Quarter onions and halve cloves of garlic, blacken cut sides at high heat without oil for a few minutes at the bottom of a large stock pot. Place dried spices and lemon grass in a food grade muslin bag. Reduce heat to low and add water, kombu, spice bag, cilantro stems, cinnamon sticks, and dried mushrooms to the stock pot. Let simmer for two to four hours. Add soy sauce to taste after stock has simmered for some time.
Sear all sides of seasoned tofu in a dry non-stick pan. Slice tofu into quarter inch pieces. Thinly slice radishes. Cut limes into quarters.
Remove stock from heat, strain well, reserve mushrooms. Return strained stock to a boil, add dried rice noodles and cook as per package instructions.
To plate, place a serving of noodles into each bowl, fill each with a liberal amount of broth. Place mushrooms, sprouts, radish slices, cilantro, tofu, mint, and basil in each bowl to garnish. Enjoy
Kombu, or dried kelp to the rest of us, is used as a base for many Japanese soups. Found at Asian markets or better grocery stores, this kelp adds a great wholesome richness to broths and a great deep but mild flavor as well. Plus it is easy to use, just crack of a piece and soak in boiling water, you’ll have the base for a great broth in no time.