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.
This months Daring Cooks’ Challenge is hosted by Jaden of Steamy Kitchen. She chose Vietnamese Chicken Pho and Chocolate Wontons from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook. For the challenge we were given the option to change the meat base in the Pho (chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetarian/vegan) and the filling in the wontons. I chose to make Beef Pho because anytime we use to go out for Pho Mike always gets beef. I personally prefer chicken, but decided to go with beef since he was alway partaking in this meal.
Because the original recipe we were given was the quick version of the Chicken Pho, I went onto Jaden’s webpage to check the Beef Pho recipe so that I could get the right spices. I loved the way this turned out. It was fantastic, and Mike loved it too 🙂 The Chocolate-Strawberry Wontons turned out great too. They reminded me of a chocolate covered strawberry.
Challenge #1: Vietnamese Beef Pho
Servings: Makes 4 servings
For the Beef Pho Broth:
1 cinnamon stick
1 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
1 tbsp whole fennel seeds
6 whole cloves
5 whole star anise
1 cardamom pod
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade beef stock
1/2 lb flank steak, sliced as thin as possible
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)
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
Sliced fresh chili peppers of your choice
1. To make the Beef Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the cinnamon stick, coriander seeds, fennel seeds, cloves, star anise, and cardamom pod 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) except the beef and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes.
4. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
5. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
6. Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, and raw meat slices. As soon as the broth comes back to a boil, ladle into each bowl. the hot broth will cook your raw beef slices. Serve immediately.
7. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.
Challenge #2: Chocolate-Strawberry Wontons
Recipe Source: Jaden of Steamy Kitchen from her new book The Steamy Kitchen Cookbook.
Servings: Makes 6-12 wontons.
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
12 wonton wrappers, defrosted (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
12 pieces or nuggets of chocolate (use any type of chocolate you like)
6 strawberries, hulled and sliced
High-heat oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling
1. In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.
2. On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down with a point toward you, like a diamond.
3. Place 1 slice of strawberry near the top end of the wrapper and place a piece of chocolate on top of it.
4. Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper.
5. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up to create a triangle and gently press to remove all air from the middle. If the strawberries are large, you might have to top with another wrapper. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.
6. Repeat with the remaining wrappers, strawberries, and chocolate pieces.
7. Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying.
8. In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil.
9. Heat the oil to 350º F (180º C) and gently slide a few of the chocolate wontons into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the chocolate wontons.
10. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp.