Vietnamese 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.

The husband was off dominating on some folks at the final SCRCS mountain bike race of the season (#1, baby!), so what better way to welcome him home than with a big pot of chicken soup simmering away on the stove. I wanted to like this soup, really I did. The toasted spices smelled amazing, but the finished product…meh. I found myself looking for carrots, celery, something, anything. I guess I’m a traditionalist when it comes to chicken noodle soup.

Vietnamese Chicken Pho

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions
Servings: Makes 4 servings
Ingredients:
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)
Accompaniments:
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
Directions:
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.

I added Sriracha chili sauce to the broth and that helped, but even so I doubt I’ll make this again. No offense, Jaden! Please do not let my lackluster review deter you in any way from trying this for yourself.

Remember to visit the blogroll to see what the other Daring Cooks thought and come back tomorrow for some sweet ‘tater biscuits. Oh, yeah!

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