups, the Philippines has a lot to offer. They are well integrated in everyday cuisine and they are usually considered as main dishes which can be eaten with rice and vegetables. One of those we like to have on a regular basis, which my mother loved to cook because it was also one of her favorites, is "pospas" or chicken and rice soup. There are many variations but with the same basic flavors of ginger, onions and garlic. The chicken asopao, which my husband tried at La Mallorquina restaurant on our first visit to Puerto Rico, reminded me of this chicken and rice soup version. Still recovering from our seasonal allergies and colds, and with the onset of the lower winter temperatures, this steaming hot soup with chicken and rice was a complete meal by itself. It was exactly what we needed to get us through the cold snap.


1 whole chicken, cut-up or meaty parts of chicken (I used 6 pcs skinless chicken drumsticks)
thinly sliced fresh ginger (2" piece)
minced fresh garlic (about 2 tbsps.)
1/2 cup thinly sliced onions
1/4 cup jasmine rice (1/2 cup may be used if not using sticky rice)
1/4 cup sticky rice (optional but available in Asian markets)
water or chicken broth
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper to taste
a few saffron strands (optional)
1 tsp. paprika
chicken bouillon (optional)
fish sauce (optional)

Wash the chicken pieces well and pat dry with papertowels. In a soup pot, pan fry the chicken pieces in about 2-3 tablespoons of canola oil until lightly browned. They don't have to cook thoroughly at this point. Transfer them to a plate as they brown. In the same pot, over medium heat, sautee the ginger until fragrant and slightly toasted. Add the minced garlic and the onions. Cook for a few minutes. Meanwhile, combine the rice, rinse and drain well. Add to the pot and stir for a few minutes. Add the chicken pieces and stir together to combine with the rice. Add about 5 cups of water. Add the saffron strands and paprika. If the soup gets too thick as it simmers, just add some more water. Season with fish sauce (optional), chicken bouillon (optional) salt and pepper. Squeeze half a lemon into the soup. Simmer until rice and chicken are fully cooked. Garnish with sliced green onions. Serve hot with more lemon wedges.

Note: One common version is using chicken broth instead of chicken pieces then adding hard-boiled eggs to the soup at serving time. Lightly toasted minced garlic in oil may also be sprinkled on the soup along with sliced green onions before serving.


  1. somehow similar to chicken tinola.. without the rice.. care to xlinks?

    my site is http://kutsarita.com


  2. That's right, tinola has the same basic flavors. I took a picture of this too soon before the rice could fully expand. The rice could be thicker depending on how you like it...thanks!