The October 2009 Daring Cooks’ challenge was brought to us by Jaden of the blog Steamy Kitchen. The recipes are from her new cookbook, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.
Having never eaten this soup before but being a big fan of Vietnamese food,I knew I was going to like this challenge. I found it quite easy and thought it was very light and refreshing. I raided mum’s spice cupboard to get some cloves & coriander seeds but I had to buy star anise for the first time. I think if I was to make this again I wouldn’t use as much star anise. I think it overpowered the soup with a strong liquorice-type of flavour. By the way, I have been told that Pho is pronounced “Fuh?” and you say it like it’s a question.
There were 2 options with this months challenge. Either use store-bought chicken stock or make your own. Even though I eat chicken, I’m not a fan of chicken wings, drumsticks or other bits of chicken where you suck on bones. I mostly eat chicken breast and occasionally thighs. So I chose to buy some chicken stock so I wouldn’t have to make a stock out of bones. If you would like to make the longer version you can find the recipe here.
This month’s challenge included a 2nd dessert challenge to make a chocolate wonton. The recipe suggested by Jaden involved frying the wonton in oil, but since I am officially now on the ‘wedding diet’ (less than 10 weeks to go now), I thought a healthier option would be to bake them in the oven.
Vietnamese Chicken Pho
Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions
Servings: Makes 4 servings
For the Chicken Pho Broth:
- 2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
- 4 whole cloves
- 2 whole star anise
- 2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
- 1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
- ½ onion
- 1 3-inch (7.5 cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
- 1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
- 1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
- 1 lb. (500 grams/16 ounces) dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)
- 2 cups (200 grams/7 ounces) bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
- Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
- ½ cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
- ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
- Sriracha chili sauce
- Hoisin sauce
- Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
- To make the Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Immediately spoon out the spices to avoid burning.
- In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
- Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
- Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
- Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
- Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
- Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customise their own bowl with these ingredients.
Chocolate wonton (Serves 12)
- Olive oil spray
- 12 wonton wrappers
- 50ml light thickened cream
- 50g dark chocolate, broken into small pieces.
- 1 Tb Crème caramel Baileys
- 6 strawberries, sliced
- Preheat oven to 180C. Spray a muffin tray with olive oil spray & place wonton wrappers in holes.
- Bake in oven for 7 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.
- Meanwhile place the chocolate in a bowl and set aside. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil.
- Immediately pour over chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes.
- Add Baileys and stir until smooth.
- Spoon into baked wonton wrappers and top with strawberries.
Tip: Leftover ganache can be made into truffles. Make sure the chocolate ganache is well chilled before forming into balls.