I have been a little naughty, and have missed a few Daring Cooks challenges in the last few months due to lack of time and inspiration. But when I saw this month’s challenge, hosted by the lovely Jaden of Steamy Kitchen, I knew that I would dust off my tongs and get back into the game. The challenge was to make Vietnamese Pho, from Jaden’s brand new book, The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I love Vietnamese food, and was pretty excited about making my own Pho for the first time.
We were given the option to either make a quick version from the cookbook, or to make the stock from scratch using a recipe that Jaden had posted on her blog. I was running a little short of time towards the end of the month, and had some homemade chicken stock in the freezer that I used as the base for my Pho. It came together really quickly, which makes it absolutely perfect for a fuss-free weekend lunch or midweek dinner. I really liked the flavour that came from toasting the spices, and will absolutely be making this again in the future.
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.
Recipe from The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook
• 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
• 4 whole cloves
• 2 whole star anise
• 2 litres chicken stock (store-bought or homemade)
• 1 whole chicken breast
• ½ onion
• 1 3-inch (7.5cm) chunk of ginger, sliced and smashed with the side of a knife
• 1-2 tablespoons sugar
• 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
• 500g dried rice noodles
• 2 cups bean sprouts, washed and tails pinched off
• Fresh coriander (cilantro) tops, leaves and tender stems
• ½ cup shaved red onions
• ½ lime, cut into wedges
• Sriracha chilli sauce
• Hoisin sauce
• Sliced fresh chilli peppers of your choice
1. 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 of the pan to avoid burning.
2. In a large pot, add all the broth ingredients including toasted spices and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently as required.
3. Use tongs to remove the chicken and shred the meat. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce, or sugar if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
4. Prepare the noodles as per the directions on the packet. Ladle the broth into bowls and divide the shredded chicken and soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
5. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customise their bowl with these ingredients.