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Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bo Kho)

4.7 from 3 reviews

A Vietnamese Beef Stew 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. Cut the beef brisket or chuck steak into large pieces and place in a large zip-lock freezer bag.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ingredients for the marinade.
  3. Pour the marinade into the freezer bag.
  4. Close the bag securely and make sure all of the meat is coated in the marinade.
  5. Marinate the meat in the fridge for 2-3 hours, but preferably overnight.
  6. 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.
  7. Set the browned beef aside in a bowl.
  8. In the same pan, cook the onions and garlic until they have softened.
  9. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few minutes.
  10. Add the stock, salt, star anise, cloves and lemongrass.
  11. Bring to the pan to the boil and return the meat to the pan, together with the carrots and baby onions.
  12. Simmer gently for about 2 hours, or until the meat is tender (see Kitchen Notes below for tips on using a pressure cooker).
  13. In the last hour of cooking, add the peeled baby onions, taking care not to overcook them.
  14. Skim off any excess fat.
  15. Taste for seasoning.
  16. Serve with Thai basil, chillies and slices of crusty baguette.

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), and 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. Continue to simmer on medium heat on the stove (without the lid) so that the sauce can thicken. This should take about 10 minutes or so.

NOTE: I think it is fine to cook the beef together with the carrots and baby onions at the same time. The vegetables will have softened after this time, but they should still keep their shape. However, I recommend cutting the carrots into very thick chunks or slices when using the pressure cooker.

Instructions for Instant Pot

  1. Follow the recipe as above until Step 6.
  2. Use the Sauté function to cook in Steps 6, 8 and 9.
  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.

NOTE: I think it is fine to cook the beef together with the carrots and baby onions at the same time. The vegetables will have softened after this time, but they should still keep their shape. However, I recommend cutting the carrots into very thick chunks or slices when using the Instant Pot.

Kitchen Notes

To turn this humble stew into something more fancy, use whole baby carrots in place of normal carrots. Take care not to overcook them as they can break and disintegrate – the same applies to the baby onions.

I also like to add thickly sliced daikon radishes to this stew, instead of using baby onions. Cut them the same size as the carrots so that they can cook at the same time.

To serve this stew with flat rice noodles, cook the noodles according to the packet instructions until they have softened. While the noodles are still warm, ladle just enough broth to cover the noodles and top with the meat, vegetables and garnish.

Nutrition