Daring Cooks time again!
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.
I was really excited about this month's pick, not only because it was chosen by Jaden but also because I love Vietnamese food! It is definitely my favourite Asian cuisine - fresh, fragrant and flavoursome. That being said, I've never actually had pho before.
We were given the option of doing either a long or short version of the dish. I originally chose the short version (which uses a premade stock) because I intended to make it again later in the month. Unfortunately I ran out of time but no matter, we will definitely be having this again!
I only made minor changes to the recipe, using chicken thighs because I feel they have more chickeny flavour, and using vermicelli noodles instead of the wider rice stick ones.
The taste test ...
Well, I didn't pick the best day to make soup for dinner. It was a hot and sticky 35 degrees in Brisbane that day, definitely not soup weather but it didn't matter. This was AMAZING! For really very little effort and a short list of ingredients we had a phenomenal meal. Light, fragrant and absolutely packed with flavour. I was also impressed with how clear the broth remained even after simmering the chicken. All I can think is if it tastes this good using purchased stock, it must be unbelievably good with homemade. I can't wait to try!
Vietnamese Chicken Pho
For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 litres store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
7.5 cm chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with side of knife
1 to 2 tbsps. sugar
1 to 2 tbsps. fish sauce
500 grams dried rice noodles (about ¼ inch/6 mm wide)
2 cups bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
Fresh cilantro (coriander) tops (leaves and tender stems)
½ cup shaved red onions
½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha chili 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 customize their own bowl with these ingredients.
A big thank you to Jaden for introducing us to pho!
You can find the long version of the recipe here.