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Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo Kho)

4.8 from 4 reviews

A Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo Kho) which is fragrant with lemongrass, star anise and cloves. Serve with crusty baguette or flat rice noodles. Recipe also for Instant Pot and pressure cooker.

Ingredients

For the marinade

For the Beef & Carrot Stew

To serve

Instructions

Instructions for stove top

  1. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade.
  2. Cut the beef brisket or chuck steak into large pieces.
  3. Place the beef into the marinade and make sure all of the pieces are coated.
  4. Cover the bowl with some cling film.
  5. Place the bowl in the fridge for the meat to marinate for at least 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
  6. Remove the meat from the marinade and pat dry with some kitchen paper.
  7. Let the meat come to room temperature before cooking.
  8. In a large saucepan, heat some oil and brown the beef in batches. Due to the sugar content in the Coca-Cola, the meat will brown quickly and will burn easily if you do not keep a close eye.
  9. Set the browned beef aside in a bowl.
  10. In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until they have softened.
  11. Add the tomato paste or canned tomatoes and cook for a few minutes.
  12. Add the stock, salt, star anise, cloves and lemongrass.
  13. Bring to the pan to the boil and return the meat to the pan, together with the carrots and daikon.
  14. Simmer gently on low heat with the lid half on, for 2-3 hours, or until the meat is tender.
  15. Remove the lid and skim off any excess fat.
  16. Continue simmering for about 10 minutes without the lid, or until the sauce has thickened slightly.
  17. Taste for seasoning.

Instructions for pressure cooker

  1. Follow the recipe as above, but use slightly less liquid than stated in the recipe (about 1.5 litres or 6 cups). Make sure that the pan is not more than 2/3 full with ingredients, and that the liquid does not cover the meat and vegetables.
  2. Cook in the pressure cooker according to the manufacturer’s instructions, but it should take about 25-30 minutes at high pressure.
  3. After this time, carefully release the pressure before removing the lid to check if the beef is tender.
  4. Skim off any excess fat.
  5. Taste for seasoning.
  6. Continue to simmer on medium heat on the stove (without the lid) so that the sauce can thicken a little. This should take about 10 minutes or so.
  7. If you are in a hurry, you can thicken the sauce by stirring through a cornflour slurry. To make the cornflour slurry, whisk together 1-2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) with a bit of cold water. Add the cornflour slurry to the sauce a little at a time, until the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Instructions for Instant Pot

  1. Follow the recipe as above until Step 7.
  2. Use the Sauté function for Steps 8 to 13.
  3. Use about 1.5 litres or 6 cups of stock. The liquid should not cover the meat and vegetables.
  4. Once all of the ingredients are in the Instant Pot, set the Instant pot to Manual at High Pressure for 30 minutes.
  5. Once the time is up, do a quick release.
  6. Taste for seasoning.
  7. Continue to simmer on medium heat (without the lid) so that the sauce can thicken a little. This should take about 10 minutes or so.
  8. If you are in a hurry, you can thicken the sauce by stirring through a cornflour slurry. To make the cornflour slurry, whisk together 1-2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch) with a bit of cold water. Add the cornflour slurry to the sauce a little at a time, until the sauce has thickened to your liking.

Kitchen Notes

VARIATIONS
* Use beef short ribs. The bones will add lots of flavour to the sauce. Use about 2 kg (4.4 lb) for the above recipe and ask your butcher to cut them into short lengths.
* Use whole baby carrots in place of normal carrots. Take care not to overcook them as they can break and disintegrate.
* Add whole, peeled baby onions. Take care not to overcook them as they can break and disintegrate.
* Add whole, peeled baby potatoes. The starch from the potatoes will help to thicken the sauce as well.

SERVE WITH BREAD
This dish is traditionally served with loaves of crusty baguette which are used to dunk into the sauce.

SERVE WITH NOODLES
For a gluten-free meal, it is also common to serve this dish with flat rice noodles. Cook the noodles according to the packet instructions until they have softened. Drain and lightly rinse the noodles. Place a serve of noodles into a large bowl, and ladle just enough broth to cover the noodles and top with the meat, vegetables and garnish.

CONVERSIONS
To convert from cups to grams, and vice-versa, please see this handy Conversion Chart for Basic Ingredients.

Nutrition