quarta-feira, 14 de outubro de 2009

Daring Cooks' Challenge - October 2009

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.

Jaden wrote:

"So what is Vietnamese Pho? Well, it’s like the most insanely delicious noodle soup popular in Vietnam. The broth is simmered for hours and hours with either beef knuckle/leg bone or with a whole chicken. Other accompaniments include ribbons of rice noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, a wedge of lime or lemon, fresh bean sprouts and fresh sliced chilies if desired.
What makes Pho so different than any other type of noodle soup is the spices that go into the simmering broth. Warm spices like coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger transform an ordinary broth into a very authentic Vietnamese Pho."

Here is the recipe for “Quick Vietnamese 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)
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

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.

Jaden said the secrets to making great Chicken Pho is:
1) Toast the spices and char the onion and ginger. This brings out the flavor and fragrance of these ingredients!
2) If you’re cooking the longer recipe (on my site) make sure you’re pre-boiling the chicken first – give it a hard boil for a few minutes to get rid of the scum and stuff in the chicken. This will help you create a crystal clear, clean broth.

You can find a longer version of this recipe, or a beef version, at the Jaden's website, Steamy Kitchen .

As I always make my own beef, chicken or vegetable stock, I chose to make the long version, but a bit different:

Simmering the chicken bones, skimming frequently

Stir-frying the chicken breasts
Charing the onions and gingerToasting the spices
Then place everything in a large pan and simmer for 3-4 hours. Pass the broth through a sieve. Serve with rice noodles and the other accompaniments.

This mouth we had an extra challenge: Chocolate Wontons. This second dessert challenge was about being creative with filling and form.

Variations: Wontons
1.Can be shaped any way you want. Can even be layered like napoleons.
2.Can be filled with your choice of filling, doesn’t have to be chocolate. But the fillings and final wonton must be SWEET - these are DESSERT wontons.

Note: you can find the original recipe at The Daring Kitchen website

I was not in the right mood for fried things, so i decided to steam them (I placed them in a sieve over a pan with boiling water). The filling was crème pâtissière, flavored with vanilla and almond extract and the toppings were: dark chocolate, Turkish dried apricots, pistachios and dried strawberry. I served them with balsamic vinegar caramel.

Thanks to Jaden for this lovely Challenge. I've always loved Asian food. I'd like you could smell this broth. Fantastic!

3 comentários:

Moonberryjuice disse...

I absolutely love your version of the wontons! And the soup looks delish too.

Lauren disse...

Very cool wontons! Your pho looks amazing!

Lisa Michelle disse...

Beautiful Pho, so clear and delicious looking, but your wontons have blown me away! Talk about creativity and gorgeous presentation! Way to go on a challenge well done!