10 cups rich vegetable stock
2 tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce, comes in a jar or bottle
2 star anise seeds (optional)
1 package vermicelli, this is a rice noodle I get at the Asian grocery in Cedar Rapids called Saigon Market on 2nd Ave near the new fire station, they are very helpful for any questions you might have
1 1/2 cup bean sprouts, make sure you look for the freshest container, dates should be posted
6 green onions
1/2 bunch cilantro, try growing some in the kitchen!
1 pound local farm raised chicken breast
1 cup basil leaves, grow these at home too
4 serrano chilies
Additional fish sauce
Sriracha or other Asian chili sauce
Bring stock to a boil in a large stock pot with the juice of 3 of the limes, fish sauce, and star anise if using. Let stock boil for 15 minutes.
In a separate pot, bring water to a boil and cook noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles. While noodles are cooking and stock is heating, prep the condiments. Slice green onions on a long diagonal. Roughly chop cilantro. Slice chicken into as thin a slice as possible with a very sharp knife. Rinse basil, dry, and put on platter for service. Slice remaining limes and arrange next to basil on serving platter. Thinly slice chilies and arrange on serving platter.
Place platter on table with fish sauce and chili sauce. Serve noodles into bowls. On top of noodles, divide evenly the bean sprouts, sliced green onions and cilantro. Top herbs with chicken. Remove star anise from stock. Ladle hot stock over each bowl of noodles and chicken. This should cook the chicken due to the temperature and the thin slices. If you prefer cooking before this step you can put it into it's own pot of bowling water then add to this bowl with noodles. Serve immediately.
Allow each person to season bowl to taste with additional lime juice, basil, sliced chilies, fish sauce and chili sauce.