User login

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Daring Cooks

The Daring Cooks October 2009 Challenge was hosted by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen. Jaden Chose Vietnamese Chicken Pho from her new cookbook The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight’s Dinner

Hello Daring Cooks!

I’m ecstatic that you guys will be cooking one of my very favorite dishes from the cookbook, the Vietnamese Chicken Pho. On my site, I have a longer version of the recipe, which involves making the stock from scratch.

In the cookbook, I wanted to make things easier for those on a time-crunch. The book includes a recipe for “Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho” which uses store-bought stock. For the challenge, you’re welcome to create either recipe.

To download the recipe in .pdf format, click HERE!

So what is Vietnamese Pho?

Well, it’s like the most insanely delicious noodle soup popular in Vietnam. The broth is simmered for hours and hours with either beef knuckle/leg bone or with a whole chicken. Other accompaniments include ribbons of rice noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, a wedge of lime or lemon, fresh bean sprouts and fresh sliced chilies if desired.

What makes Pho so different than any other type of noodle soup is the spices that go into the simmering broth. Warm spices like coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger transform an ordinary broth into a very authentic Vietnamese Pho.

Our challenge focuses on Chicken Pho, or “Pho Ga” in Vietnamese. By the way, the correct pronunciation of Pho is “fuh?” Yes, you say the word like it’s a question! Chicken Pho is lighter than Beef Pho and the spices used are a little different as well.

Some of the secrets to making great Chicken Pho is:

  1. Toast the spices and char the onion and ginger. This brings out the flavor and fragrance of these ingredients!
  2. If you’re cooking the longer recipe (on my site) make sure you’re pre-boiling the chicken first – give it a hard boil for a few minutes to get rid of the scum and stuff in the chicken. This will help you create a crystal clear, clean broth. The spices for Chicken Pho is whole coriander seeds, whole cloves and whole star anise – they should be easily found in your grocery store.

An essential component of Pho is fish sauce. Make your best effort to find fish sauce – your local Asian market should carry it. And if not, visit your local Thai or Vietnamese restaurant and see if you can buy a bottle from them. Soy sauce is a poor substitute for fish sauce, but if you can’t find fish sauce, then go ahead and make the sub.

I’m registered on your Daring Cooks forum, so feel free to ask any questions there.
xoxo Jaden

You can either make the quick version listed below, or, if you’re feeling particularly daring, you can make the longer version listed here: http://steamykitchen.com/139-vietnamese-chicken-noodle-soup-pho-ga.html or the beef version listed here: http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html

2009 October Daring Cooks’ Challenge

Challenge #1: Vietnamese Chicken Pho
Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

Variations – Pho:

  1. You like: chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetarian/vegan.
  2. There is no variation allowed with regard to seasoning. You must use the spices listed in the recipe and they must be toasted. (Only leeway here is if you cannot use the spices for health/dietary reasons.) *Note: Use same spices as listed in the chicken Pho recipe for pork, seafood and vegetarian/vegan variations. The beef variation lists it’s unique spices in the recipe.

Equipment:
• Frying pan
• Large stockpot
• Tongs
• Strainer, sieve or colander
• Bowls for serving

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions

Servings: Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
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)

Accompaniments:
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

Directions:
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 customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

Challenge #2: Chocolate Wontons

Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.

*Note: This second dessert challenge is about being creative with filling and form. Knock yourselves out!

Variations – Chocolate Wontons:

  1. Can be shaped any way you want, not just triangles as pictured. Can even be layered like napoleons.
  2. Can be filled with your choice of filling, doesn’t have to be chocolate. But the fillings and final wonton must be SWEET - these are DESSERT wontons - to be eligible for a chance to win a book.
  3. Creativity counts with this bonus dessert recipe for a chance at winning a copy of Jaden’s new cookbook!

Equipment:
• Small bowl
• Pastry brush
• Plastic wrap and/or damp paper towels
• Wok or medium-sized pot
• Frying thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil temperature by dropping in a cube of bread … if it browns quickly, the oil is ready)

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes cooking time (for 12 wontons)

Servings: Makes 12 wontons.

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
12 wonton wrappers, defrosted (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
12 pieces or nuggets of chocolate (use any type of chocolate you like)
High-heat oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling

Directions:
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.

On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down with a point toward you, like a diamond.

Place 1 piece of chocolate near the top end of the wrapper.

Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper.

Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up to create a triangle and gently press to remove all air from the middle. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.

Repeat with the remaining wrappers and chocolate pieces.

Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying.

In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil.

Heat the oil to 350º F (180º C) and gently slide a few of the chocolate wontons into the hot oil.
Make sure you don’t crowd the chocolate wontons.

Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp.

steamykitchen
The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight's Dinner
Jaden Hair