Thursday, 5 April 2007

Herb Blogging - Easy New-and-Improved Chicken Broth with star anise

I swear I must have come across this before while I was living in Vietnam. Thing is, I never cooked when I was in Vietnam. Yep, I was a spoilt-rotten kid who never had to lift a finger in the kitchen. I did enjoyed helping out in the kitchen but I didn't pay much attention to my mum's cooking and thus, at the age of 20-something, I still am a novice cook who struggle to do basic food when my mum at the same age was more than competent in doing elaborated food.
Anyway, back to the main story. I discovered these little stars when I was browsing in a Chinese supermarket last week. I picked a bag of star anises up and gave it a sniff. It was definitely familiar, I just couldn't make out what it was or where I had seen it before. I rang my mum and found out that star anise is one of the essential ingredient that made up the gorgeous, fragrant smell of the broth in pho
So a few days ago I decided to make my own chicken broth using star anise and a few more ingredients. I have never attempted to make chicken broth before due to my laziness and my tendency to rely on chicken stock cubes.
It is by no means the best chicken stock but the star anise does enhance the smell and flavour immensely and most importantly, it is incredibly easy to make.
So here is my very own new-and-improved chicken stock recipe:
1 chicken carcass
1 turnip
1 onion
1 carrot
1 bayleaf
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised with a cleaver
2-3 star anise
5 black peppercorns
fish sauce to taste
Put all ingredients in a deep pan and pour enough water to cover the chicken carcass. Bring to the boil, skim all the brown bits that float on tops and turn heat down. Leave everything to simmer for at least 2 hours, skim off fat and brown bits occasionally.
I normally pour 2tbsp of fish sauce to taste as well at the end of the cooking process.
This chicken stock is easy enough for me to follow and the star anise definitely makes the broth much more fragrant than normal.
The more I know about herbs, the more I love them :D


simcooks said...

I also never lifted a finger in the kitchen back in Singapore. One spoilt rotten kid meets another :)

Hedgehog said...

haha join the club. Only joking. Your cooking has improved a lot since then I suppose

Anh said...

I'm so glad to find another fellow Vietnamese food blogger! *hug* Yeah, I know what you mean by being spoilt! kekeke. But by cooking everyday, your cooking skills will improve very quickly, rite?

And I adore star anise! Unnderstand completely how passionate we are about that pho broth, too. :D

Hedgehog said...

Anh: thank you. I haven't met a vietnamese who doesn't adore pho :D

Kalyn said...

Chicken broth is a wonderful thing to make to give your food more flavor! I love knowing about the star anise; never cooked with it at all before.

Susan said...

Pho is fantastic. I made it from scratch with a Christmas leftover beef roast with bone and fat on it. I had the long list of ingredients on hand, including the star anise. It truly is a glorious soup.

Wokking Mum said...

1st visit here!
I had never tried Vietnamese food before. I make this next week!