This is my first month doing a Daring Cooks’ Challenge, and it was certainly a challenge! Jaden from Steamy Kitchen (who has a new cookbook coming out, hooray!) hosted this month, and it was my first foray into Vietnamese food. I’ve only made American chicken soup once before, so either way, this was mostly new :)
I had to pick up some ingredients that weren’t yet living in the kitchen–fish sauce, hoisin sauce, and so on–but I’m hopeful that they’ll get used again soon. I liked how this soup turned out, but I think next time I’d alter it a little…I might sear the chicken first to enhance the chicken flavor, and I would definitely be sure to put in FOUR whole cloves instead of TWO TABLESPOONS…woops! I ended up spending 10 or 15 minutes hand-picking the extra cloves out of the soup, since the flavor gets really intense.
If you go the long route, make sure you use a knife you don’t care about too much to hack up the chicken. I was wincing for the knife’s edge each time I came down on the chicken bones.
The long version of the recipe involves a lot of simmering–I ended up spending around 2 hours just with the hacked-up chicken in the broth stewing with the spices.
Jaden’s long version of the Pho Ga recipe has tons of spices and tons of accoutrements for serving. I forgot star anise and used anise seed in its place, but otherwise I did the challenge exactly as in that recipe. The cilantro, lime, and bean sprouts were great to throw on at the end–they gave the soup tons of flavor.
Here’s to another month of being Daring!