Rainy Day Chicken Pho
For once the weather was aligning with my culinary schedule. This week I decided to complete my 2nd Daring Cooks Challenge and the recipe was for Chicken Pho (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup). I had a pile of friends over to help me eat it, (and er…to have an excuse to play board games). Of course there was way too much, because you see, I’m a recipe doubler. So I was staring down a long week of soup that nobody eats. But then it happened. The first big storm to kickstart San Francisco’s rainy season. And what’s better for rain (and warding off rumors of swine flu) than chicken noodle soup?
The key to a successful Chicken Pho is the broth. You want to get as much flavor as possible into it, while maintaining a clear, uncloudy broth. You achieve this by par-boiling the chicken to get the weird stuff to cook out. Then you throw out the water, rinse the half cooked chicken and start over with fresh water. Supposedly you should be skimming the impurities from the top every 20 minutes, but I swear I couldn’t find any. After the gingery chicken soup boiled for 2 hours I removed the meat and strained the liquid to remove all the spices and other odd bits floating around. Then I shredded the chicken into bite sized pieces.
I started preparing my condiments. Pho is all about the condiments. I thought I could get by with just the fresh stuff: bean sprouts, cilantro, jalepenos, lime. But my friend Huong set me straight and went right out to the store to get some sriracha hot sauce and hoisin sauce. And I was thankful because they definitely made a difference.
To plate a bowl of pho you first lay in some freshly boiled rice noodles.
Then fill the bowl up with the fresh toppings.
And then ladle in some hot broth. From this point it gets personal, everybody seems to have their own style for saucing it up.
This month’s Daring Cooks challenge was hosted by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. You can find her recipe for chicken pho here. Happy souping!