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Wednesday, October 21, 2009


lol, "Suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuusan"

Yeah I watch too many kids movies. XD

Without Further Ado...

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.

The challenge was Vietnamese Pho, and also Chocolate Wontons. I didn't want to make my own wonton wrappers for the dumplings (I can't eat normal wrappers :P) so I didn't do the dessert dumplings. Maybe the next time I make Chinese dumplings from scratch I will save some of the dough and try them, though...they did look yummy!

There were three variations of the soup: chicken, beef, or vegetarian. I went with the standard chicken, but I only used chicken broth and didn't add any chicken breast. Is it weird that I like chicken broth but hate chicken?

Unfortunately, I didn't end up with any pictures becauuuuuuuse....my camera is broken! D: It actually broke for real when I tried to take pictures for this challenge. And I want a really really good camera (read: Digital SLR) so I don't want to spend $100+ on a camera temporarily..but I might anyways because I don't know when I will actually be able to bring myself to spend $1000+. :\ Why does my stuff have to break? There is so much stuff I want/need and nearly all of it is over $1000!!!! But before I spend that much I need to save...enough to go to SA ($7000+) and enough to have a happy buffer (not sure how much that is...hm...) just in case.

Okay, moving on to the soup. I actually didn't modify the recipe much, aside from not putting in chicken breast.

Ingredients - Vietnamese Pho:
As usual, comments will appear in italics

For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds Biltong spice!
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)Ew, chicken >.<
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)
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


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.In a large pot, add all the ingredients (including the toasted spices) and bring to a boil.
3.Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
4.Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
5.Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
6.Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
7.Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
8.Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.

The end result was very good. I might make slight changes if I make it again, but it reminded me a lot of Thai food, actually. I've never had Vietnamese food before, so this was a fun challenge, and making the soup itself wasn't too difficult, or time consuming, which was nice. :) Since I have a job now and all!

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