The Daring Cook challenge this month was pho. And for those of you who are not sufficiently schooled, the correct pronunciation is “fuh” – yeah, I didn’t know that either until this month’s challenge. Now we both know.
I have *always* wanted to try pho. Friends of mine rave about it, but for whatever reason, I haven’t had it. So when I saw this month’s challenge, I think I may have let out one or two squeals of delight. And it did not disappoint. There was tons of ginger simmered in the broth, along with coriander seeds, star anise (which my daughter loved smelling), and whole cloves. The broth itself was super simple to make. The host of this month’s challenge, Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, gave us the option of a quick broth and broth from scratch. Guess which one I chose. Next time, broth from scratch. Next time.
Essentially, pho is like the best chicken soup you will have eaten. I know it can be made with beef or all other kinds of goodness, but I love the idea of a chicken soup with a deeply gingery broth. What better kind of soup to eat when you are sick? Or when you are well, actually. Anyways, imagine a ginger chicken broth, then add long rice noodles, big hunks of shredded chicken, then add-ons of cilantro, red onion (from my CSA share!), chile slices (also from my CSA share!), lime, and sprouts. The recipe called for bean sprouts, but when I went to the market to get some, they all looked so very sad, as if they had been there for a very long time without being cared for. I ended up with a clamshell of radish sprouts. I think that was a good choice. Not quite the same tooth as the bean sprouts, but with the spiciness of a radish. I recommend. Ah! Who could forget the sriracha sauce.
So I present to you the pho. It was lovely. I will eat this all the time. Or at least once a month.
And because my husband is so awesome, he made a video of me making the pho. Or at least assembling it. And isn’t that music awesome.
As a special treat, Jaden presented us with a second challenge: making a dessert to go with the pho. Chocolate wontons. Or something sweet in there. Because I am a by the books kind of cook, I went with the chocolate version, folding the wonton wrappers onto big chunks of chocolate. These were yummy, but it took me a while to perfect the folding. With the ones shaped like triangles, I didn’t press out enough air, so they were puffy. The puffy bits were ended up just being very very crunchy. When I finally didn’t care anymore, I just folded the wonton around the chocolate like an envelope and fried it like that. Those were the best, when it came down to it. We ate them lightly dusted with powdered sugar. Yummy. Did I already say that? I meant it. By the way, next time, I’ll actually have a thermometer when I fry things.