Daring Cooks: Pho Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

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.

When I first heard of this month’s challenge, I was excited even though I’m not into noddle soup that much but I always wanted to try new things and this kind of noodle dish is definitely new to me. From what I’ve heard and read this is a really, really good, “insanely delicious” (to quote Jaden) Vietnamese noodles. Those two words did it for me, I have to make this dish.

But that’s not the only reason I got excited over this month’s challenge: There’s a bonus dessert recipe challenge and a contest to boot, whoever wins will get a copy of Jaden’s new cookbook. I know my chances of winning this thing is not very promising considering my photography skill but a chance is a chance and who am I to pass up on  that, I would love to have Jaden’s book for FREE :)

For the ingredients,  I didn’t have whole cloves and cilantro leaves. Substitution of spices is not allowed so I just made the dish without cloves but it’s okay to use flat-leaf parsley in lieu of cilantro, so I did just that. I also had a hard time finding the right noodles, I couldn’t find something that look similar so I settled for the only rice noodles I can find: pancit luglug ( the kind that is used for our native pancit palabok). I used mung bean sprout ( or what we call toge in Filipino ), I had to settle for the short variety, it was the only one available; for the condiments and seasonings, I already have it in my pantry except for sriacha chili sauce, I used a similar one, my favorite local brand of really hot chilli pepper sauce. What else, oh, yeah, I used calamansi (miniature version of lime) because I have plenty in stock and they’re basically the same save for the size.

I chose to do the long method of making a soup stock because it was highly recommended, a must for a more flavorful soup. I halved the recipe because there are only 4 of us and from there I proceeded and followed the instruction to a tee as best as I could. To make the story short, everything was just fine.

On the presentation, I just duplicated Jaden’s..and then after the “photo shoot”, I was so excited to taste the fruit of my  labor. The weather was perfect, it was cold and rainy but no typhoon (thank GOD), perfect for a steaming bowl of noodle soup. I will be honest here, though: The dish as a whole was just okay with me. I think it’s because of the noodles that I bought, I don’t think that it’s suited for this dish. I like the soup though and the veggies especially when I added hot sauce, my husband finished a big bowl while I was only able to manage half a bowl. The kids loved the soup but didn’t eat much of the noodles either.

All in all I’d say this dish is worth making I enjoyed it, grateful for a new experience and lesson learned. Thanks Jaden!

A recap:
pho_ga_parboiling_chicken
par boil the chicken pieces (breast part not included)..excuse the unappetizing photo of raw chicken meat but I just want to show how good I whacked that chicken..nah, it was the butcher

whole_coriander_seeds_and_star_anise charred_onion_and_ginger

meanwhile, toast the spices and char the onions and ginger
pho_ga_chicken_stock
after 5 minutes of parboiling the chicken pieces, drain and rinse it then put it back in the pot with the chicken breast and the spices


pho_ga_seasoning
season with fish sauce, bring to a boil; remove chicken breast after 15 minutes and simmer the stock for an hour and a half


pho_ga
cook noodles, prepare toppings and serve

You can find the complete recipe here and please don’t forget to visit other daring cooks and their creations here.

Thanks for reading and Have a really nice day! :)

Olive

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