Separate out 1/4 of the mai fun noodles and break them in half; set remaining 3/4 of the noodles for the soup. (If you aren’t making the garnish, simply use all the noodles in the soup and skip to the soup directions).
Heat oil in a 6 to 8-quart pan over high heat until it reaches 400°F on a cooking thermometer. Adjust heat to keep oil at this temperature.
A handful at a time, add the noodles to the oil and cook just until they puff up and become crisp; this will only take a few seconds.
Use a metal slotted spoon to transfer the puffed noodles to a paper towel lined platter and set aside.
For soup: Cut ginger and jalapeño crosswise into thin slices.
With the flat part of a knife, lightly crush garlic cloves. In another 5 to 6-quart pan, combine ginger, jalapeño, garlic, broth, and remaining uncooked rice noodles over high heat.
Cover and bring to a boil, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes.
While broth simmers, cut chicken crosswise into thin slices.
After broth has simmered 10 minutes, add chicken and continue simmering until chicken is no longer pink in center (cut to test) and noodles are tender to bite, about 4 minutes.
Stir in basil and remove from heat.
If desired, remove garlic and ginger pieces before serving.
Divide soup between serving bowls and offer crispy noodle garnish.
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