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Easy and Tasty Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe (Bo Kho)

Updated on March 25, 2013
Bo Kho
Bo Kho | Source

Bo Kho

Beef stew is popular in the world cuisines. Every cuisines have different style of this comfort food such as nikujaga (Japanese), semur and rendang (Indonesian), mechado (Philippines), beef goulash (Hungarian), stoofvlees (Belgian), bo kho (Vietnamese), etc. Bo kho is popular beef stew from Vietnam.

Bo kho is beef simmered in spices and carrots. Commonly is served for breakfast over rice noodles or steamed rice or with French bread. This highly popular stew has a lot of recipe versions. Some call for curry powder, tomato paste, garlic, cinnamon, coriander, annatto seeds and other spices. This will depend on the cook personal preference and cultural background.

This stew is easy to make. If you like spicy food, then you will love bo kho. You can add more vegetables according to your liking such as potato. For long slow simmer beef stew, use least tender cut or low cost beef with some marbling to get flavorful, tender, moist and juicy meat. . Here is my simple Vietnamese beef stew recipe (bo kho). It's perfect to warm up cold rainy day or any occasion

What You Need for Fixing Bo Kho


1 1/4 tbsp five spice powder

2 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomato or crushed tomato

1 1/2 lbs lean beef chuck cubes (1 1/2 - 2-inch)

2 - 3 tbsp vegetable oil

1 stalk lemongrass, trimmed, cut in half and smash it with pestle

3 cups water

2 tbsp minced ginger

2 tbsp brown sugar

2 bay leaf

1 onion, finely chopped

2-3 star anise

5 carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch lengths

3 tbsp chopped Vietnamese coriander or Thai basil

How to fix Bo Kho

  1. In a large bow, mix five spice powder,fish sauce, beef cubes, lemongrass, ginger, brown sugar, and  bay leave.  Marinate beef cubes in this marinade mixture for 30 minutes. Set aside.
  2. Heat vegetable oil in a large pot until hot.  Add in beef cubes and sear on all the sides then remove and place it in a plate.  Discard the marinade liquid but reserve the bay leaf and lemongrass. Set aside.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium-low and add in onion. Cook about 5 minutes or until soft and aromatic. Then add salt and tomato and stir it to mix it well. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the mixture has turned into a rough paste and fragrant.
  4. When the mixture has turned into paste, add the beef, lemongrass, star anise, bay leaf and continue to stir and cook for another 5 minutes.  This process will allow the flavors and aroma penetrate into the beef. Then add water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Cook in low simmer about 1 hour or until the beef is 75% to 80% tender.
  5. Add carrots and continue to simmer, uncovered, for about 30 minutes or until the beef and carrots are tender.  Remove from the heat and transfer to serving dish. Do not forget to remove and discard bay leaf, star anise and lemongrass. Serve it over steamed rice or rice noodles. Garnish with Vietnamese coriander. 

Cooking Bo Kho with More Spices


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    • jojokaya profile imageAUTHOR


      7 years ago from USA


    • toknowinfo profile image


      7 years ago

      Very interesting and truly something different. Thanks for sharing this recipe. Rated up and useful.


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