1 onion, skin on, halved
4cm (2 inch) piece of ginger, skin on, halved
1 cinnamon stick
3 whole star anise
1 whole chicken
2 tsp sea salt, plus extra to taste
2 tbsp fish sauce, plus extra to taste
400g (14 oz) dried rice stick noodles
½ onion, finely sliced
¼ cup finely sliced spring onion (scallion)
Thai basil leaves (substitute Italian basil if unavailable)
sliced red chilli
Dry-roast the onion and ginger in a frying pan over high heat. Cook until the onion starts to blacken in some spots and the ginger is fragrant and starting to colour. Add the cinnamon stick and star anise and cook for a further minute or until fragrant. Remove from heat and set aside.
Place the chicken in a large pot. Cover with water and place over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, ginger, spices, salt and fish sauce. Bring to a gentle simmer. Use a ladle to scoop out and discard any foamy scum that rises to the surface. Then reduce the heat to low and gently simmer for one hour, removing the foam from time to time. Remove the chicken from the broth and place on a cutting board. You can test if the chicken is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thigh. The juices should run clear. If not, place the chicken back into the simmering broth and cook for another 15 minutes. When the chicken is cooked, sliced the meat and discard the bones. Set aside until ready to serve.
Strain the broth and pour it back into a clean saucepan over medium-high heat. Taste and season with extra salt and fish sauce (the amount of seasoning will depend on the amount of water you needed at the start). I find at least 1 teaspoon of each is usually needed for the best flavour.
To serve, cook the noodles in boiling water until tender and divide among serving bowls. Top with the chicken meat and slices of onion. Ladle over the hot broth. Add spring onion and bean shoots. Serve with basil leaves, lime wedges and chilli slices.