Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

Bo Kho 5

This week’s Mom’s 52 recipe is for a dish that is versatile enough to serve over rice, noodles, or with a side of French bread for dipping.  It can also be eaten as is, without any accompaniment at all.  Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew is a savory dish with a thinner sauce than American-style beef stew.  For the vegetables, choose any combination of root vegetables you prefer, such as carrots, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, or even more exotic varieties such as purple yams or taro root.

Bo Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew

INGREDIENTS – for 8 servings

*Dad requests chewier chunks of meat in his Bo Kho, so Mom mixes together beef shank and beef flank for her recipe.  For YOUR own version of Bo Kho, cater the beef to your liking, using a total of about 4 lbs. of meat.

For the Bo Kho beef marinade:

  • 2.5 lbs. of beef chuck roast OR drop flank/flank steak, cut into 2″ chunks*
  • 1.5 lbs. of beef shank, cut into 2″ chunks*
  • 1.5 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 3.5 Tbsp. “Gia Vi Nau Bo Kho” spice packet (see photo below)
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. soy sauce
  • 2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)

For the Bo Kho stew:

  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • 1 Tbsp. garlic, chopped
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 4″pieces (yields about 1 C.)
  • 6 C. hot water
  • 1 (12 oz.) can of Coco Rico coconut flavored soda
  • 1/2 Tbsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce)
  • 3 bay leaves
  • roughly 6 C. of your choice of root vegetables (i.e. carrots, potatoes, yams, sweet potatoes, etc.), cut into large 2″ chunks
  • 3 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • cilantro, for garnish

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STEP 1:  MARINATE THE BEEF FOR BO KHO

  1. In a large bowl, combine the marinade ingredients and mix well.  Marinate for at least 30 minutes.
"Gia Vi Nau Bau Kho" literally means "spices to cook Bo Kho" and is a combination of paprika, anise, chili, onion, ginger, and cloves.
“Gia Vi Nau Bau Kho” literally means “spices to cook Bo Kho” and is a combination of paprika, anise, chili, onion, ginger, and cloves.
Marinate the beef for Bo Kho for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor.
Marinate the beef for Bo Kho for at least 30 minutes for the best flavor.

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STEP 2:  START THE BO KHO STEW

  1. In a large pot, heat 2 Tbsp. EVOO on high heat.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp. chopped garlic, 1 C. of lemongrass pieces, and the marinated beef.  Toss to brown the beef.
  3. Once the beef has browned, add to the pot 6 C. hot water, 1 can of Coco Rico coconut flavored soda, 1/2 Tbsp. salt, 3 Tbsp. nuoc mam (fish sauce), and 3 bay leaves.  Turn the heat down to maintain a simmer, and cover.  Cook for 2 hours.

    Cook the meat and spices for Bo Kho for 2 hours before adding your root vegetables.
    Cook the meat and spices for Bo Kho for 2 hours before adding your root vegetables.
  4. After 2 hours, reserve 1/2 C. of the Bo Kho sauce in a small bowl.  Set aside.
  5. Add to the pot your chopped root vegetables.  Cook for an additional 10 minutes.

    Root vegetables for Bo Kho can be of any variety you like.  Mix a few different types for a nice combination of color.
    Root vegetables for Bo Kho can be of any variety you like. Mix a few different types for a nice combination of color.
  6. Add 3 Tbsp. cornstarch to the reserved bowl of sauce from #4 above.  Mix well to combine, and add this cornstarch slurry to the Bo Kho.  Mix well to slightly thicken.
  7. Cook the Bo Kho for a final 10 minutes and remove from heat.  Serve Bo Kho ladled atop a bowl of rice or noodles, or with a side of French bread.  Garnish with cilantro for a fragrant finish.  Enjoy!

Was this Mom’s 52 recipe helpful?  Do you have any questions about this recipe?  Did you try this recipe?  Please post your comments below.  If I don’t know the answer, I’ll send your question to Mom! 

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