Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daring Cooks: Quick Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Chicken Pho

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: 101 Asian Recipes Simple Enough for Tonight's Dinner.

When I saw that this month's Daring Cook's challenge was pho, I knew immediately I had to participate. Pho is one of my favorite foods ever, but it has been a long time since I have had it. I normally crave pho in the cooler winter months, but LA has been devoid of that kind of weather...until now. This past week it has cooled down considerably from the 100+ degrees we were experiencing only a few short weeks ago. It's actually even raining here. What? It never rains in southern California! Anyway...this dish is super easy to make thanks to Jaden's helpful tips. Toasting the spices deepens the flavor and using store bought stock makes things fast.

Star anise

Toasting Spices

I personally don't like my pho overloaded with noodles so I used a little bit less. Other than that, I just halved everything else in the recipe and had enough for about 3 servings. I love my pho spicy, but I didn't have any sriracha on hand and I completely forgot to pick up jalapenos at the farmers market on Sunday morning right before I made this. Nevertheless, I loved the flavor that a few spices and other seasonings added to the broth and it smelled and tasted like it had been cooking all day. For my accompaniments, I went with limes, cilantro, onions, and thai basil.

Pho Accompaniments

This was pho-king fantastic!

Chicken Pho

Quick Chicken Pho

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)
1/2 cup (50 grams/approx. 2 ounces) shaved red onions
1/2 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 customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

Stumble Upon Toolbar


Angry Asian said...

i love love love Pho, i've always said that it'd be my last meal on earth if i was ever on deathrow. i am in love with the simplicity of your bowl, but still heaping with goodness. i've never made pho myself, it's something i'm going to attempt.. eventually. great job!

The Food Librarian said...

This looks photastic! I love pho and never made it myself...having so many places to go out to eat here in Los Angeles. But I think I'll need to make this! - mary

Divina Pe said...

I love Pho. Yours look really, really good. Your photos are fantastic.

Olga said...

I really liked this dish too! Too bad I forgot to add some basil into mine :(

Next time I'm going to try it with beef.

Dolce said...

I could have one right now in NY, it's so cold!!

Carrie said...

Oh, I love pho! Especially in the fall/winter. This looks so great and has inspired me to try it on my own!

Jenn said...

It's been a while since I've had myself some pho. I could go for some right now especially with the rainy weather we have right now.

Erica said...

I've never tried pho- is their veggie pho? I want to try it now :)

Mary Ann said...

This looks fantastic. Just had to come back and let you know the pumpkin swirl brownies were a complete hit! Lots of people asking for the recipe!

Diana said...

Pho-king fantastic -- hahaha, you crack me up!

I've actually never had pho before...

vanillasugarblog said...

quick chicken pho! say that 10 times fast.
It is freezing here and this is exactly what I need to survive. PLEASE send.

Fresh Local and Best said...

Pho is such a comforting dish, especially as it gets colder. I'm glad to see that you toasted your spices.

I hope you stay dry in this wet weather!

Veggie Belly said...

i love the thai basil on top!

Mary Bergfeld said...

Esi, you did a wonderful job with this challenge. Kudos.

La Cuisine d'Helene said...

I love what you made. That looks so healthy and delicious.

Heather said...

star anise is so pretty to photograph! this pho looks yummy!

The Cooking Photographer said...

Esi your photographs are so beautiful that even completely stuffed I want this pho!


Anonymous said...

So when are you going to publish a cookbook, girlie?

And you realize its suppose to be 80-90 degrees tomorrow? It was a tease of rain.

This dish looks delicious. I'm seriously going to have to make this because I have never eaten Pho; just keep hearing great things about it.

Esi said...

You guys seriously make me blush! I forgot to mention, pho is the perfect remedy for a cold. Just have some soup, some red wine, and some Emergen c and you will be cured in NO TIME!! (Ben, I mean you, haha)

Lan, you should try this recipe. It's so easy and really delicious.

Mary, I think that having so many pho places in town is why I resisted making it for so long, but this is a dream.

Dawn, sending some your way STAT.

Diana and Christine, you need to get on the pho train ASAP!

Olive said...

Your pho looks great, beautiful photo! :)

Simones Kitchen said...

Your Pho looks great! I totally loved this dish and will for sure make it again really soon.
I have only been to California once.. a few years ago and of the two weeks there I think we had about 1,5 weeks of rain... so much for no rain in California..:))

Kris Ngoei said...

Pho looks delicious! Makes me crave for one right now :-)



Antonietta said...

Yum! This looks like it will help my flu!
So glad I found your site today. I can't wait to read through it!

Ravenous Couple said...

great job on the pho!...just discovered your site via gastronomy's email :)

Pauline said...

Wow, that is fast for pho. If you want to add some quick authenticity to your pho next time, first char a whole onion and a whole ginger directly on top of the stove. Then, pop that in your chicken stock while it boils/simmers. Boiling the soup base with a whole white radish also imparts a nice sweetness. Also, add chopped green onions and cilantro at the very end for more green and fresh flavor! Thanks for the quick fix pho recipe!

Reeni said...

Your so funny! This looks pho-delicious! So fresh and warming.

Lauren said...

Your pho looks absolutely amazing!! Awesome job with this challenge =D.

Lisa said...

Esi, your Pho turned out PHOnomenal and the PHOtos are gorgeous! May I also add that those pumpkin swirl brownies below are making my mouth water like crazy? You've got some mad skills, chickie!