4-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and halved lengthwise
4 cups vegetable stock or broth
4 cups water
2 tablespoons reduced-sodium tamari or soy sauce
one large handful rice noodles
1 tablespoon mild extra-virgin olive oil or your neutral-flavored oil of choice
5 ounces thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms (or any mushrooms you can find)
1 block of firm tofu cut into small squares
Mung bean sprouts
Sprigs of fresh coriander
Sprigs of fresh mint
Thinly sliced green onions (mostly green parts)
Very thinly sliced fresh chilli
Small wedges of lime
Warm a medium soup pot over medium heat. Add the cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise and toast until fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the onion, ginger, vegetable stock, water and tamari. Raise the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes to give the flavors time to meld.
In the meantime, prepare your rice noodles by cooking them according to package directions. Set them aside.
To prepare the mushrooms, warm the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and a few dashes of salt. Cook until the mushrooms are tender and lightly browned, about 4 to 6 minutes, then set them aside.
Once the broth is done cooking, strain out the onions, ginger and spices. Season it to taste with extra tamari and/or salt if needed.
Ladle the broth into bowls, add cooked noodles, tofu and mushrooms, and fresh garnishes to your heart’s content (don’t forget the lime!). Serve immediately, with chopsticks and soup spoons.