Broths make the best spring soups – they’re light enough to remind us that summer days are coming, yet warming enough to chase off any chilly spring blues. The warming notes of star anise and the filling noodles make this broth deceptively satisfying.
2 whole star anise
1 piece cassia bark
4 whole green cardamom pods
3 black cardamom pods (optional)
1 litre chicken stock
300 grams rice stick noodles
1 carrot, finely diced
1 small fennel bulb, finely sliced into rings, fronds reserved
1 cup shelled broad beans
1 teaspoon roughly chopped dill
1 teaspoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
1 spring onion, thinly sliced
zest and juice of one lemon
Put the star anise, cassia bark, green and black cardamom pods and the chicken stock in a saucepan. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 15 minutes. This can be done in advance.
When ready to serve, season the broth and bring back to the boil. Add the noodles and simmer for 7 minutes then add the carrot, fennel and broad beans. Simmer uncovered for 3-5 minutes. The vegetables should be vibrant but still crisp and the noodles cooked through.
To serve: Divide the noodles between four bowls. Ladle over the broth and vegetables. Top with a pile of herbs and spring onions and sprinkle each with lemon zest and juice.
Pantry note: Star anise, cassia bark and green and black cardamom pods can be found in Asian and specialty stores.