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Delicious Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo Kho)

Updated: Apr 17, 2020

Today’s recipe is Bo Kho, it is a fragrant Vietnamese beef stew. The beef is stewed in aromatic spices, vegetables, and then brightened with the fresh taste of herbs and lime juice.


Mushroom seasoning is made of mushroom powder, salt, and mushroom extract. I opt to use this instead of Chicken Bouillon Powder because I prefer not to use MSG in my cooking if I can. The Mushroom Seasoning was purchased at a Southeast Asian market in Vancouver British Columbia called 88 Supermarket, but it can also be found at large Asian grocers. There are many different manufacturers for this seasoning.


Vietnamese Beef Stew - Bo Kho


2 1/2 lbs Beef Finger Meat (Brisket, Stew Meat, Shank, Digital Muscle, Tendon, etc), cut into 1.5 inch cubes 2 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil 2 Teaspoon Annatto Powder or Paprika 2-inch knob of Ginger, cut into slices 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed 2 Shallots, minced 1 Tablespoon Mushroom Seasoning or Chicken Essence 32 oz of Water 1 Can Coco Rico (Substitute 12 oz Water & 1 tablespoon Cane Sugar) 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce 3 Medium Carrots, cut into 2-inch chunks

Marinade: 3 Clove Garlic, crushed 2 Tablespoon Lemongrass, minced 1 Shallot, minced 1 Tablespoon Paprika 1/2 Teaspoon Red Chili Powder 2 Teaspoon Five Spice 1 Teaspoon Ground Black Pepper 1 Teaspoon Sugar 1 Tablespoon Fish Sauce 1 Tablespoon Grapeseed Oil

Spice Bag: 2 Stalk of Lemongrass (white end bruised) 2 Bay Leaves 3” Piece Cinnamon Stick 3 Cloves 3-4 Star Anise Seeds

Suggested Accompaniments: Thai Basil Green Onions Cilantro Lime/Lemon, French Baguette, Rice Noodles, Rice Jalapenos Red Thai Chili


  1. Place the meat in a large pot with enough water to cover the meat. Let boil for about 10 minutes. Drain and rinse the meat under cold water to rid of the impurities. Clean the large pot.

  2. In a large bowl mix the parboiled meat together with the marinade ingredients (garlic, lemongrass, shallots, paprika, red chili powder, five spice, ground pepper, sugar, fish sauce, and grapeseed oil) and let it marinate for at least 1 hour or overnight.

  3. In a clean large dry pot over medium-low heat, add the bay leaves, cinnamon, cloves, and star anise shake the pan occasionally to prevent burning. The spices are toasted when you can smell their aroma, about 2 minutes. Transfer them immediately to the spice bag. Make sure to add the bruised lemongrass to the spice bag as well. Set aside.

  4. In the same pot over medium-low heat, add the 2 tablespoon of grapeseed oil and the 2 teaspoon of ground annatto, stir to combine. The powder will turn the oil to a bright red, for about a minute.

  5. Turn up the heat to medium-high heat. Next add the ginger, stir until you can smell the aroma (about 1 minute).

  6. Add the garlic and shallots to the pot. Saute for 2 minutes.

  7. Add the marinated beef and stir to cook for about 3 minutes.

  8. Add the mushroom seasoning, water, coco rico soda, and fish sauce to the pot. Stir and make sure you drag the spoon on the bottom of the pot to remove the caramelized goodness on the bottom.

  9. Bring to a boil, then add the spice bag and carrots. Lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 2 hours on low heat.

  10. After simmering 2 hours, remove the spice bag. Then taste the stew and season with salt, pepper, sugar, and fish sauce to your taste.

Serve with any of the following * baked French baguettes that you can dip into the stew

* stew on top of some freshly cooked rice vermicelli

* stew on top of some freshly cooked rice


#beefstew #vietnamese

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