Vietnamese Penicillin - This is NOT your Bubby's Chicken Soup + Halloween FINGER food! - Parsley, Sage, and Sweet

Vietnamese Penicillin – This is NOT your Bubby’s Chicken Soup + Halloween FINGER food!

October 14, 2009 at 6:12 am | Posted in Asian, Breads, Cookies, Daring Cooks, Dessert, Dinner, Holiday, Lunch, Pasta, Pastry, Poultry, Soups/Stews, Vegetables | 72 Comments
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One cool aspect of food blogging is that someone in the publishing world might see your blog and think you’ve got the skill, creativity, chops write and maybe even photograph your own cookbook.  There have been several bloggers who are working on, or have cookbooks published, and one of them just so happens to be this month’s Daring Cooks host, Jaden of Steamy Kitchen.  This gal’s got mad talent, and her blog is a joy to ogle, drool over and read, so I can completely understand why she’s now the author of a cookbook that’ll most definitely sell like hotcakes.  Congrats, Jaden!


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.  If you’re a lover of Asian food, this book is right up your alley.  If you’re not, it’ll make you one!  *Not so subliminal message*  Buy this Phoking book! :D  Thanks for sharing these recipes with us, Jaden!


As you’ve probably figured out by the title of this entry, we’re making soup, but not just any soup, Vietnamese Chicken Pho soup.  Pho is pronounced ‘fuh’, so you just KNOW I’m going to have a field day with this.  To say this soup is fanphokingtastic is an understatment.  This soup is fanphokingtastic and fanphokingtabulous.  We were given the option of making the chicken aka Pho Ga soup (I’m assuming ‘Ga’ means chicken??), or Jaden’s beef version..not to mention seafood, pork  or vegetarian/vegan if desired.  I decided to stick with the chick, but I’ll most definitely be trying her beef version, especially after smelling, tasting, almost wanting to bathe in, the chicken version.


Straight from the mouth of Jaden – So what is Vietnamese Pho? Well, it’s like the most insanely delicious noodle soup popular in Vietnam. The broth is simmered for hours and hours with either beef knuckle/leg bone or with a whole chicken. Other accompaniments include ribbons of rice noodles, fresh herbs like cilantro or basil, a wedge of lime or lemon, fresh bean sprouts and fresh sliced chilies if desired.

What makes Pho so different than any other type of noodle soup is the spices that go into the simmering broth. Warm spices like coriander, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, fresh ginger transform an ordinary broth into a very authentic Vietnamese Pho.


Jaden also gave us a choice of making her quick version of Pho Ga or making her long simmering pot of homemade stock ‘version’.  Since I had several quarts of homemade chicken stock in my freezer, I decided to make the quick version.  This frozen stock is the bee’s knees (first time I ever used that phrase..swear on it), and most definitely Bubby’s I suppose you could call my Pho Ga Jewishnamese Penicillin.

What makes this soup so special, as mentioned above, whether it be the long, simmering version, or the quick version, is the spices and aromatics.  OH.MY.GOD, the smell of this soup simmering will you bring you to your bee’s knees (second time).You char an onion and a knob of ginger, scraping off the charred skins, and toast some star anise, coriander seeds and cloves, then dump them into a pot along with sugar, fish sauce, a whole chicken and water (long, simmering version) or chicken stock and one whole chicken breast (shorty).  Bring to a boil, lower to a simmer, and VOILA, phoking heaven with lots of phoking accoutrements and a damn good cure for my cold (on it’s last legs, but still annoying).

Finally, Jaden also has a great recipe for chocolate wontons which we were asked to make along with the soup.  The fun part is..whoever comes up with the most unique, creative sweet wonton filling, will win a copy of her new cookbook.


I took a Snickers bar, chopped it into pieces and that’s my filling.  Gotta admit, it was really phoking good!  ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, ALRIGHT, you know me..I couldn’t just sit with that, so I also made some unique PB & J (My spiced plum chutney from the Dosa challenge, hot chili peanuts and coconut) mini eggroll wontons at the last minute (try 10 minutes ago).  Now, I feel better.  Disturbing, huh?  Truth is..they sucked, but I tried.


As always, please check out the Daring Cooks Blogroll for all the cool Pho’s and super creative sweet wontons.  I saw some in the Daring Kitchen forum, and I know one thing for sure..Phogeddaboutit, I ‘ain’t’ winning squat! lol

Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Soup)

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.

* I LIKE the tails on the bean sprouts, so I chose to leave them on.

Chocolate 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 witha 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.

Halloween FINGER food!

OK, now I need to inject a little Halloween into this post, since Halloween just so happens to be my favorite holiday of all time.  I made you all a lovely, little spread of finger foods, but not just any finger food, actual FINGER food!

Witch's Finger Breadsticks

 Hairy Witchy Finger Breadsticks From Scratch

Hairy Witchy Finger Breadsticks from a Can

Witch's Finger Breadsticks

Crispy Cheddar Cracker Witch's Fingers

Crispy Cheddar Cracker Witch’s Fingers (Like Cheez-Itz, but better!)`

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies
(I used red tinted melted white chocolate for the blood, instead of jam, and colored the witch’s finger dough green)

Severed Witch and Human Finger Cookies

Head on over to my spooky story and MORE about these fabulous FINGER foods over at The Daring Kitchen!

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  1. Wow! I can just smell the pho from here. And plum jam with spicy peanuts sound just phofect (I had to try right?:)). Great job.

  2. Unique PB & J (spiced plum chutney, hot chili peanuts and coconut) wontons sound like a winner to me Lisa. And the pictures of the chicken phở look fabulous love that line of chillies in the stock this is one wonderful soup so fresh and light yet so full of flavour. Well done on this challenge good to hear the cold is slmost gone.

  3. I love pho noodle soup! Your bowl of soup is picture perfect. Love the chocolate wontons too. I would love to try your PB&J version. All those flavors together sound wonderful!

  4. Your PB&J is totally creative!! And I wouldn’t knock a Snickers filling…mmm snickers….great job w/ the challenge!

  5. The soup looks outstanding and I just love your PB & J filling for wontons, how wonderfully delicious!

  6. I’ll gladly come over everyday if it means I’d have a meal of pho and snicker wontons :P Snickers! It’s genius!

  7. WOW the soup looks awesome and great photos too they are PhoGabulous. Good luck in the ALCS.

  8. You got to be kidding right? I am the one going to win the LEAST CREATIVE wonton filling… I just did a little piece of chocolate in the wonton… haha.. still delicious though but well.. not so creative I guess… Your pho looks awsome! O and by the way; I love the idea of putting snickers in the wontons! I think that IS actually very creative!

  9. Your Pho looks delightful and so comforting! Those wonton wraps look delicious too!



  10. You made pho sound both fun and delicious – nice write-up. And anything with Snickers HAS to be good. :)

  11. Phu-ummilious! Ha-ha! You’re a nut!

    Lisa your photos are super sharp and clear… lens? :)

    Hope you’re feeling better!

  12. You are too pho-nny!
    And darn it all, I don’t even like Asian food, but this looks and sounds SO good. (I used to love it, then 11+ years ago when I was pregnant with my oldest, I couldn’t stand the smell or even mention of Asian food. Kind of annoying.) BUT, when I do “give in” and have some or even cook it, I like it, so–weird!
    Love all your yummy looking food here and for the record, I’d totally go for the Snickers wonton!

  13. Pho-bulous dahling. You, my dear, are the bees knees.

  14. Pho is my favorite soup. Since leaving Seattle (a hot bed of Asian food and where I worked with some awesome Vietnamese chefs) 6 years ago…I have missed it so very much. I can’t wait to try this version!

  15. I could lick the screen when I’m looking at your wontons!!! Your Pho looks very delicious too :) Great job – as always. Cheers!

  16. Wonderful job, both your pho and your wontons are so appetizing. I love that you said phoking, I laughed out loud!

  17. Phok Yeah Girl! Looks great :) Love your wonton varieties. Hope you are feeling 100% better!

  18. Hehe Love it! Great post, beautiful photos, and awesome wontons =D. Hope you get over the cold soon (I just finished one myself) – not fun.

  19. Snickers wonton! I phoking love it haha. The chicken version sounds great, I’ll have to give it a go

  20. Oh, great job! I loved all your phoking comments (I so wanted to ladle my blog with them, but I tried to restrain myself…it was hard). I think your egg rolls rock my socks off. I want one.

  21. Wow the mini egg roll wontons sound amazing! Great pictures! :)

  22. Awwwesome as always!! I agree, this was phoking amazing and you’re right, it’s the penicillin for people who are allergic. I always have pho or something similar when I am not feeling well.

    PS, the wontons look great too!

  23. your pictures are breathtaking and all your food looks delicious.

  24. Hey Lisa Michele,

    I hope you are okay? Your Pho ga looks fab!! Tasty too!

  25. Oh… that looks gooooooooood! I wonton some Phod! Sorry… a bit lame, I know *blush*

    Looks fantastic as always :)

  26. Okay, first, you have some rockin’ photos here. Second, your snickers wontons are straight outta Martha Stewart and your pho derivatives crack me up, take it to the bridge!

  27. Really enjoyed this post! Pictures are amazing.

  28. Great job, as usual! And at least your wontons didn’t explode in the pan (like half of mine did). You should totally try the beef version though, you’ll love it!

  29. Lisa, that is one beautiful and great-color-coordinated bowl of Pho. Love love love it! And the wontons are crispy and scrumptious!


  30. Don’t count yourself out. You put out another top notch blog with absolutely delicious looking pho. I think I had the H1N1 and should have made the chicken. Would rather inject myself with your pho than the government innoculation.

    I also am having charred onion envy. Great work.

  31. Gorgeous photos. Who wouldn’t want to make this soup with all of that beautiful produce? I haven’t made the leap from Daring Bakers to Daring Cooks yet, but this challenge really makes me want to.

  32. Um, yea, that does look seriously delicious… and sorta healthy to boot! Nice job (fun post :) )

  33. This is a very healthy and delicious looking soup…
    and what not to like with all the flavours you used I bet you
    you was hungry from the aroma filling your kitchen.
    I like all kind of chicken soups they are healhty and comforting .

    like Your chocolate Wontons too.

  34. It sounds heavenly. Great pictures!

  35. Thanks Lisa for visiting my blog, so that I could discover yours! Lovely pics! And thanks for the warm welcome to the Daring Cooks.

  36. Hey your pictures is very nice too :) and the wontons look so beautiful, and apatasing ;)

  37. Thanks for the comments re: my pho! your’s looks delectable! I’m truly addicted to this soup now!

  38. Your pho is so clear and beautiful! I don’t think there is anything boring about Fried Snickers Nutella!

  39. It was an amazing soup. I have not had it before at a restaurant. I liked the flavors.

    Yours of course looks amazing. You always have such great photos!

  40. Wonderful pics of the ingredients and finished soup. I hope the Yankees end up as charred as the ginger and onion.

  41. Your soup is a work of art – congratulations! Those charred onions and ginger look awesome… Love the PB&J too!

  42. What a delicious soup. Such perfect soup is very welcome in my family.

  43. Thank you for your nice comment on my blog. I loved your Pho. It seems so delicious and the picture is awesome.Your won Tons are yummy. Well done!

  44. That looks great! Really and your chocolate wontons would have been snapped up in a second in this household :D

  45. Your photos are always so bright and cheery. I love ‘em! And, your PB&J egg-rolls sound delish.

  46. You Pho and wontons look Congrats, wish I was there to try them

  47. Your eggroll wontons are deadly! Please hide them. :) Everything looks so stunningly yummy. You’re the queen of the kitchen!

  48. now I wish I would have chosen red chilies! They look really pretty next to the herbs.

  49. Wow those look pho-nominal!!!

  50. Your pho look absolutely mouth watering…and the chocolate eggroll very yummie! What a combo! Great pictures as always :-)

  51. Everything about your pho soup looks phenomenal! I love the wonton dessert. Your pictures are beautiful too

  52. Wow, what an amazing post! I don’t even know where to begin … the laughs, the soup, the wantons?! All spectacular. I want a bowl of this for lunch and one of your snickers wantons for dessert … for phoking real! ;)

  53. The pho looks really good… but those wontons… I can’t get the chocolate ones out of my head! Brilliant idea to fry some snickers – they are already bad for your waistline anyway – why not just throw everything out of the door! I definitely would for this!

  54. I enjoyed reading your post. Also, I liked seeing your step-by-step photos of the pho. This was a cool challenge!

  55. Yummm! Pictures look amazing

  56. These photos are amazing and I love your fried wontons – too delicious for a Friday morning – makes me want to go and skip the rest of the day and just cook something tasty! :-)

  57. Wow I’m so behind on my blog stalking! Loved this post! I especially LOVED the dessert aspect-both wonton desserts looked and sounded amazing! You are so creative and you never disappoint! :)

  58. Drop dead gorgeous DC contribution! A nice way to start a meal, especially if it ends with those decadent wontons :)

  59. Lisa… Your pho and wontons look terrific! I’m sitting her and my stomach is growling just looking at the photos. Also, a wonderful write up with a lot of humor intertwined. I think the carnival food concessioners will steal your idea of snickers wontons and pbj wontons with chutney. Both sound decadent and delicious.

  60. Lisa your pho and wontons look amazing.

  61. I have a serious weakness for Vietnamese soups. This one looks spectacular. Just perfect really any time of year – even summer with that refreshing lime.

    Are you doing the DB challenge this month?

  62. Where is your Daring Bakers’ post? I’m dying with anticipation… :)

  63. same question, when can we see your macarons? ‘Love your pho and wontons :)

  64. […] of going stir-crazy with the stuff. As for miracle cures for the flu, I’ll stick with pho ga as my reigning champion on that front for […]

  65. I don’t care what ails ya’, this looks to be a fix to me!

  66. Hello this is just a random topic. No worries!

  67. Hello all,

    My name is Billy, I just wanted to introduce myself since I am new to this site…

    I am new to the internet but I am learning alot real quick!

    I’m a Hair Stylist and devoted father.

    The things I love most in life are family, friends and nascar.

    On week days you’ll usually find me being lazy. On the weekends I like to party and watch nascar.

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  68. Hi, greetings from Spain.

    I saw this forum in Bing and it looks marvelous.

    First of all I want to introduce myself and say hello.

    As a christmas present I wish to offer one of my recipes to you
    You can read it here:

    Enjoy and get back to me and tell me what you think of it.

    All the best,


  69. Good post.
    we need to realize that health is the most precious treasure. Therefore we must always guard it, by paying attention to diet and exercise regularly. With what I’ve read more I’d know how to make this body to remain healthy. Visit my page so we can exchange information about the health of the body.

  70. Love this soup! I need a good flu remedy.

  71. This looks fantastic and is something I have always wanted to make!

    • I really hope you do try it…it is fabulous! I wish I had some now!

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