Steamy Kitchen Recipes | RSS Feed http://steamykitchen.com Steamy Kitchen Food Blog: fast recipes, simple recipes, with fresh ingredients to create delicious meals. Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:16:53 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 Home Grown Star Anise http://steamykitchen.com/37695-home-grown-star-anise.html http://steamykitchen.com/37695-home-grown-star-anise.html#comments Wed, 24 Sep 2014 20:17:23 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=37695 A lovely reader sent a package of his homegrown star anise spice. Have you ever used star anise before? Normally, when I buy them at the Asian market, they look like they’ve been picked through – none of the “stars” even resemble stars. Upon opening the bag, there is a dusty, musty smell. Not these. These are fresh and dried ...

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A lovely reader sent a package of his homegrown star anise spice. Have you ever used star anise before?

Normally, when I buy them at the Asian market, they look like they’ve been picked through – none of the “stars” even resemble stars. Upon opening the bag, there is a dusty, musty smell.

Not these.

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These are fresh and dried star anise from Greg’s yard. Did you know star anise is actually an immature fruit that’s dried?

Greg says that the star anise tree (it’s a tree!), kept low and trimmed, make wonderful hedges. When you cut the hedges, it releases an amazing, spicy, warm fragrance. I think I’ll take the seeds and plant them in my front yard, what a wonderful way to welcome our friends (and the UPS guy) to house!

I’ve just learned this pod’s folklore, “Place Star anise under your pillow at night to keep bad dreams away and also to dream of someone far away,” says Growing Hermioine’s Garden.

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The green fruit will dry to become the nutty-brown star anise spice that we use in Chinese cooking. Greg included instructions with his care package: Dry in a ventilated screen or it will mold. Also cover with the green pods with some kind of cloth or paper, because as the pods dry, they will SHOOT the seeds out!

How fun! I really want to see the shooting seeds. Maybe I’ll have to stage a camera in front of the drying pods and catch it shooting seeds!

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I’ll have to report back on our progress in growing the seeds. In my research, I’ve found out that the “Illicium verum” is of the magnolia tree family. Here in the U.S., it grows nicely as a small to medium, spreading evergreen tree in zones 9 and 10 (it doesn’t do well in below freezing temperatures.)

Cooking with Star Anise

The Homestead Garden states that, “This spice has a savory-sweet flavor to it, often compared to licorice with a slight cinnamon and clove taste. It has a large quantity of a chemical called anethole, which makes star anise 13 times sweeter than sugar.”

The spice is quite strong, only 1 or 2 star anise is needed to flavor an entire pot of stew. Star anise is also a component of Chinese 5-Spice Powder.

Here’s something interesting from The Epicentre, “Star anise pairs brilliantly with tomatoes. It’s licorice-like flavor actually bears a close resemblance to that of fennel and basil, tomato’s classic companions. A single pod of star anise  adds a new level of flavour to a tomato-based sauce or stew with a warm, spicy undertone. The same goes for braised beef dishes – from stews to chili to oxtail soup, star anise can be the secret ingredient that elevates the dish to a whole new level.”

I’ve never tried star anise with tomatoes, but I think the next batch of tomato sauce will be an experiment with a star or two thrown in.

Here are a few recipes I’ve made using star anise!

Vietnamese Pho

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Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs 

Chinese Tea Egg Recipe

Chinese Boiled Peanuts

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Taiwanese Pork Noodles

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Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe http://steamykitchen.com/37341-chinese-boiled-peanuts-recipe.html http://steamykitchen.com/37341-chinese-boiled-peanuts-recipe.html#comments Tue, 05 Aug 2014 16:33:21 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=37341 Alongside fire-roasted chestnuts, Boiled Chinese Peanuts are sold as cheap street food in China. It’s a cold-weather thing, and I know I’m posting this recipe in the dead heat of the summer, but I am missing real Chinese food….a little nostalgic for humble eats. Raw peanuts are boiled in water with cinnamon sticks, star anise, garlic cloves and a little salt. ...

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Alongside fire-roasted chestnuts, Boiled Chinese Peanuts are sold as cheap street food in China. It’s a cold-weather thing, and I know I’m posting this recipe in the dead heat of the summer, but I am missing real Chinese food….a little nostalgic for humble eats.

Raw peanuts are boiled in water with cinnamon sticks, star anise, garlic cloves and a little salt. Even though there’s no sugar in the mix, you’ll get a molasses-like sweetness just from boiling the peanuts (even if you add NO spices!)

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Star Anise and cinnamon will add complex flavors, liquorice-like (though please don’t let that scare you – it is NOTHING like black liquorice), rich and sweet-smelling. If you’re a chile-nut, go ahead and add a couple of dried red chiles into the pot.

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3 sticks of cinnamon, 3 star anise, 3 cloves of garlic, 3 tablespoons of kosher salt. If you’ve got really good quality cinnamon sticks, just use one or two. I had to use 3 sticks, well….because I’m cheap and bought a lower quality of cassia bark.

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There are 4 ways you can cook this:

  • No soak + pressure cooker for 60 minutes
  • No soak + slow cooker all day
  • No soak + boil on stove for 4 hours
  • Overnight soak + boil on stove 1 hour

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How to cook Chinese Boiled Peanuts

Step 1: Wash the raw peanuts
Give them a good rinse. Pick out any peanuts that just don’t look right, twigs, roots, etc.

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Step 2: Add in seasonings & water

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Step 3: Weigh down the peanuts
Raw peanuts float to the top of the water, so to make sure that they cook evenly, I like to add a plate into the pot to submerge the peanuts.

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Step 4: Cook
I am using a pressure cooker (60 minutes under high pressure), but you can use a slow cooker (high for 6-8 hours) or boil on stove (bring to boil, cover and simmer on low for 3-4 hours)

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Chinese Boiled Peanuts Recipe

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 5 minutes Cook Time: varies
chinese-boiled-peanuts-recipe-2095

Make sure you buy RAW PEANUTS. If you don't have star anise or cinnamon stick, just use 1 teaspoon of Chinese 5-spice powder instead.

Ingredients:

1 pound raw peanuts (also called green peanuts)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
3 star anise
1-3 cinnamon sticks
3 tablespoons of kosher or sea salt

Directions:

Wash the peanuts. In a large pot, add in all of the ingredients. Fill pot with water, enough to cover the peanuts by 3" when submerged. Optional - use a plate to submerge the peanuts in the water.

FOR PRESSURE COOKER:
Cook under pressure 60 minutes high (it will take time to get up to pressure as well as cool-off period to release steam). Follow manufacturer's instructions.

FOR SLOW COOKER:
Cook high for 6-8 hours

FOR STOVETOP:
Bring to boil, cover and set heat to low. Simmer for 3-4 hours or until desired tenderness.

Alternatively, you can soak the peanuts overnight in cool water. The next day, simmer on stovetop for 1 hour or until desired tenderness.

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Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker – Paleo Friendly http://steamykitchen.com/31369-vietnamese-pho-pressure-cooker-noodle-soup-paleo-recipe.html http://steamykitchen.com/31369-vietnamese-pho-pressure-cooker-noodle-soup-paleo-recipe.html#comments Mon, 10 Mar 2014 15:45:10 +0000 http://www.steamykitchen.com/?p=31369 It’s been a loooong time since I’ve made home made pho – much too long! Normally I make beef pho the long and slow way – either in the slow cooker or barely bubbling on the stovetop: Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho Recipe Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe Chicken Pho Recipe (Pho Ga) But a very persistent reader has been emailing me ...

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It’s been a loooong time since I’ve made home made pho – much too long! Normally I make beef pho the long and slow way – either in the slow cooker or barely bubbling on the stovetop:

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho Recipe
Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe
Chicken Pho Recipe (Pho Ga)

But a very persistent reader has been emailing me about creating a Pressure Cooker Vietnamese Pho recipe for the past 2 years. If you can make awesome Pho in the slow cooker, why not a pressure cooker?

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

The only limitation of using a slow cooker or pressure cooker is space. Both appliances aren’t that big, and if I’m going to take the time to make Vietnamese Pho, I want to make a BIG BATCH of it! Well, enough to serve 4 people and some broth for the freezer too (freeze in quart containers or bags to make the best “instant noodle” broth ever.)

My solution for Pressure Cooker Pho is to treat the pressure cooker as a “pho broth concentrator” – the ingredients in the recipe are sufficient enough to create such a rich pho broth concentrate. You can add water to adjust after the broth is complete.

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

Paleo Friendly Vietnamese Pho!

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Here’s a bonus. The recipe is Paleo friendly.

Big thanks to Nom Nom Paleo Food for Humans Cookbook by my friends Michelle Tam and Henry Fong for another stellar recipe. LOVE this cookbook, I can’t recommend it enough and have purchased copies for my friends.

If you’re non-Paleo, don’t worry. I’m creating notes for Paleo and non-Paleo recipe the Vietnamese Beef Pho using the pressure cooker.

 

 

20 Minute Sriracha Sauce Recipe

20 Minute Sriracha Sauce Recipe – Paleo Friendly –

Cauliflower Fried Rice Paleo Recipe

Cauliflower Fried Rice Recipe – > – Paleo Friendly

Non-Paleo Notes: Vietnamese Pho is generally Paleo friendly, as-is. The only ingredient substitution is the type of oil and noodles. Paleo grain-free “noodles” can be Shirotaki noodles (slippery little noodles made from Asian mountain potatoes – found in refrigerated section next to tofu at the store), Zucchini noodles (watch my video reviewing different gadgets to cut zucchini noodles), Kelp noodles made from seaweed.

Traditional Vietnamese Pho Ingredients

If you’re regular eatin’ folk, the traditional Vietnamese Pho noodles are rice noodles. You can find fresh rice noodles at Asian markets or you can get dried rice noodles at your grocery store. They come in different widths, just get one that you like. Generally, I can easily find the 1/4″ thick noodles very easily.

Dried rice noodles cook differently from the regular wheat-based Italian style pasta that you’re used to. The great news its that it’s faster! Dried rice noodles cook in as quickly as 1-3 minutes! If you overcook the noodles, they become mushy and pretty much inedible.

Here’s the best way to cook the dried rice noodles:

  1. Soak the dried noodles in hot water (not boiling water, just hot water from tap) for about 10 minutes. This will soften up the rice noodles. Drain.
  2. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. You don’t really need a ton of water (like you do for pasta) – just enough so that all the noodles can be submerged in the hot water. Turn off heat.
  3. Add drained rice noodles to the hot water. Let it sit for 1 minute. Very thin noodles will be ready after 1 minute. Thicker rice noodles will need a couple of minutes. Drain.

Cooking noodles in the Pho broth?

I know you’re gonna ask me: why not cook the noodles directly in the Pho broth? I never do this. Here’s why:

  1. Because the rice noodles cook so darn quickly, it’s so easy to over cook them. I don’t want to ruin a batch of hard-earned broth with overcooked noodles!
  2. Cooking any type of noodles releases starch. For example, when you cook noodles, the water becomes cloudy from the extra flour. I don’t want that in my Pho broth!
  3. Related to #1 is that because the rice noodles can get mushy if submerged in boiling water too long, I add the noodles to each personal bowl first. When everyone is ready to eat (at the table, all staring at me, impatiently tapping their chopsticks on the table) – I will pour the Pho broth INTO the bowls one by one and serve immediately. Basically, I make the bowls to-serve.

No Pressure Cooker? No problem!

Just follow all instructions and simmer the broth for 4 hours on your stovetop. Put all ingredients into a large pot. Fill with 2-1/2 quarts of water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat so that the water is BARELY simmering – just tiny bubbles here and there. Simmer slightly covered for 3-4 hours. Skim surface of fats and stuff that floats frequently.

Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup) Recipe Video


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Vietnamese Pho Pressure Cooker (Noodle Soup)

Servings: 6 Prep Time: 15 minutes Cook Time: 2 hours
vietnamese pho pressure cooker noodle soup recipe featured-0888

Adapted from Nom Nom Paleo Cookbook by Henry Fong and Michelle Tam. This recipe makes a Vietnamese Pho Soup concentrate.

A tip for the Beef Eye of Round. The key to this is to very thinly slice. These slices will be added to each person's bowl RAW. When you pour the simmering hot pho broth into each bowl, it will cook the beef perfectly! To slice very thin, space the Eye of Round roast into the freezer for 20 minutes. This will firm up the roast and make it easier to slice very thin.

OR - sometimes you can find already-sliced beef at your grocery store. My store sells pre-sliced beef that you use for cheesesteak sandwiches. Even if it's not eye-of-round roast, just use what they are selling pre-sliced!

Ingredients:

3 whole star anise
2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole cloves
1 green cardamom pod
2 tablespoons butter, divided (Non-Paleo version: cooking oil)
8 slices fresh ginger, unpeeled, 1/2 inch thick
1/2 large yellow onion, peeled
2 pound beef cross shanks, 1-1/2 inches thick
1-1/2 pound oxtails
1-1/2 pound beef brisket
3-1/2 tablespoons fish sauce
1 pound beef eye of round roast, very thinly sliced (keep refrigerated until ready to serve)
8 cups shirotaki noodles (Non-Paleo version: dried rice noodles)FOR THE TABLE:2 limes, cut into wedges
2 jalapeño peppers, sliced
1 bunch fresh cilantro
1 bunch fresh Thai basil (or regular Italian basil)
1 bunch fresh mint
2 cups bean sprouts
Sriracha sauce (store bought or 20 Minute Sriracha Recipe)

Directions:

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, add all spices and toast until they become fragrant. Take care not to burn them! Place them in a coffee filter or piece of cheesecloth and tie it up. Place the sachet into the pressure cooker pot.
2. In the same sauce pan over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon butter (or oil) and add onion and ginger pieces. Brown until there is a nice sear on them. Remove them from the pan and place them in the pressure cooker.
3. Sear the meat in batches: add the remaining tablespoon of butter to the pan and sear the shank, oxtail and brisket. You'll do this in batches, all in a single layer. Give everything plenty of space so that they SEAR and brown. Crowding the pan will not brown the meat. Sear each side, remove each meat from the pan and add them to the pressure cooker.

4. Cover the contents of the pressure cooker with water or up to the fill line. Set your pressure cooker to cook for 60 minutes. This means it will cook under pressure for 60 minutes. It will take time to build up pressure (usually 30 minutes) and additional time to release pressure after cooking (usually 30 minutes).
Approximately: 30 minutes to build up pressure + 60 minutes under pressure + 30 minutes to release pressure. Exact timing is really not that important - and also depends on your pressure cooker system. Follow manufacturer instructions.

5. Once finished cooking and safe to open, open the pressure cooker and using a fine mesh or ladle, remove the top layer of fatty liquid that has accumulated on the surface of the broth and discard (there will be lots of it.) Remove the onion, ginger and spice sachet and discard. Remove the meat to your cutting board. Shred the brisket using two forks. Remove any other meat from bone.

6. The resulting broth is a concentrate. Dilute the pho concentrate with 4-6 cups of water. Season the Pho broth with fish sauce. Taste and add additional fish sauce if needed. Bring to a simmer on stovetop right before you are ready to serve.

Assemble the Pho Bowls:
Serve to order. In a large bowl for each person, add shirotaki noodles and meat (including the sliced eye of round). Pour the just-simmering hot broth into each bowl. Hot broth will cook the sliced eye of round. Serve with the remaining sides a la carte so each person can add whatever they'd like to their soup.

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Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga http://steamykitchen.com/13332-slow-cooker-vietnamese-chicken-pho-ga.html http://steamykitchen.com/13332-slow-cooker-vietnamese-chicken-pho-ga.html#comments Fri, 21 Jan 2011 22:53:54 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=13332 Cook Vietnamese chicken pho in a slow cooker! From cookbook author Jaden Hair.

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Bon Appétit and I are celebrating slow cookers this month — I’ve created three incredible slow cooker recipes for them, Slow Cooker Vietnamese Pho Ga Noodle Soup; Slow Cooker Cedar Planked Salmon and Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew. Oh, and if you don’t have a slow cooker, guess what? Bon Appétit is giving away a $150 KitchenAid Slow Cooker to one lucky duck.

For the full recipe for Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup, head over to Bon Appetit. I’ll go into more detail about 3 of the secrets to the recipe.

Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup

Vietnamese Slow Cooker Chicken Pho Ga Recipe

Secret #1: The Moist Chicken

See how moist and tender that chicken is? The secret is to separate your chicken. Chicken bones and parts for the broth; and 1 chicken breast reserved for slicing and eating with your Pho Ga.

The chicken bones and parts go into the slow cooker to make the soup.

The chicken breast is thinly sliced and poached just before serving – cooks in 3-4 minutes. If I had cooked the chicken-for-eating in the slow cooker, it would be flavorless and tough. All of the flavor would have transferred into the broth….and chicken cooked for hours on end in a slow cooker ends up chewy and tough.

Secret #2: Size Matters

Let’s talk about the Pho Ga soup for a bit. I add 2 pounds of chicken parts, whole coriander seeds, half an onion, ginger slices, whole cloves, star anise, and a bundle of cilantro.

Of the 2 pounds of chicken, 1/2 pound of that should be wing tips. Most slow cooker have capacity of 7 quarts. The chunkier the chicken, the less room you have left for broth.

Chicken wing TIPS (the section that really has no meat anyways) have maximum flavor, minimum size. That’s why I love using wing tips. Or chicken feet, if you can find them (did I hear someone squeal?! chicken feet is great for soup!) So remember, size matters. A 7-quart slow cooker will make enough Pho Ga soup for 4 big bowls.

After taking out the big chicken parts, I’ll strain through cheesecloth just to ensure that the broth is clean and clear. For cooking noobs, here’s something to remember. Anytime you are cooking raw chicken in simmering water, you’ll get quite a bit of “white stuff” in the water. Don’t be afraid of it, it’s just chicken protein. If you have time on your hands, you could parboil the bones first in a stock pot, discard water (and “white stuff”) and then proceed with the recipe. But if you have time on your hands, you could just make Pho Ga without the slow cooker.

Straining the broth gives you golden, richly colored, clean soup.

Secret # 3: The Noodles

Soak the dried noodles in COOL water first then DRAIN. This helps makes them pliable, soft and cook better.

To cook the noodles, bring a pot of water to boil and then put the cool drained noodles into the hot water and simmer for 1 minute. After 1 minute — the noodles are DONE!!! That’s it. Don’t overcook the rice noodles, they’ll get too soft and soggy.

Oh and a note on why I boil my noodles in water instead of the pho ga broth we made? Well, I always boil my noodles and pasta separately from my precious soup. That’s because dried noodles/pasta tend to have excess starch that boils out into the water (that’s why boiled pasta water is murky) and many times the dried noodles might have itty bitty weevils or dirt particles that I just don’t want in my soup.

Not so secret secret:

I love garnishing with shaved onions, fresh bean sprouts, cilantro and a squeeze of lime. No Sriracha or Hoisin for me, though many people do enjoy those condiments in their Pho Ga, I think it totally overpowers the beautiful broth.

For the full recipe for Slow Cooker Vietnamese Chicken Pho Ga Noodle Soup, head over to Bon Appetit.

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Taiwanese Pork Noodles http://steamykitchen.com/10961-taiwanese-pork-noodles.html http://steamykitchen.com/10961-taiwanese-pork-noodles.html#comments Tue, 24 Aug 2010 16:11:36 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=10961 Recipe for very simple Taiwanese Pork Noodle Recipe - Lo Ba from cookbook author and Asian recipe expert Jaden Hair.

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Traditional Taiwanese Lo Ba which Lo ba literally means stewed meat in Taiwanese. “Lo” = stew “ba” = meat, is one of those comfort foods that will have your house smelling delicious all day. The star anise and cinnamon give this dish its authentic Taiwanese flavor.

This simple recipe only takes a few minutes to make and I’m sure it will become a family favorite. Serve with a side of steamed broccoli.

Brown the meat with the shallots (or onion) and spices.

Then add the soy mixture, simmer.

Serve over noodles.

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Taiwanese Pork Noodle Recipe - Lo Ba

Servings: 4 Prep Time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 10 minutes
Stewed Pork SK-7696

If you don't have rice noodles, use any type of dried pasta that you want - even angel hair, spaghetti or linguine. It's not authentic, but it will work just fine! Recipe and photos by Shelisa of Big2Beautiful blog.

Ingredients:

1 (10 ounce) package dry rice noodles
2 tablespoons cooking oil
3 shallots, thinly sliced (or 1/2 small onion)
2 whole star anise
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons garlic, minced
1 pound ground pork
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup warm water
2 tablespoons sugar

Directions:

Prepare a large bowl (ice bath) with 12 ice cubes and 4 cups of water, set aside.

Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large pot, then add the dry rice noodles and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from heat and let the noodles sit in the hot water for another 2 minutes. Drain the noodles, then immediately drain them into the prepared ice bath to stop the cooking process, let cool for 1 minute. Drain and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, combine the soy sauce, the vinegar, warm water and the sugar. Whisk together well.

Heat a fry or saute pan over medium high heat. When hot, add in the cooking oil, shallots, garlic, star anise and cinnamon stick and saute until fragrant about 30 seconds. Add the ground pork breaking the meat into small pieces and cooking until the browned. Once the meat has cooked through, add the soy-vinegar mixture. Simmer for 5 minutes on medium-low heat. Serve over rice noodles.

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Star Anise http://steamykitchen.com/7212-star-anise.html http://steamykitchen.com/7212-star-anise.html#comments Tue, 23 Feb 2010 05:27:16 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/?p=7212 Star Anise is a very strong spice which taste and smell like licorice. Star Anise is used very often with pork and duck. It is one of the main ingredients in five spice powder and is used in both savory and sweet dishes. Whole Star Anise has a very long shelf life, purchase the ground variety and store in a ...

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Star Anise is a very strong spice which taste and smell like licorice. Star Anise is used very often with pork and duck. It is one of the main ingredients in five spice powder and is used in both savory and sweet dishes. Whole Star Anise has a very long shelf life, purchase the ground variety and store in a cool, dry place away from heat and direct light.

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Crock Pot Pho (Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup) http://steamykitchen.com/3136-crock-pot-pho.html http://steamykitchen.com/3136-crock-pot-pho.html#comments Mon, 04 May 2009 12:00:16 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=3136     It’s no secret that good Pho broth requires a gazillion hours of simmering time. Time that I just don’t have. Tony, a boyfriend from a lifetime ago, told me his Dad used to simmer giant vats of pho broth overnight for his little pho restaurant in Houston. So, one day, I thought it would be really genius to ...

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Crockpot Pho Recipe   

It’s no secret that good Pho broth requires a gazillion hours of simmering time. Time that I just don’t have. Tony, a boyfriend from a lifetime ago, told me his Dad used to simmer giant vats of pho broth overnight for his little pho restaurant in Houston. So, one day, I thought it would be really genius to do the same. Dump a bunch of beefy, tendony, knuckley, marrowey bones into the largest stockpot that I have and let it simmer away while I slept.

Crockpot Pho Recipe

It didn’t quite work out as I had intended:

11:30pm Initial hard boil of the bones to get all the yuck, guck and scum off. Char ginger and onion.

11:38pm Dumped out water, added clean water, the clean bones, spices, ginger and onion. Let the dance begin.

11:45pm Nighty-night

12:35am Is the flame low enough? Maybe I need to check to see.

1:23am Hmmm…I smell something funny. Go check.

2:41am What if it boiled over? Go check.

3:24am What if there’s a gas bubble in the pipe and the the stove spontaneously bursts out in big flames? Maybe I should sleep on the couch closer to the kitchen.

4:45am Gosh I’m hungry. Sneak a big spoonful of Ben & Jerry’s Pistachio Ice Cream.

4:51am Did I forget to put ice cream back in freezer? What if the gas bubble really does happen and stove spontaneously bursts out in flames? Then sleeping on couch is a dumbass idea. Crawl back to bed.

6:00am Kids wake up. Jumps up and down on my belly trying to wake me up.

6:15am PHO-KING TIRED

Enter the Slow Cooker

A few weeks later, I was contacted by the peeps at Crock-Pot® The Original Slow Cooker <- yes, they are insanely paranoid about me using their correct trademarked name, so much that they’ve given me very specific instructions 4 separate times on how to properly spell/mark their product names.) They sent me their new eLume Crock-Pot® Programmable Slow Cooker with Touch Screen Technology to test.

crock-pot-elume <- shiny, pretty and fancy. Oh crap, I forgot the ™ after eLume™.

It’s the perfect size (6.5 quarts) for a big mean mama pot of PHO!!!

Oh yeah, baby! It solves my problem of paranoia when leaving stove on all night.

What I love about the eLume™ Crock Pot® is© its™ lighted™© touchscreen®™©. Just a light tap is all that you need and it’s totally programmable from 30 minutes to 20 hours of cooking time. You can also set it to start cooking at a certain time, but when making my Crock Pot Pho Recipe, I don’t recommend a delayed start time since we are working with raw meat bones.

Crockpot Pho Recipe

How to make Crock Pot Pho

Whether you use the Crock Pot Pho method or the traditional stove top method, there are a couple of steps that you’ll need to do before throwing it all in the Crock Pot or slow cooker. Namely, toasting the spices, grilling the onion/ginger and pre-boiling the bones. These aren’t absolutely necessary steps…you’ll still make great pho…BUT these extra steps will make the difference between good pho and pho-bulous pho.

Toasting the Vietnamese Pho Spices

Toasting spices for Crock pot Vietnamese pho

You can buy Pho spices at most Asian supermarkets – you can buy the spices separately (coriander seeds, cloves, cinnamon, star anise, fennel and cardamom pod) or purchase them already mixed up in a package (which also includes a small mesh bag). The quality of these pre-mixed spices are just okay – but sometimes it’s just convenient to pick up a bag, not to mention much cheaper if you don’t already have many of these spices. A Pho spice pack will typically sell for $1-$3.

This day that I made the Crock Pot Pho, I used individual spices. I didn’t have cardamom pod. So yes, if you are missing one of couple of the spices, it’s okay. To get the best flavor from these spices, you’ll toast them in a dry skillet.

Grilling Ginger and Onion

This is a totally optional step, but it really gives the ginger and the onion a deep, sweet, mellow flavor. When I’m making Pho the traditional stovetop way, I’ll char them in the broiler. But with the crock pot method, I didn’t want to use the oven at all. After toasting the spices (above) in a frying pan, I add a bit of oil and grilled the onion half and thick ginger slices.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__004_onion-web

Pre-Boiling the Bones

Knuckles, leg bones with lots of marrow are the best for making soup. The marrow will also make the soup rich and thick. The bones are pre-boiled for a few minutes on high heat to clean the bones and get rid of the nasty scum.

You’ll bring a big stockpot of water to a boil on high heat. Add the bones and boil hard for 10 minutes. You’ll see brownish scum rise to the surface. If you hadn’t taken the time to pre-boil the bones, all that scummy stuff ends up in your soup.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__003_scum-web <– nasty pho-reaky scum

Drain, discard the scummy water and briefly rinse the bones.

Now you’ll add the spices, ginger, onion and bones to the slow cooker.

crockpot-pho-beef_090418__008_pot-web

Fill with fresh, clean, cool water about 1-1/2 inches below the surface. Set your slow cooker on low for 8 hours. I haven’t tried this method on high, but I’m sure it would be just fine.

So let this cook during all day while you’re at work or at night while you sleep and you’ll be rewarded with the cleanest, best tasting pho soups ever. Because the slow cooker doesn’t let the stock boil hard, it’s safe, easy and convenient.

Here’s what the stock looks like when it’s been cooking for 8 hours on low. Notice that the level of the liquid is still pretty high. The low, even setting doesn’t evaporate the precious liquid as much as a stove top can. The stock is strained before serving.

Crock Pot Pho Soup

Other Pho Ingredients

I used different ingredients than my previous version of traditional Vietnamese Pho and I wanted to highlight them. Instead of using dried rice noodles, I used fresh rice noodles found at Asian markets, in the refrigerated section because all these need is a quick dip in boiling water. Very fast!

Crock Pot Pho Noodles

I also bought a package of Vietnamese Beef Balls (called Bo Vien Dan). There are all sorts of balls – beef, pork, chicken, fish, crab, and my favorite – beef tendon. They come frozen in a package and they are pre-cooked, so all you need to do is throw the frozen balls into the same pot of boiling water as you cooked your noodles in. Just boil for a couple of minutes until the beef balls are heated through. I like cutting these beef balls in half, so make them easier to eat. It’s not so pretty trying to stick an entire beef ball in your mouth. Unless…you’re like really into that.

Crock Pot Pho Beef Balls

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Crockpot Pho Recipe

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Crock Pot Pho Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:
crockpot vietnamese pho

This is a recipe for a 6.5 quart (or larger) Crock Pot. Any smaller really isn't that great - you won't get enough stock out of it...because the beef bones are really chunky and big. The thinly sliced meat for the bowls may be easier to slice if you freeze the chunk of meat for 15 minutes prior to slicing. You really want them as thin a possible. You can also do what I do - palm your butcher a $5 bill and he'll slice the meat for you on his fancy slicing machine

Ingredients:

For the Pho Stock:
4 pounds beef bones
1/2 onion
4 inch section of ginger, sliced
1 package Vietnamese Pho Spices (or as many of these spices as you have: 2 cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons whole coriander, 1 teaspooon fennel, 3 whole star anise, 3 whole cloves, 1 cardamom pod)
9 cups water
2 1/2 tablespoons fish sauce or to taste
1 teaspoon sugarFor the Pho Bowls
16 ounces fresh or dried rice noodles
1/2 pound flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round steak, sliced as thinly as possible.
11 ounces Vietnamese beef balls, cut into halfFor the table
1-2 limes, cut into wedges
fresh herbs: cilantro, Thai basil, mint
2-3 chili peppers, sliced
2 big handfuls of bean sprouts
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha hot chili sauce

Directions:

1. Bring a large stockpot with water to boil over high heat. When it comes to a rolling boil, add the beef bones and boil vigourously for 10 minutes.

2. In the meantime, heat a frying pan on medium-low heat. Add the Vietnamese Pho Spices and toast until fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Dump the spices to the empty Crock Pot or slow cooker immediately. Return frying pan to medium-high heat and add 1 tablespoon of oil. When the oil is hot, add the ginger slices and the onion half. Cook until the ginger is browned on both sides and the onion half is nicely browned and softened. Add the ginger and the onion to the Crock Pot or slow cooker.

3. When the bones have been pre-boiled, drain, discard water and rinse bones briefly to clean them. Add the bones to the Crock Pot or slow cooker. Fill the Crock Pot with fresh, clean, cool water to just 1-1/2 inches below surface, add the fish sauce and sugar. Cover and set the Crock Pot or slow cooker to cook on low for 8 hours. Taste and season with additional fish sauce if needed.

4. When you are just about ready to eat, you'll prep the rest of the ingredients for the Pho bowls. Bring a pot of water to a boil. Add the beef balls and cook until heated through, about 2 minutes. Remove the balls, keeping the water boiling and now cook the noodles according to package instructions. If you are using fresh noodles, all they need is a couple of minutes. Drain immediately.

5. Strain the stock with a fine meshed sieve. Discard the solids.

6. Line up 4 large bowls on counter. Distribute the noodles, beef balls and thin steak slices evenly amongst the bowls. Ladle the hot Pho stock into each bowl. The hot stock should cook the thin steak slices. Serve with lime wedges, fresh herbs, chili peppers, Hoisin sauce and Sriracha hot chili sauce at the table.

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vietnamese-pho-beef-noodle-soup-recipe Vietnamese Pho Recipe (cooked the traditional, long, slow, stovetop method)

vietnamese-chicken-pho-recipe Vietnamese Chicken Pho Recipe (Pho Ga)

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Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe http://steamykitchen.com/2147-chinese-tea-eggs-recipe.html http://steamykitchen.com/2147-chinese-tea-eggs-recipe.html#comments Sun, 18 Jan 2009 02:35:56 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/?p=2147 Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs symbolize prosperity

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Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

 

What you’ll learn:

  • What Chinese Tea Eggs symbolize
  • How to gently crack the eggshell and still keep it intact
  • How to create intricate marble designs on the egg
  • How to create the perfect Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs

I know it’s a bit early to start thinking about Chinese New Year, but I wanted to start a week ahead and post several recipes that would make perfect dishes for the upcoming Chinese New Year, such as this Chinese Marbled Tea Egg recipe.

Isn’t the shell of the Tea Egg absolutely gorgeous? The best part (other than eating) is to peel back the egg shell to see what kind of marbled design you end up with!

We generally eat these at room temperature or just slightly warm. In Northern China, Chinese Tea Eggs symbolize golden nuggets for the Chinese New Year feast – so if you’re lookin’ for a little more prosperity this coming year of the Ox update: it’s the Year of the Tiger this year! my Mama says you’d better make this recipe!

My friend Diana, author of Appetite For China recently was vacationing here in Tampa, Florida and I got to meet her! (yeah – we got a pic together too! at the end of the post.) She includes dried orange peel in her recipe and I’m sure she’ll be enjoying Chinese Tea Eggs with her parents in China.

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

For Chinese Marbled Tea Eggs, you’ll want to hard boil eggs first, and after they cool off, use a back of a teaspoon to gently crack the eggshell all over. Keep the eggshell intact, but the more you crack, the more intricate the design of the marble will be. Make those crack pretty deep, as that is how the tea/soy mixture will seep into the egg.

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg RecipeChinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

I was gentle at first, but after seeing that the eggshell stayed intact, I cracked the next egg a bit harder…and what a difference that made!

Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

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Chinese Marbled Tea Egg Recipe

Servings: 6 eggs Prep Time: Cook Time:
chinese_tea_egg

Ingredients:

6 eggs
3/4 cup soy sauce
2 star anise
2 tablespoons black tea (or 2 tea bags)
1 cinnamon stick
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon Sichuan peppercorn (optional)
2 strips dried tangerine or mandarin orange peel (optional)

Directions:

Gently place the eggs in a medium pot and fill with water to cover the eggs by 1-inch. Bring the pot to a boil, lower the heat and let simmer for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs (leaving the water in the pot) and let cool under running cool water. Using the back of the teaspoon, gently tap the eggshell to crack the shell all over. The more you tap, the more intricate the design. Do this with a delicate hand to keep the shell intact. To the same pot with the boiling water, return the eggs and add in the remaining ingredients. Bring the mixture to a boil and immediately turn the heat to low. Simmer for 40 minutes, cover with lid and let eggs steep for a few hours to overnight. The longer you steep, the more flavorful and deeply marbled the tea eggs will be. In the photos above, I steeped for 5 hours. Mom likes to steep overnight.

And as I promised, here is the lovely Diana!

diana_jaden

Chinese New Year book for kids

If you want to teach your kids about Chinese New Year, this book called Dragon Dance is great  !

 

More Recipes to Explore:

Chinese New Year Recipes: What to eat if you want a raise! (Steamy Kitchen)

What to eat for Chinese New Year Infographic (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese New Year Recipes + Superstitions (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Egg Drop Soup (Steamy Kitchen)

Chinese Tea Leaf Eggs (All Recipes)

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Vietnamese Pho: Beef Noodle Soup http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html http://steamykitchen.com/271-vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho.html#comments Sat, 09 Feb 2008 20:15:33 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2008/02/09/vietnamese-beef-noodle-soup-pho/ What the Pho?! I’ve been working hard perfecting the techniques and recipe for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, or Pho, just for you. It’s taken years of kitchen experiments, eating out and scouring for good recipes. Of all the cookbooks that I own, the best recipe that I’ve found for Pho is from: Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese Kitchen, which is ...

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Vietnamese Pho Noodle Soup Recipe

What the Pho?!

I’ve been working hard perfecting the techniques and recipe for Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup, or Pho, just for you. It’s taken years of kitchen experiments, eating out and scouring for good recipes. Of all the cookbooks that I own, the best recipe that I’ve found for Pho is from:

Andrea Nguyen’s Into the Vietnamese KitchenInto the Vietnamese Kitchen Cookbook, which is one of the most comprehensive books on the cuisine of Vietnam. The book also won nominations for a James Beard Foundation award and two International Association of Culinary Professionals (IACP). Definitely a must-have book for Asian food lovers.

So, let’s get right to the Vietnamese Beef Pho Recipe!

The dish is pronounced “fuh” and not “foo” or “foe” or “puh”

Yeah, Pho is cheap eat out…but to be able to make a home made version? Pretty Pho-king amazing, if you ask me.

Pho Spices

It’s best if you can get each spice separately, but I do find that the spice packets are pretty convenient. They cost less than $2.00 and even come with a mesh bag to put all the spices in. Spices include cinnamon sticks, cloves, coriander pods, star anise and cardamom. Whatever you do, don’t use the Pho spice paste that comes in a jar or can. Nasty stuff, that’s Pho-sho’.

Pho Spices use for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Best Bones for Pho

Leg and knuckle bones are the best to make the stock. See that wonderful yellow marrow below in the photo? That’s pure flavoring that makes your Pho taste full, meaty and rich. But let’s say that you can’t find leg/knuckle bones. Go ahead and use whatever beef bones your supermarket has and just supplement with some oxtail bones or a pound of beef meat (rump, chuck, brisket, etc.) for extra flavor.

Bones are parboiled first for a good 10 minutes in rapidly boiling water – this gets rid of the yucky impurities like blood particles and extra fat. You’ll see gray foam float up to the surface as you boil. After 10 minutes, dump out all of the water, rinse out your pot, rinse the bones, and refill with clean, cool water. I know it’s an extra step, but this will give you the pure, clean-tasting broth.

This is just after blanching – the golden gelatinous goodness is where all the flavor and body is.

UPDATE 4/11/2010 I started getting comments of the broth being too greasy — and after 8 pots of testing, I found out why. When I normally make pho broth, I use a combination of knuckle and leg bones, normally with 20% of the bones having the marrow (below photo). When I started increasing the % of bones with marrow – the broth started getting too fatty. I guess too much of a good stuff is not a good thing! ;-) The fattiness is easy to remedy. Refrigerate overnight and just discard the layer of fat that accumulates on top. For best results though, keep the bones with marrow to 20%.

Bones for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Charring Onions and Ginger

Charring or roasting the onions and ginger gives you a wonderfully mellow and naturally sweet flavor. I used to char over an open flame on my stovetop with a pair of tongs, but that got pretty tiring. Plus, metal tongs + long time over flame = very hothothot hands. So now, I just raise my oven rack to the highest position and turn my broiler on. See how golden the ginger gets?

Char onions and ginger for Vietnamese Pho Recipevietnamese-pho-recipe-ginger

Damn Scumbag!

So here is my broth boilin’ away with the mesh bag of spices, charred ginger, charred onions and beef bones. You can see floating bits of fat and the damn scumbag.

Fat & marrow bits = good eats. Try to keep that in the broth!

But gotta get rid of the scum! I use a very, very fine mesh strainer designed just for scum. heh. A scumbag strainer. Can you imagine if I had a line of cookware and tools – “Steamy Kitchen Scumbag Strainer.” Straining the scum keeps your broth pure and clean. The lower the simmer, the less scum you have.

A note on broth simmering time – I simmer the broth for 3 hours. According to both Andrea Nguyen and Corinne Trang (author of Authentic Vietnamese Cooking and former editor and director of Saveur’s test kitchen) – all of the flavors in the bone have been extracted after 3 hours.

Skim the Scum when making broth for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Thin Sliced Meat

You can use a thinly sliced flank steak, london broil, sirloin, eye of round or tri-tip. Instead of beef slices, you could use beef balls (Bo Vien) found in the freezer section of your Asian market. The secret to cutting meat is to cut across the grain. You want your beef slices as thin as possible, and I always throw the whole chunk of meat in the freezer for 15 minutes to make it easier to slice thinly.

How to slice steak for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Pho Noodles


Rice noodles for vietnamese pho recipe


Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup typically uses rice noodles. You can buy them dried or fresh. I love the slippery softness of fresh noodles (look in the refrigerator or freezer section.) Most restaurants will use dried, flat rice noodles. Look for ones that are medium thickness and flat like these.

Pho Condiments


Condiments for Vietnamese Pho Recipe


Pho-tastic condiments! On the tables of every Pho restaurant, you’ll see these two condiments, Cock Sauce (Sriracha hot chili sauce) and Hoisin Sauce. You can squirt and slather as much of these two condiments as you want…but I’m a purist.If I’m going to spend a couple of hours carefully crafting a rich, flavor-packed, clean soup – I better taste every damn drop. Condiment sauces just get in the way. Sometimes, I’ll squirt a bit of each sauce in a little dish and dip my meat in the sauce as I take a bite. You ask….why do we call it Cock sauce? See that rooster on the bottle?

Pho Vegetables and Herbs

Fresh mint, cilantro, basil, bean sprouts, limees, sliced chili peppers are just some of my favorite accompaniments. Set a plate at the table and your guests can pick and choose what they like. Here’s a great Pho-tograph of fresh vegetables and herbs.

Fresh Herbs for Vietnamese Pho Recipe

Recommended Tools

These are tools that I recommend and use in my kitchen.




More Pho Recipes

Crock Pot/Slow Cooker Pho Recipe

Crock Pot Slow Cooker Pho
Don’t have time to man a stove? Use your crock pot or slow cooker!

Vietnamese Chicken Pho (Pho Ga) Recipe

vietnamese-chicken-pho-recipe Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup (Pho Ga)

Pho-Lovers Pho-Ever

Guilty Carnivore
Eat Drink & Be Merry

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Vietnamese Pho: Beef Noodle Soup Recipe

Servings: 8 Prep Time: 30 minutes Cook Time: 4 hours
vietnamese-pho-recipe-2

Adapted from my favorite Vietnamese cookbook
Into the Vietnamese Kitchen

Sometimes, I omit the 1 pound of beef meat in the broth (you'll see I've made it optional) - as I've found that as long as I have good bones, the broth will have enough flavor to not need the extra beef meat.

Ingredients:

THE BROTH



2 onions, halved
4" nub of ginger, halved lengthwise
5-6 pounds of good beef bones, preferably leg and knuckle
1 pound of beef meat - chuck, brisket, rump, cut into large slices [optional]6 quarts of water
1 package of Pho Spices [1 cinnamon stick, 1 tbl coriander seeds, 1 tbl fennel seeds, 5 whole star anise, 1 cardamom pod, 6 whole cloves - in mesh bag]1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt (halve if using regular table salt)
1/4 cup fish sauce
1 inch chunk of yellow rock sugar (about 1 oz) - or 1oz of regular sugar

2 pounds rice noodles (dried or fresh)
Cooked beef from the broth (shredded or thinly sliced)
1/2 pound flank, london broil, sirloin or eye of round, sliced as thinly as possible.
big handful of each: mint, cilantro, basil
2 limes, cut into wedges
2-3 chili peppers, sliced
2 big handfuls of fresh bean sprouts
Hoisin sauce
Sriracha hot sauce

Directions:

Char: Turn your broiler on high and move rack to the highest spot. Place ginger and onions on baking sheet. Brush just a bit of cooking oil on the cut side of each. Broil on high until ginger and onions begin to char. Turn over and continue to char. This should take a total of 10-15 minutes.

Parboil the bones: Fill large pot (12-qt capacity) with cool water. Boil water, and then add the bones, keeping the heat on high. Boil vigorously for 10 minutes. Drain, rinse the bones and rinse out the pot. Refill pot with bones and 6 qts of cool water. Bring to boil over high heat and lower to simmer. Using a ladle or a fine mesh strainer, remove any scum that rises to the top.

Boil broth: Add ginger, onion, spice packet, beef, sugar, fish sauce, salt and simmer uncovered for 1 1/2 hours. Remove the beef meat and set aside (you'll be eating this meat later in the bowls) Continue simmering for another 1 1/2 hours. Strain broth and return the broth to the pot. Taste broth and adjust seasoning - this is a crucial step. If the broth's flavor doesn't quite shine yet, add 2 teaspoons more of fish sauce, large pinch of salt and a small nugget of rock sugar (or 1 teaspoon of regular sugar). Keep doing this until the broth tastes perfect.

Prepare noodles & meat: Slice your flank/london broil/sirloin as thin as possible - try freezing for 15 minutes prior to slicing to make it easier. Remember the cooked beef meat that was part of your broth? Cut or shred the meat and set aside. Arrange all other ingredients on a platter for the table. Your guests will "assemble" their own bowls. Follow the directions on your package of noodles - there are many different sizes and widths of rice noodles, so make sure you read the directions. For some fresh rice noodles, just a quick 5 second blanch in hot water is all that's needed. The package that I purchased (above) - needed about 45 seconds in boiling water.

Ladling: Bring your broth back to a boil. Line up your soup bowls next to the stove. Fill each bowl with rice noodles, shredded cooked beef 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. Guests can garnish their own bowls as they wish.

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Pho Ga: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup http://steamykitchen.com/139-vietnamese-chicken-noodle-soup-pho-ga.html http://steamykitchen.com/139-vietnamese-chicken-noodle-soup-pho-ga.html#comments Sat, 14 Jul 2007 14:21:04 +0000 http://steamykitchen.com/blog/2007/07/14/vietnamese-chicken-noodle-soup-pho-ga/ You haven’t experienced wild until you’ve lived in the heart of Hollywood. My little duplex was squished in between movie-star wannabes, the homeless pushing shopping carts piled 8-ft high with trash treasures and gold-chained pimps proclaiming to the world, “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! Right over here!” The location was by choice and I had a very good reason for living 2 ...

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Pho Ga: Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup

You haven’t experienced wild until you’ve lived in the heart of Hollywood. My little duplex was squished in between movie-star wannabes, the homeless pushing shopping carts piled 8-ft high with trash treasures and gold-chained pimps proclaiming to the world, “GIRLS! GIRLS! GIRLS! Right over here!”

The location was by choice and I had a very good reason for living 2 blocks from the golden sidewalk stars. It was called, “just so I can say that I did.” I know. I was young. But seriously, where else can I shimmy into CFM boots, don an electric pink wig and just blend in without getting mistaken for $25? When the sun sets and street-level neon gas flows, Hollywood is pure freedom of expression.

After a night of clubbing 2 blocks south, my friends and I would walk 3 blocks east to a small, rinky-dink Vietnamese noodle shop to fill up on pho. Asian girly posters littered the walls and the same bad karaoke DVD played over and over. Thank goodness the steaming, hot, intoxicating bowl of pho drowned out the awful Chinglish rendition of, “Baby Got Back.” That soup was un-pho-king believable.

I don’t know what secret family recipe they followed, but after all these years, I finally mastered that bowl of chicken pho in my home kitchen, boots not required.

Pho Ga

Believe it or not, I’m actually more crazy and bold now that I’m in my mid-thirties. When I was younger, I cared deeply about what people thought of me.  Now I live in a very tame, sorta Stepford Wives-ish, suburban neighborhood (well, I guess any place is tame compared to Hollywood Blvd.) I kind of feel its my duty as an Official Ambassador of Chaos & Confusion to cause a little bit of trouble, you know, stir the pot a bit, just to make sure that my house doesn’t get sucked into the vortex of boring, bland and god-forbid…NORMAL.

My Modern Asian version of Pho Ga, Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup, takes everything that I learned from T’s Mom, Into the Vietnamese Kitchen and simplifies it just a bit for the home cook, but still as wonderful and authentic as it can be.

Pho Ga

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Pho Ga - Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Servings: 4 Prep Time: Cook Time:
jaden1

You can judge how good a Pho soup is by how much concentrated flavor is packed in the broth while still retaining a clean, uncloudy, clear broth. I like my Pho without Sriracha hot sauce or Hoisin sauce....I really enjoy the purity of the chicken broth without anything to hide its flavor and aroma.

There are 2 very important steps to a clear but intense broth - 1) parboiling the chicken to get rid of the impurities 2) charring the ginger and onion for a naturally sweet, robust flavor.

A note on fish sauce - I prefer the Three Crabs brand. Choose a fish sauce light in color...it should look like brewed tea. Anything darker than that (looking like Coca Cola) is inferior quality. Three Crabs fish sauce contains gluten, please check labels if you are making GF substitutions.

Ingredients:

1 whole organic chicken (4-5lbs)
1 whole onion, unpeeled and cut in half
3-inch chunk of ginger, unpeeled(A) Broth spices
2 tbl whole coriander seeds
4 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
2 tbl sugar (or rock sugar)
2 tbl fish sauce
small bunch of cilantro stems only, tied in bunch with twine(B) Accompaniments at table
1 lb dried rice noodles (about 1/4" wide)
2 cups bean sprouts, washed & tails pinched off
cilantro tops - leaves and tender stems
1/2 cup shaved red onions
1/2 lime, cut into 4 wedges
Sriracha hot sauce
Hoisin sauce
sliced chili

Directions:

Place ginger and onion on a small baking sheet. The top of the onion should be about 4" from the oven's heating element. Set to broil on high for 15 minutes. Turn the onion and ginger occasionally, to get an even char. The skin should get dark and the onion/ginger should get soft. After cooling, rub to get the charred skin off the onion and use a butter knife to scrape the skin off the ginger. Slice ginger into thick slices.
In a large stockpot, fill with water and boil. With a sharp cleaver, carve the chicken breast meat off and reserve. With the rest of chicken whacking hard through the bones to get sections about 3" big. The more bone that is exposed, the more marrow that gets in the broth (translation: rich, flavorful). You can even whack several places along the bone just to expose more marrow. When the water boils, add chicken sections (not breast) and boil on high for 5 minutes. You'll see lots of foam and "stuff' come up to the surface. Drain, rinse your chicken of the scum and wash your pot thoroughly. Refill with about 4 quarts of clean, cold water.

Add chicken, chicken breast meat, onion, ginger and all of (A) in the pot and cover. Turn heat to high - let it come to boil, then immediately turn heat to low. Prop lid up so that steam can escape. After 15 minutes, remove the chicken breasts, shred with your fingers when cooled and set aside (you'll serve shredded chicken breast with the finished soup). With a large spoon, skim the surface of any impurities in the broth. Skimming every 20 minutes ensures a clear broth. Simmer a total of 1-1/2 hours. Taste and adjust seasoning with more fish sauce and or sugar.

Strain the broth, discard solids. Prepare noodles as per directions on package. Ladle broth, add shredded chicken breast and soft noodles in each bowl. Have (B) ingredients set at table for each person to add to their bowl.

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