Tuesday, October 13, 2009

DC: Pho:n Food!

I love Pho (pronounced fuh), especially on a cold winter day, or when I think I might be coming down with something. The savory hot broth and added extra spice clears sinuses and satiates an empty stomach. This is why I was really excited to see that Jaden (food blog celebrity of Steamy Kitchen) was hosting Daring Cooks and chose Pho for our challenge. We are using her shorthand version, but an extended version can be found on her site here, and in her new Cookbook, due out this month!

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.

If you're not familiar with Pho, here's what wikipedia has to say:"
Phở (Vietnamese pronunciation: [fə̃ː] (Speaker Icon.svg listen); in English, written pho and typically pronounced /ˈfʌ/[1]) is a Vietnamesebeef and noodle soup from North Vietnam.[2] The soup includes noodles made from rice and is often served with basil,lime, bean sprouts and peppers that are added to the soup by the customer."
In other words- Pho is basically a jazzed up noodle soup with a delicious spiced broth and other mix ins that make it customizable to each diner's individual taste.

My experience making the Pho was overall a good one. My main problem came when adding the broth. Somewhere in my freezer is a block of homemade chicken stock. I pulled out what I thought was that stock, went along with the recipe, but was shocked to see shrimp when I began to strain the broth before serving. The block I used was not the chicken broth, but a Thai soup I had made and frozen. Perfect Pho broth tainted with thai soup filled with shrimp, lemongrass, coconut milk, garlic and lime zest. Oh well. Luckily it was probably equal parts thai soup and chicken stock, so it was diluted a bit. I could taste that the broth did not have the clear and pure flavors, but it did not taste bad. The main thing I noticed was that the soup made the broth cloudy and not crystal clear like a good pho is. Overall it is delicious, but not as delicious as my local Pho joint, so I think for now I'll continue to hit up there for my Pho cravings!

On to the goods: the recipe!

Pho Ga


• Frying pan
• Large stockpot
• Tongs
• Strainer, sieve or colander
• Bowls for serving

Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions

Servings: Makes 4 servings


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)

The Spices:


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.

Extended Pho Ga recipe: http://steamykitchen.com/139-vietnamese-chicken-noodle-soup-pho-ga.html


Lauren said...

Your pho looks great! I'm glad you enjoyed it!!


Loved & enjoyed reading about ur pho post....something new to my limited cuisine.Nice sweet site. Will pop in again,yup..

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