Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Pho Challenge

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 ended up running late on this month's challenge mostly because of an terrible sinus infection that is now considerably better, and then might have just squeaked the challenge through on time were it not for the fact that I could not find star anise seed here in any of the grocery stores. It took a trip to the Chinese Store to accomplish that here we a little late....but better late than never. Please take a moment to check out some other Daring Cooks.

I was interested by this month's challenge as I really like Vietnamese food. I liked the idea of the 'noodle bowl' assembly of the soup, and liked all of the ingredients. In the end I will say that it was OK...but not my favourite soup. I found it to be not as flavourful as I had hoped....and this may be due to the fact that I did not start from scratch to make my own chicken stock. I also could not find the wider rice noodle that was called for in the recipe, which would have given the soup more bite, and I may have added too much cilantro. Although I love cilantro, I even found the flavour too overpowering. Now I am curious to try this soup in the Vietnamese restaurant so I can figure out what went wrong for me so I can try it again.


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)
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.


noreen said...

my family and I just started eat pho at resturants. Our local thai resturant has it, well one of them the other does not.

Olga said...

ooh, the small corn is very cute. haven't had it in quite some time.

marilu perez said...

¡Your pho looks wonderfull! I love the idea of putting that small corn