Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Daring Cooks October 2009: 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. There were two recipes this month, but I only had time to do the main one which was Vietnamese Chicken Pho.

I have wanted to make pho for as long as I can remember, but never seemed to get around to it. I was also scared of how spicy the dish was, I'm not very good with chilli as I have said many times before, but with this recipe each person can control how much they put in which was fantastic. I invited my sister round for dinner and made this for us both, we loved being able to pick and choose what extras we put in. I have one criticism, not of the recipe itself, but probably more of traditional pho, we felt that it could have done with more green veggies and next time I make it I will add some to the accompaniments tray. Otherwise the broth was really flavourful and it was a delicious filling meal. Thank you to Jaden and to Daring Cooks.

This one was mine:

This one was my sisters:

Vietnamese Chicken Pho
(Serves 4)

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 tbsp sugar
1 to 2 tbsp 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
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.

This is how it looked on the table. I was pleased because it gave me an excuse to use my Chinese set of dining ware, so we even had chopstick rests and bamboo ladles, and we used chopsticks to eat the meal!


  1. Both bowls of pho look delicious! Great job this month!

  2. What a delicious challenge. I love the Chinese table set.

  3. I'm glad you liked it - The pho looks delicious =D.

  4. Your pho turned out lovely, amd as mentioned above, your table set is beautiful! Nicely done all around!