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Filipino-American brothers Chad and Chase Valencia introduce Filipino food to the LA-area at their restaurant, LASA.

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Transcript

- When we're looking at our menu, we're thinking of recipes that reflect our upbringing and Filipino cuisine; arroz caldo stuck out. - We knew we had to have a version of arroz caldo on the menu because it's definitely the first dish that was inspiring to me and defining of where we could take Filipino food. - My name is Chase Valencia. I am the co-owner and general manager of LASA. - My name is Chad Valencia. I'm the chef and co-owner of LASA here in Chinatown, Los Angeles. Los Angeles is inspiring to LASA because of its openness of culture and ethnic diversity within food. There's an acceptance to doing something like LASA. Filipino food is from the Philippines. I always say it's the original fusion of Spanish, Chinese, some indigenous ingredients, and even some influence from America. - We take the food that we grew up eating, applying techniques and seasonality of California culture and produce and making our food our own. This dish represents our roots, our history, our memories as children from our mom and grandmother and also our future and where we're at with out restaurant and how we see our perspective, being Filipino Americans. - Arroz caldo is traditionally made with chicken, but to elevate it just a little bit, we chose to use a duck leg that's confited. When we take our duck legs, we put 'em in a hotel pan, we salt them liberally, and then we let them sit overnight to kinda pull out any excess moisture, but also to season them. After we let them sit overnight, we brush off any excess salt and we pat them dry. We wanna arrange our duck legs in a pan so that they'd sit in a single layer so that they cook evenly. We pour over the melted duck fat and cover the duck legs completely so that they're submerged and that they confit evenly. Place the duck legs into the oven. We're gonna slow cook the duck legs in the oven for a couple hours at a low temperature just so that they break down and they become more tender. Pull the duck legs out of the oven, and you can tell that they're finished when the leg wiggles from the joint. You wanna let the duck legs cool completely in the fat so that the juices kinda re-distribute, they stay tender, and that they don't dry out. The ginger leek broth is the stock base that helps flavor the arroz caldo. To a pot, we're gonna add water, sliced ginger, sliced yellow onion, peeled garlic, sliced leek, and duck bones. The duck bones are there to kind of enrich in the flavor of the liquid because we're putting a duck leg on there. Once all the ingredients are in the pot, you wanna bring it to a simmer. You'll start to see some of the impurities from the duck bones come out. You wanna skim that out of the pot and discard them. Once you skim the impurities, you want the stock to simmer for a few hours so that the flavors come together. You'll know the broth is ready when it tastes right. You'll have a little aromatics from the ginger, you can taste a little oniony from the leek, and a little bit of that duck flavor from the bones. Once the broth is ready, you're gonna strain it and set it aside. - Arroz caldo is very important to the Philippines. It is actually one of the staple dishes in our culinary culture. It is, essentially, our version of a chicken noodle soup. - To a stock pot, we're gonna add our ginger leek broth. We're gonna bring that broth to a simmer. Add washed California brown rice. We're using brown rice to give it a little bit more of a nutty flavor and to add some nutrition to it. Stir the pot to kinda help the starches come out of the rice and to evenly cook. Once it comes to a boil, we're gonna lower the heat to a simmer and then we're gonna cover it. Every few minutes, you wanna give the rice a stir to make sure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot. We're gonna add fish sauce to season and give it some umami. We're gonna grate some peeled ginger just to accentuate the ginger flavor that was in the broth, just a little bit more raw and fresh ginger flavor. Stir everything together and give it a taste, and then we adjust the seasoning with a little bit of salt. Arroz caldo is ready when it's seasoned well, it has some kick from the ginger, some umami from the fish sauce, and has a nice mouthfeel from the rice. Arroz caldo is typically plated or served straight out of the pot and ladled into a bowl. Our version is different because we've kind of separated everything, and you have the different layers of flavors and textures. To a hot cast iron pan, we're gonna add some duck fat, and once the duck fat's melted, we're gonna add the duck leg confit skin side down to crisp the skin. Once the skin is crispy, we're gonna flip over and let it heat thoroughly. While the duck legs are cooking, we're gonna dress our pea tendrils with calamansi juice. Calamansi is a Philippine citrus. It's the staple citrus in Filipino cuisine. We're gonna season them with salt, and now it's time to build our plate. To a bowl, we're gonna ladle in our arroz caldo. We're gonna take our duck leg confit and we're gonna place it center of the bowl, right on top of the arroz caldo, and around the duck leg, we're gonna plate our pea tendrils, and we're gonna garnish with fried garlic. You can't have a bowl of arroz caldo without crispy garlic. And there you have LASA's duck arroz caldo. When people eat this duck arroz caldo, they really understand the essence of Filipino food. There's some depth and complexity in the porridge although it's simple. There's umami in it, and then there's the brightness of the calamansi juice. So, there's the salty, funky, there's the bright acidic, and then there's the crunchy texture of the duck and freshness of the pea tendrils. - You can get all the layers of textures and flavors of Filipino cuisine in this bowl. - It's important for us to have a Filipino restaurant because Filipino food is still essentially new to America in how well its know. I believe that it's necessary for our generation to pursue it. - And we're able to share our voice, from a culinary viewpoint, and show the richness and diversity of Los Angeles. There's so much going on in this city, and we're a part of the fabric.