Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Bò Kho is a Vietnamese beef stew that my mother made for us all the time growing up. Not as thick as American beef stew, it’s more like a hearty soup with carrots and spices.

  • Ingredients: ( for 4-6 servings)
-2.5 lbs. beef chuck, cut into 1.5 inch cubes

-2 tsp. annatto seeds

-1/4 cup of vegetable or peanut oil

-3 large cloves garlic, minced

-2 Tbl. tomato paste

-1 Tbl. Viet curry powder or 2 tsp. five spice powder

-2 hefty stalks of lemongrass (green upper part removed) - lightly bruised with the back of a knife or rolling pin

-3 star anise

-1 stick of Vietnamese cassia or regular cinnamon


-3 Tbl. fish sauce

-1 inch chunk of rock sugar or 2 tsp. raw sugar

-1 bay leaf

-10-12 small-medium shallots, peeled

-2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1.5 inch segments

-fresh cracked black pepper

-fresh cilantro (for garnish)
  • Directions:

-In a non-reactive pot or dutch oven, heat the oil on medium-high heat. Add the annatto seeds and cook them for about 4-5 minutes. Once the seeds have bled most of their oil/color, remove the pan from heat and discard the seeds, reserving the oil.

-Put the pot back on high heat and sear the meat on all sides. Do this in batches to avoid steaming the meat.

-Once all the meat has been seared, add the garlic and tomato paste to the pot. Use a wooden spoon or chopsticks to stir and cook for about 1 minute.

-Then, add the seared meat back into the pan along with the curry powder or five spice powder, lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon stick. Give it a good stir and add enough water to barely cover the meat (approx. 3-4 cups of water)

-Next, add the fish sauce, sugar and bay leaf.

-Lower the heat to medium and bring the pot to a gentle boil. At this point, take the heat down to low, loosely cover with a lid and cook for about 1 hour.

-Now, the meat should be somewhat tender but still have a “bite” to it. Add the carrots and shallots and cook (covered) for another hour or so on low (until the carrots and shallots are cooked through).

-Before serving, taste and adjust with fish sauce or sugar, if needed.

-Garnish with black pepper and cilantro.

-Serve with plenty of warm bread.

No comments: