In a 2-quart pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat, then saute the ginger and garlic just until fragrant, about a minute. Add the stock, anise, cinnamon, peppercorns and fish sauce. Bring to a simmer and lower heat to keep it at a gentle bubble. Cook for 20 minutes. The stock will reduce to about 7 cups.
While the stock simmers, chop the bok choy, prep the shrimp, and have all the vegetables in separate piles on a plate. Cook the noodles, and divide them between six wide soup bowls. Arrange the tofu and bean sprouts on top of the noodles
When the stock is ready, strain it, taste for salt, adding more fish sauce if you think it needs it, and bring it to a boil. When you're ready to serve, simmer shrimp, bok choy and carrot in the stock until cooked, about 3 minutes, then ladle the hot soup over the noodles, tofu and sprouts. Sprinkle with scallions, and serve with lime slices.
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