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Daring Cooks: Pho Ga and Red Velvet Cheesecake Wontons!

Pho Ga from Steamy Kitchen
Pho Ga … recipe from Steamy Kitchen

 

After reading the Daring Cooks October challenge … I found myself wondering how I was going to make a dish that I had never tasted …  a dish that had ingredients I had never cooked with.  When “reading” recipes, I can normally  “taste” what they are about based upon the ingredients.  But not so with this recipe.  My plan was two-fold … consult the Internet to find information and consult with friends to find Pho!
 

Phở

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Phở is served in a bowl with white rice noodles in clear beef broth, with thin cuts of beef (steak, fatty flank, lean flank, brisket).  Variations feature tendon, tripe, meatballs, chicken leg, chicken breast, or other chicken organs.
  
OK … OK … so far I can relate to Pho … noodles, clear broth, beef, chicken.  I was doing just fine til I read the following:
 
Secret ingredients
In traditional phở, sá sùng (Sipunculus nudus, a species of peanut worm) is added to the broth to sweeten it.  Another scarce ingredient is cà cuống, a pheromone extract from the giant water bug of the same name in Vietnamese (Lethocerus indicus), which is spicy and aromatic. People add cà cuống oil extract to their bowl of phở.
 
TMR … TOO MUCH RESEARCH … time to stop!  (I admit I did go back to the recipe given us by Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen and was relieved to confirm that it called for no “secret ingredients”.)
 
Part one of the plan complete … next I was on to the fun part … finding Pho!   Finding  Pho was not hard … everyone I asked raved about the same restaurant called Vietnam Cafe.   It is here that I came face-to face with my first bowl of Pho Ga.   The soup was very fragrant and the broth tasted of the perfect blend of exotic spices … well exotic to me.    Pho had me at first bite!  Now to make it at home!
 
Jaden of Steamy Kitchen challenged us to make Pho.  We could choose to make the quicker version found in her new cookbook  The Steamy Kitchen or if we felt quite “daring” we could make the longer version from a recipe on her blog.  I chose the more daring version!
Jaden says a secret to making great Pho is toasting the spices and charring the onion and ginger used in the broth.

Jaden says a secret to making great Pho is toasting the spices and charring the onion and ginger used in the broth.

A secret in making the longer version is pre-boiling the chicken for about 5 minutes to get rid of "scum and stuff".

A secret in making the longer version is pre-boiling the chicken for about 5 minutes to get rid of "scum and stuff".

Simmering Pho ... smells wonderful.

Simmering Pho ... smells wonderful.

Pho is served with rice noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro tops, basil, shaved onions, lime wedges, sliced chili, Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce.

Pho is served with rice noodles, bean sprouts, cilantro tops, basil, shaved onions, lime wedges, sliced chili, Sriracha hot sauce and Hoisin sauce.

Pho Ga
Pho Ga

  

RED  VELVET  CHEESECAKE  WONTONS

Red velvet cake, cheesecake filling in a wonton with cream cheese icing for dipping!
Red velvet cake, cheesecake filling in a wonton with cream cheese icing for dipping!

Equipment:
• Small bowl
• Pastry brush
• Plastic wrap and/or damp paper towels
• Wok or medium-sized pot
• Frying thermometer (if you don’t have a thermometer, you can test the oil temperature by dropping in a cube of bread … if it browns quickly, the oil is ready)

Preparation time: 15 minutes + 15 minutes cooking time (for 12 wontons)

Ingredients:
1 large egg
1 tbsp. water
24 wonton wrappers, defrosted (keep wrappers covered with damp towel)
12 circles of red velvet cake   ( I used a 1 and 3/4 inch round cookie cutter.)
Philadelphia Ready-to-Eat Cheesecake Filling
High-heat oil for frying (i.e., vegetable oil, corn oil)
Confectioners’ sugar (icing sugar) for sprinkling

Directions:

1.  In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to make an egg wash.
2.  On a clean, dry surface lay wonton wrappers
3.  Place 1 round of red velvet cake and a dollop of cheesecake filling in the middle of each wonton.
4.  Brush a very thin layer of the egg wash on the edges of the wrapper. 

The first step in the assembly process.

The first step in the assembly process.

5.  Place a wonton on top of the bottom one and gently press to remove all air from the edges. Use a round cookie cutter to create a finished wonton.  Press the edges to adhere the sides if you find any that have come “unglued”.
Make sure the wrapper is sealed completely.

Ready to cut into the final round shape.
Ready to cut into the final round shape.

6.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers.
7.  Keep the 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  wontons into the hot oil. Make sure you don’t crowd the  wontons.
10. Fry the wontons for 1 ½ minutes, then flip over and fry another minute until both sides are golden brown and crisp.

Red Velvet Cheesecake Wontons with cream cheese icing for dipping!
Red Velvet Cheesecake Wontons with cream cheese icing for dipping!
Make you favorite cream cheese icing recipe adding a bit more liquid to make it creamy like a dip.
Make you favorite cream cheese icing recipe adding a bit more liquid to make it creamy like a dip.

THANK YOU JADEN FOR THE INTRODUCTION TO VIETNAMESE CUISINE.

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.

15 Responses

  1. omg what a GREAT idea! red velvet wontons!!!!

  2. Love love love the red velvet cheese wontons. Creative and delicious! Thanks for sharing :-)

    Regards
    Kris

  3. Can I pretty please come over and have some of those wontons? What an awesome idea!

  4. I love your wontons! So creative! Your research made me laugh. :) Great job on the challenge!

  5. Those wontons are amazing! The colour is just stunning!

  6. Wow!
    I saw your post over at the Daring Kitchen.
    Red Velvet Wontons?
    That has to be the best idea EVER!!

  7. Your pho looks scrumptious. And those wontons — wonderfully inventive. They look deliriously good!

  8. Wow! I’m sorta glad I didn’t research the pho as much but yours looks wonderful! Also, your red velvet cake wontons blow my mind, I would have never thought to put cake inside there. YUM!!

  9. Red Velvet Wontons? Oh my goodness. They sound like perfection! Yum =D.

  10. omggggoodness, you get my vote for most creative wontons! i would die for one of them right now. Great job on the challenge and the pho too.

  11. OK, your Pho turned out lovely and delicious looking..great photos too..BUT MY GOD, Red velvet cheesecake wontons??? I just died and went to heaven, debb!!! I must have some of those!

  12. Your step by step photos of Pho are great, but I am dying here over your velvet wontons. What a great idea you had! I would love to try one of those!

  13. Okay, folks, I have to say the red velvet cheesecake wontons are to die for! My wonderful sister and blog queen, Debbie, delivered one to me for tasting … during a rain storm no less. I stood in the driveway in my pajamas devouring one of these gems. Just like Lay’s potato chips, you can’t eat just one!

  14. Deep fried red velvet cake with frosting to dip?!!! You are a culinary Wizard! Where is your cake slice cake?

  15. Came across your blog and thought the Red Velvet Wontons looked AMAZING! My husband would LOVE these! I think I’ll try these tomorrow night. Thanks!

    Lisa

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