Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chicken Pho and Malteser Wantons!

I I was very happy when I saw this month's Daring Cooks' challenge was Pho, the traditional Vietnamese soup. And not just because, there was no dismembering of squid or cuttlefish required. Firstly the recipe comes from Jaden of Steamy Kitchen fame. Jaden has a blog that never ceases to entertain me: great recipes, beautiful photos and a side-gig as an ambassador for Club Med which involves flying from one glamour location to another. I guess someone has to do it.

I was also happy because this recipe fits in perfectly with the super-healthy eating that I have trying (sometimes sort of) to do since my return from the health retreat. Nothing more than clear soup, rice noodles, some vegies and loads of flavour in direct correlation with the absence of calories. It is also a pretty easy soup to make. You start with a whole chicken that you chop into pieces with a cleaver, exposing bone and marrow. My cleaver skills could do with a little work - getting a nice clean cut through bones is a little trickier than it looks, and my kitchen did look a little like it was being styled for a Texas Chain Saw tribute night. No matter. Parboil the butchered pieces, rinse them off and pop into a pot, with a charred onion and some ginger, and spices. Bring to the boil then let it cook on low for 1 1/2 hours. Serve with the classic additions of lime slices, red onion, bean sprouts, chillies and some of the shredded chicken.
Unfortunately the reviews in my kitchen were a little mixed. The kids thought the soup was lacking in flavour, possibly because they are more used to thick soups with garlic in the base, possibly because they refused to add any of the options apart from some chicken. However both the husband and I enjoyed it, with chilli, some extra fish sauce, the bean sprouts, lime onion plus for me, loads of coriander. The recipe is here on Jaden's blog if you are interested in daring yourself this month.

And now for some fun! Part Two of Jaden's challenge was a wonton dessert (which I kept thinking of as a wanton dessert, since the best desserts are all a little wanton). I decided, after a little experimenting to go with Malteser wontons. For those of you who don't get maltesers in your part of the world, they are honeycomb balls coated in chocolate. Three balls wrapped up very neatly into a wonton wrapper, and these received a big thumbs up from all the family. The crunchy pastry filled with melted chocolate and some more crunch from the honeycomb was a real winner. In fact I'm heading downstairs to make the rest now! These are a keeper.
Malteser Wantons
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
12 wonton wrappers (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
36 Maltesers
Oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
Icing sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling

Directions:In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash. On a clean, dry surface lay 1 wonton wrapper down with a point toward you, like a diamond. Place 3 Maltesers of chocolate near the bottom end of the wrapper. Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper. Fold the bottom corner of the wrapper up over the maltesers, then fold in the sides and roll up to make a little parcel. Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely. Repeat with the remaining wrappers and Maltesers. Keep the folded chocolate wontons covered under plastic wrap or a damp paper towel to prevent them from drying. In a wok or medium pot, pour in 2 inches (5 cm.) of high-heat oil. 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. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute or until both sides are golden brown and crisp. (Mine cooked faster than this).


Rosemary & Garlic said...

Saw the malted milk balls, my husband would have really enjoyed them. They are his favorite candy.

Shelly W said...

It all looks so good! Maltesers (Whoppers as they're known here) are one of my favorite candies, so I'd be all over them.

Foodie with Little Thyme! said...

I'll be making those wantons right after Halloween! The soup sounds wonderful to me.

Lauren said...

Everything looks wonderful! Great job on this challenge =D.

Debinhawaii said...

Gorgeous! I love pho and the wanton won tons too! Looks like a fun dinner!

Lisa Michelle said...

Susie, your Pho turned out beautiful, and the PHotos are great, but those malteser wontons have stolen my palate! I love malted milk balls in any way, shape or form. Fantastic job!