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For the fortified broth:

  • 1 large onion, quartered

  • 1 bulb garlic, trimmed to expose the cloves, keep root attached

  • 3 inches peeled and halved ginger root

  • A spray of non-aerosol oil or olive oil

  • 3 star anise

  • 3 pods of cardamom

  • 3 cloves

  • 1 tablespoon coriander seed

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 1 large fresh bay leaf

  • 1 teaspoon white or black peppercorns

  • 2 quarts broth (for beef, use beef brodo or bone broth; for chicken, shrimp or pork, use chicken brodo or bone broth)

  • About 2½ tablespoons fish sauce

  • Juice of 1 lime

To serve:

  • Cook's choice of: 1½ pounds flank, boneless sirloin or rib eye, very thinly sliced; 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, very thinly sliced; 1 pork tenderloin, very thinly sliced; or 20 to 24 large shrimp, peeled, deveined and halved across the vein line

  • 1 pound thin rice noodles

  • Fine sea salt

  • 4 cups packed Thai mint (2 bunches, picked), Thai basil (2 bunches, picked) and cilantro (1 large bunch, picked)

  • 2 jalapeño or 3 serrano peppers for spicy, or Fresno chilies for milder, very thinly sliced

  • 1 package mung bean sprouts

  • 2 limes, cut into wedges

  • Hoisin and Sriracha or sambal oelek, to pass at table


Serves: 4

For the fortified broth, char onion, garlic and ginger under boiler. Place in soup pot.

Wrap star anise, cardamom, cloves, coriander, cinnamon, bay and peppercorns in cheesecloth or fill a large tea filter bag and tie off with kitchen string. Add to soup pot.

Add broth, fish sauce and lime juice to soup pot with 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 20 to 30 minutes at low, then strain and return to pot. Bring to a boil before serving.

To serve, place your protein of choice in freezer for a few minutes to firm for thin slicing.

Bring water to boil per package directions, cook noodles about 6 minutes, drain.

Line large bowls with a sprinkle of fine sea salt. To each bowl, add noodles to one side and sliced protein to the other, pour over boiling hot broth and add ¼ of the herbs off to the side and sprinkle over with chilies and sprouts, and add wedges of lime. Pass with sauces to mix in.