For the Broth:
- 2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
- A 4-inch piece of fresh ginger, unpeeled and sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, peeled and left whole
- Canola oil
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 5 cloves
- 6 star anise
- ½ teaspoon fennel seeds
- 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 8 cups water
- 1 (5-lb) whole chicken, quartered
- ¼ to ½ cup fish sauce
- 3 tablespoons dark brown sugar (or to taste)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
For Serving (mix and match to your preference):
- Cooked zucchini noodles (or rice noodles)
- The cooked chicken
- Soft-boiled eggs
- Additional herbs
- Bean sprouts
- Lightly chopped baby spinach
- Thinly sliced jalapeño peppers
- Lime wedges
- Hot sauce
For the Broth:
- Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place the onions, ginger, and garlic on the prepared sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, or until softened and caramelized in spots.
- Add a drizzle of canola oil to a large stock pot and heat over medium. Add the cinnamon stick, cloves, anise, fennel seeds, coriander seeds, and ground cardamom. Stirring constantly, heat up the spices until aromatic, about 1 minute.
- Add the roasted onion mixture and the water to the pot. Bring to a boil and then add in the quartered chicken. Reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Carefully remove the cooked chicken from the broth and place on a plate. After allowing it to cool slightly, remove the meat from the bones, shred or chop, and set aside.
- Return the chicken bones and skin to the pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
- Strain the broth into a second pot, discarding the roasted vegetables, spices, and chicken parts. Stir in the brown sugar and fish sauce and adjust the seasoning as necessary. Stir in the finely chopped herbs and keep the pot of stock warm over low heat until you are ready to serve.
- To each bowl, add some cooked zucchini/rice noodles and the cooked, shredded chicken. Pour the warm broth over top and garnish each bowl with the soft-boiled eggs and other desired add-ins.
- A handful of baby spinach, more herbs, some scallions, a slice or two of jalapeño, bean sprouts, and LOTS of lime juice spritzed over the top.