1 quart homemade turkey or chicken stock, or store-bought no-sodium broth
Soy sauce, to taste
2 slices fresh ginger root, peeled
1 star anise
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 scallions, cut into two-inch lengths
Black pepper, to taste
6 oz rice vermicelli
6 oz flank steak
1/2 tsp fish sauce (I use this brand)
Several sprigs of fresh spearmint
Several springs of Thai basil
2 cups fresh mung bean sprouts
Sambal oelek or chili paste with garlic
Combine first 7 ingredients in a sauce pan, and simmer for 30 minutes.
While the soup is cooking, soak the noodles in warm water for 15-20 minutes. Put the flank steak in the freezer for 15 minutes, then remove and slice as thin as possible. Strain the soup, to remove the ginger, spices and scallions, and return the broth to the pot. Bring to a boil, and add the noodles. Cook for two minutes. Add the fish sauce and flank steak, stir, and turn off the heat. Distribute into serving bowls, and serve with a large platter of herbs, bean sprouts, lime wedges and sambal oelek, to be added to the soup according to the taste and whim of each diner.