Servings: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 whole chicken (3 to 3 1/2 pounds), rinsed, neck and gizzards removed
- 1 piece (6 inches) fresh ginger , unpeeled, cut into 1-inch segments
- 1 onion , unpeeled, cut into quarters
- 3 carrots , unpeeled, cut into thirds
- 3 stalks celery , cut in half
- 1 stalk lemongrass , leaves trimmed and base smashed
- 4 kaffir lime leaves (fresh or frozen)
- 1 serrano or bird chili
- 2 limes , halved
- 1 bunch cilantro stems (leaves reserved, for garnish)
- 2 tablespoons salt , plus more to taste
- Reserved cilantro leaves (about 1 cup)
- 1/2 cup finely diced red onion
- 2 small chilies , thinly sliced crosswise
- 2 limes , cut into small wedges
- 1 cup bean sprouts
Place chicken in a large pot; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce to a simmer. Add ginger and cook about 1 hour. Add remaining ingredients except salt; cook 3 more hours.
Remove broth from heat; let cool slightly. Set a fine-meshed strainer over a large bowl; pour broth through strainer and discard all solids except the chicken. When chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin. Using a fork, shred meat (watch out for stray bones). Season to taste with salt and arrange on a platter along with garnishes.
Reheat broth; season to taste with salt (this may take more than 2 tablespoons). To serve, instruct guests to place chicken and a little bit of each garnish in the bottom of their bowls; ladle hot broth on top.
Note: If you can't find kaffir lime leaves at your local market, try importfood.com.