Vietnamese Tomato-y Beef Stew: Bo Kho

We blog about this recipe here.

Vietnamese Tomato-y Beef Stew: Bo Kho

What a wonderfully-unique flavor.  The broth is to die for.  FYI Andrea Nguyen’s original recipe, which I’ve adapted, has you cook the crushed tomatoes to form a paste – but to speed the process up, I just used the tomatoes as they come from the can.  You might serve the stew over rice noodles or rice.  Or with French bread which can be dipped into the broth. Clearly, the influence of the French is noteworthy.

  • about 2 lbs boneless beef chuck, trimmed of fat, and cut into 1-1/2-inch chunks
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, loose leaves discarded, cut into 3-inch lengths, and bruised with the broad side of a cleaver or chef’s knife
  • 3 T fish sauce
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 1/2 T peeled and minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 T canola oil
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 can (14 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 star anise
  • 3 c water (or coconut water – not coconut milk – if you have it)
  • 1 lb carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1/4 c chopped Thai basil leaves (optional)
  • rice noodles or rice or French bread to accompany the stew

In a bowl, combine the beef, lemongrass, fish sauce, five-spice powder, ginger, brown sugar, and bay leaf. Mix well to coat the beef evenly. Set aside to marinate for 30 minutes.

In a heavy-bottomed 5-quart Dutch oven, heat the oil over high heat.  Add half the beef and sear on all sides, then transfer to a plate.  Do the same with the remaining beef, then put all of the beef cubes back in the pan.

Lower the heat to medium-low, add the onion, and cook gently, stirring until soft. Add the tomatoes, salt, star anise, and water;  stir to combine, then bring to a boil,  lower the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 1-1/4 hours, or until the beef is almost tender.

Add the carrots and return the stew to a simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 30 minutes, or until the carrots and beef are tender.

Transfer the stew to a serving dish, removing and discarding the lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise. Garnish with the Thai basil and serve with your choice of noodles, rice, or French bread.

Recipe brought to you by and Andy and Ann.


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