Vietnamese Chicken Pho and Dessert Wontons


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.

There are two challenges for this month’s Daring Cooks.  The first challenge is this wonderful Vietnamese soup called “pho” (pronounced fuh? as in a question according to Jaden). And the second challenge is a wonton dessert.


There were two recipes available to us to make this dish: a longer version, available at Jaden’s website and a short cut version which you can find below. I opted for the shorter version using chicken.


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)
  • ½ onion
  • 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
  • Hoisin 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.

Notes: The above recipe makes 4 servings. You can replace the chicken with seafood or vegetables if using the chicken pho broth.  However, you cannot replace it with beef since beef pho uses different spices. You can find the beef pho recipe at  Jaden’s blog.


This is an optional challenge but I made it anyway since it was a fun way to use up the fillings I had from my mooncakes.  I made ube (purple yam) wontons.  I didn’t have any wonton wrappers so I made my own using the recipe for one of the first Daring Cooks challenge.

Wonton Wrapper:

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • warm water (enough to make a solid, soft dough)

Combine all ingredients and knead until smooth and soft.  Roll into thin sheet (as thin as you can get it) and cut into squares.  The amount of wonton wrapper you’ll get will depend on how thin and how small the squares turn out.  I got at least 20 wrappers about 2 x 3 inches in size and less than 1/8 inch thin.

Ube (Purple Yam) Filling

You can use ready-made ube jam which can be found in Asian stores or you can try to make your own using the following recipe.


  • 500 g purple yam or ube, boiled and grated
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 2 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 ¼ cups sugar
  • butter for greasing


  1. In a thick-bottomed pan, combine grated ube, coconut milk, evaporated milk and sugar.
  2. Cook over medium fire until very thick, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Transfer to greased pan or bowl and let cool.


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» Reiko said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 04:10 }

Looks absolutely delicious! I love pho, but I’m too intimidated to make it myself.

» Heather B said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 04:10 }

Great job this month! Your pho looks delicious and your wontons are very interesting!

» Jenn said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 08:10 }

Wow I have never seen purple yams or used them before, very different and creative :)

» MaryMoh said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 09:10 }

love the rice noodle soup. I sure need a lot of that in this cold weather. Oh….I miss those purple yam….they are delicious

» Stacy said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 10:10 }

This looks amazing! And I love Ube. What a wonderful meal!

» penny aka jeroxie said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 11:10 }

Gorgeous! I am making mine this weekend :) Good job!

» chef_d said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 11:10 }

Oohh great looking pho! The ube-filled wontons sounds yummy! Why didn’t I think about that??? I used kamote instead. Congrats for a job well done!

» devoted4life said: { Oct 14, 2009 - 11:10 }

I love a steaming bowl of pho and this recipe is so easy! thanks for sharing!

» Miriam/The Winter Guest said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 12:10 }

Beautiful! This time it was my first DC challenge, I was thrilled!

» The Pink Blog said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 02:10 }

One order of Vietnamese Chicken Pho please! Mmmm..yummy!

» Alta said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 07:10 }

Love pho! I’ve made Jaden’s pho ga before. Pretty darn tasty! I’m still a beef pho lover though. Those wontons are awesome-looking!

» Drick said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 08:10 }

sorry I missed this yesterday – really like the chicken pho recipe….thanks

» mub said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 10:10 }

I didn’t even know purple yams existed! It looks wonderful =)

» Rose said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 10:10 }

Beautifully done! I’ve never seen purple yams, they are GORGEOUS!

» The Chickenless Chick said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 02:10 }

Great thinking re. the purple yams with the coconut milk! Bet that was tasty.

» Food-G said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 04:10 }

Thanks CafeniIson! I’ve been looking for a simple make-at-home pho recipe. Were you pleased with it?

» Claudia said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 06:10 }

I adore pho – will have to try this – it doesn’t look too intimidating and oh so fresh. And soup season is here. The wontons are perfectly delectable – nicely done.

» Taga_Luto (Pia) said: { Oct 15, 2009 - 08:10 }

Your Pho Ga looks great. Brilliant idea for the wantons…ube does sounds delicious w/the cripsy wantons.

» Jessie said: { Oct 16, 2009 - 06:10 }

fantastic chicken pho recipe and I love how simple it is to make too

» Danielle said: { Oct 16, 2009 - 08:10 }

I had a beef pho, for the first time, at a very good vietnamese restaurant near where I live. They used 5 different beef cuts and I didn’t particularly care for 4 of them. An acquired taste perhaps? Anyway, will check out Jaden’s version but really like your short-cut chicken recipe.

» Lauren said: { Oct 16, 2009 - 08:10 }

Very cool! The purple yam sounds so good, and the colour is gorgeous =D.

» sizzlechef said: { Oct 17, 2009 - 06:10 }

Healthy. Thank you for sharing. Cheers !

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