This post is sponsored by The Beef Checkoff in conjunction with a social media campaign through Sunday Supper LLC. All opinions are my own.
I have fond memories of my mother’s bò kho, a Vietnamese style beef stew. My mother made this stew year round, but I crave it when the weather turns cool. My parents were on a tight budget so the stew stretched the beef with potatoes and carrots. Even after I ate all the beef pieces in my bowl, there was still the vegetables and rich broth. If you’ve only had American or French style beef stew, you’re missing out. The broth has so many layers of flavor due to the lemongrass, star anise, ginger, and other aromatics.
I haven’t eaten a bowl of bò kho in many years, but it’s time to introduce this comfort food dish to my family. There are many variations, but this is my interpretation of my mother’s recipe. She usually serves the stew with warm French bread or over rice noodles. Most Vietnamese eat the beef stew for breakfast. As for me, I’m happy to eat this hearty, healthy stew any time of day.
This Vietnamese beef stew bò kho recipe takes a bit of time to make, but it’s totally worth it. You’ll have a pot large enough for leftovers and your home will smell amazing!
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- 2 to 2 ½ pounds stew cut beef or boneless beef chuck cut into 1½-inch chunks
- 3 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 T minced fresh ginger (about 3” knob)
- 2 ½ tsp Chinese five-spice powder
- 1 ½ tsp brown sugar
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 3 T fish sauce
- 3 T canola oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 T tomato paste
- 3 stalks lemongrass cut into 3-inch lengths
- 2 whole star anise
- 3 cups of coconut juice (or coconut water)
- 3 cups of water
- 4 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves or Thai basil
- French bread or rice noodles (cooked according package directions)
- In a small bowl set aside 1 tsp five-spice powder, 1 clove minced garlic, 1 tsp ground black pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine beef, fish sauce, 2 cloves minced garlic, ginger, 1 ½ tsp five-spice powder, and 1 ½ tsp brown sugar. Toss to evenly coat and set aside to marinate for 30 minutes while you peel and chop carrots and potatoes.
- In a 5-quart Dutch oven, heat over high heat until it shimmers. Brown the beef on all sides by working in small batches: add enough beef to cover the bottom without any overlap. Transfer to a plate before browning the next batch.
- Lower the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook until fragrant and soft, making sure to stir and scrape up the brown beef bits (approx 5 minutes). Add the tomato paste and stir into onions. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Add the reserved spice mix from seep #1, lemongrass talks, and star anise. Stir and let it cook uncovered until you can smell all the spices, about 5 minutes. Return the beef to the pot and add coconut juice and water.
- Bring pot back to a boil, then cover and lower heat. Simmer for about an hour or until the beef is chewy and tender but not falling apart.
- Add carrots and potatoes. Return to a simmer and cook uncovered until vegetables and beef are tender, about 30 minutes. Taste and add salt or fish sauce as needed.
- To serve, remove the lemongrass and star anise. Spoon into bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro or Thai basil. Serve with warmed French bread. Alternately, spoon over cooked rice noodles (instead of bread).
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