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.
For this months DC challenge I made a squid & kelp version of this delicious noodle dish. The simple yet effective roasting of the spices really brought out the aromas of this soup. I had a few disasters on my sweet wonton experiments – my first batch included lychee & black sesame wonton, bread & butter pudding wonton, marshmallow wonton. They weren’t the most suitable fillings & I made a mess when the marshmallow leaked into the hot oil. Lychee just didn’t go with the crispy wonton pastry, and the bread & butter pudding was far too dry. On my second attempt I made mincemeat wonton, pumpkin puree wonton, and marmalade & tamarind baked wonton. I used a cookie cutter to stamp out shapes; these were prettier and tastier.
Pumpkin puree wonton
Marmalade & tamarind baked wonton
Not so sucessful: Lychee & black sesame wonton, bread & butter pudding wonton
Green marshmallow wonton
Challenge #1: Vietnamese Chicken Pho
Variations – Pho: chicken, beef, pork, seafood or vegetarian/vegan.
Preparation Time: 45 cooking time + 15 minutes to cook noodles based on package directions
Servings: Makes 4 servings
For the Chicken Pho Broth:
2 tbsp. whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 quarts (2 liters/8 cups/64 fluid ounces) store-bought or homemade chicken stock
1 whole chicken breast (bone in or boneless)
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 Chicken Pho Broth: heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the coriander seeds, cloves and star anise 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) and bring to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and let simmer for 20 minutes, skimming the surface frequently.
4. Use tongs to remove the chicken breasts and shred the meat with your fingers, discarding the bone if you have used bone-in breasts.
5. Taste the broth and add more fish sauce or sugar, if needed. Strain the broth and discard the solids.
6. Prepare the noodles as per directions on the package.
7. Ladle the broth into bowls. Then divide the shredded chicken breast and the soft noodles evenly into each bowl.
8. Have the accompaniments spread out on the table. Each person can customize their own bowl with these ingredients.
Challenge #2: Chocolate Wontons
Posting Date: October 14, 2009
Preparation time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes cooking time (for 12 wontons)
Servings: Makes 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)
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 piece of chocolate near the top end of the wrapper.
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. Press the edges to adhere the sides. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.
6. Repeat with the remaining wrappers 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.