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.
At least this challenge made me laugh a lot, because to be honest I didn’t really love the outcome. My mom and my sister both said they liked it, but I think they were just being nice. I mean it was fine, but it definitely wasn't real fuh? (giggle). It was also one of the messiest things I have ever eaten, noodles were slipping all over the place, I couldn't manage to get a piece of meat and noodles on my fork at the same time, and by the end of dinner my sister proudly announced "Oh my god, I made such as mess!" My mom just seemed pained, as if she realized that all the time and effort she put into teaching us good table manners had officially gone to waste. Don’t worry Mom, I still behave myself in public.
Servings: Makes 4 servings
• I used beef stock rather than chicken and just eliminated the chicken that the recipe called for. This also means that you won't need to skim the surface of the broth as listed below.
• I used 1 lb. of flank steak, sliced thin (keep it in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice)
•The thin slices of beef cook as you pour your hot broth over them, so just make sure the broth is very hot.
•If you're feeling bold and you want to make your own broth, check out Jaden's website: longer chicken 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
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)
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
Sliced fresh chili 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 the spices to avoid burning.
2) Set your oven to broil. Put the onion and ginger on a baking sheet. Broil for up to 15 minutes, turning frequently, until charred and fragrant, but not burned.
2) In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices and charred ginger and onion) and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
3) Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
4) Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
5) Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
6) Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
7) Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.