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Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Daring Cooks' Pho

Thanks to Jaden of Steamy Kitchen for hosting October challenge with her delicious Pho. The real punch of the challenge is cooking chicken broth takes one and a half hours! But believe me, the whole effort is worth it! The soup is clear and rich in taste, perfectly fits my taste buds for Vietnamese food. It has been a while since the last time I had Pho so now I could actually have it anytime at home, provided I have one and a half hours to spare.

Make it on time for the posting. Hundreds of pictures to select from, that is time consuming and plus a lot of subjectivity involved in judging which photos to be included in the post. And oh yes, I need to pick 2 photos for joining the contest to win a copy of Jaden's new book: The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. I have to dig for the best photo of Pho and an extra picture for Creative Wonton and send them to DB Forum. Jaden will pick her eight favourite photos and post them to her blog on November 15th. Daring Kitchen members and Jaden’s blog readers will then vote on the winners. Voting will end at midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on November 21st. Winners will be announced on Jaden’s Steamy Kitchen blog on November 26th. Wouldn't that be wonderful to learn how to cook Pho, eat it and get a free book?

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. Have made some adjustment to suit my own convenience. If you like to view original recipe, please click here.


Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.
Makes 4 servings

General Ingredients:
- Chicken carcasses > 2
- Boneless Chicken breasts > 2
- Unpeeled big onion - cut in half > 1/2
- Unpeeled ginger > 3 inch

Broth Spices Ingredients:
- Whole coriander seeds > 2 tablespoons
- Whole cloves > 4
- Whole star anise > 2
- Granulated sugar > 3 tablespoons
- Fish sauce - choose light in color, anything darker is inferior quality > 9 tablespoons
- Coriander/cilantro - cut from lower stem to root > 4-5 bunches

Accompaniment Ingredients:
- Dried rice noodles > 300 grams
- Bean sprouts - wash and pinch off tails > 2 cups
- Coriander/cilantro leaves and stems > as desired
- Shallots - shave > 1/2 cup
- Lime - cut into 4 wedges > 1
- Chili - slice > 4

- Place ginger and onion on a baking tray. Place onion about 4" from the oven's top heating element. Set temperature to 175 C and bake for 30 minutes. Turn onion and ginger occasionally to get an even char. The skin should get dark and the flesh should get soft. Meanwhile, whack hard the chicken carcasses through the bones to get sections about 3" big. The more bone that is exposed, the more marrow that gets in the broth which will make it richer and more flavorful. Whack several places along the bone just to expose more marrow. Leave aside.
- When the onion and ginger are charred enough, remove from oven and cool. After cooling, rub to get the charred skin off the onion. Peel ginger and slice into thick slices. Set aside.

- Heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add coriander seeds, cloves, and star anise and toast until fragrant, about 3-4 minutes. Stir to avoid burning. Set aside.
- In a large pot, fill with water and bring to boil. Add chicken carcass sections and boil for 5 minutes. Lots of foam and fats will float on the surface. Remove from stove, drain and rinse chicken carcass sections of the scum and wash the pot thoroughly too. Refill pot with 2 liters of clean, cold water.

- Add chicken carcass, chicken breasts, big onion, ginger slices, and all broth spices in a pot. Turn heat up - let it boil, then immediately turn heat to low. Prop the lid up to let steam escape. After 15 minutes, remove chicken breasts for later use. With a large spoon, skim the surface of any impurities in the broth. Skimming every 20 minutes ensures a clear broth. Optional: add half a liter of water. Simmer a total of 1.5 hours. Check the taste and adjust seasoning if necessary. Strain the broth.
- Shred chicken breast meat with your fingers.
- 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.

To view Jaden's original long version of chicken broth recipe check out, and for beef broth click


  1. Your pho looks delicious! Great photos!

  2. Wow your photos look impressive and are making my *drool* this pho is wonderful it is light yet full of flavour and your pixs do it justice. Lovely photos. Love the look of the stock clear and with a depth of colour that oozes flavour. Cheers from Audax in Sydney.

  3. that's a lot of pretty photos! I think I like the ones in a white bowl better.

    Good luck w/winning the book.

  4. Your pho and wontons are just stunning. Great job!

  5. Beautifully done! Your photographs are stunning as always :)

  6. The colour of your broth looks amazing, great photos as well!

  7. Well you sure make a really good change on being voted the best photo! Love the freshness of them and your Pho looks fabulous.

  8. These photos are absolutely beautiful! Great job with both challenges. I'm impressed!

  9. Wow, your photos are fantastic! I love the white bowls.

  10. Really stunning photos! I'd *love* to be able to take photos like you! Great pho!

  11. I'm always in awe of your photos. Beautiful!

  12. Lovely Pho, I like the little red peppers that you used!

  13. Lovely photos of your pho! I loved this challenge.

  14. Great work on this challenge! Your photos are stunning, I love their elegant simplicity.

  15. like everyone else, I love your photos! The red chili peppers look beautiful with the pho, makes me wanna make it again just for the chili peppers. Great job on the challenge :D

  16. Thanks, Jenn, Vegan Power, Audax, Olga, Frenchie, Rose, Minh, Cori, Chef-D, Phoo-D, Junglefrog, Lyd, Karen, Nikki, Rochelle, Lynnylu, Amy,and Anjelikuh! This challenge has been so wonderful..