Simple Pho (Vietnamese noodle soup)

• 3/4-inch (2 cm) section ginger 

• 2 medium-large green onions 

• 1 very small (15 g) bunch cilantro sprigs 

• 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds 

• 1 whole clove 

• 3 1/2 to 4 cups (840 ml to 1 L) low-sodium chicken broth 

• 2 cups (480 ml) water 

• 6 to 8 ounces (180 to 225 g) boneless, skinless chicken breast or thighs 

• About 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt 

• 5 ounces (150 g) dried narrow flat rice noodles 

• 2 to 3 teaspoons fish sauce 

• About 1/2 teaspoon organic sugar, or 1 teaspoon maple syrup (optional) 

• Pepper (optional) 

• Optional extras: Bean sprouts, mint sprigs, Thai basil, cilantro leaves, lime wedges, thinly-sliced chili peppers

Prepare the broth ingredients: 

1. Peel then slice the ginger into 4 or 5 coins. Smack with the flat side of a knife or meat mallet; set aside.
2. Thinly slice the green parts of the green onion to yield 2 to 3 tablespoons; set aside for garnish.
3. Cut the leftover sections into pinkie-finger lengths, bruise, then add to the ginger. Coarsely chop the leafy tops of the cilantro to yield 2 tablespoons; set aside for garnish. Set the remaining cilantro sprigs aside.
4.Toast the broth ingredients: In a 3- to 4-quart (3 to 4 l) pot, toast the coriander seeds and clove over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the ginger and green onion sections. Stir for about 30 seconds, until aromatic. Add the broth and bring to a simmer: Slide the pot off heat, wait 15 seconds or so to briefly cool, then pour in the broth.
5. Return the pot to the burner, then add the water, cilantro sprigs, chicken, and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then lower the heat to gently simmer. Remove the chicken from the broth once cooked.
6. After 5 to 10 minutes of simmering, the chicken should be firm and cooked through (press on it and it should slightly yield).

7. Simmer the broth: Continue to simmer the broth without the chicken for another 15 to 20 minutes (for a total of 30 minutes simmering time). Shred the chicken: Transfer the chicken to a bowl, flush with cold water to arrest the cooking, then drain. Let cool, then cut or shred into bite-size pieces. Cover loosely to prevent drying.

8. Soak the rice noodles: Soak the rice noodles in hot water until pliable and opaque. Drain, rinse, and set aside. Strain the broth: When the broth is done, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer positioned over a 2-quart (2-liter) pot; line the strainer with muslin for superclear broth. Discard the solids. You should have about 4 cups. Season with fish sauce and sugar (or maple syrup), if needed, to create a strong savory-sweet note.