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  • Writer's pictureDash of Hang

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

Vietnamese series part 3!

Before we start talking about food and recipes, how many of you saw the gorgeous moon this past week? Dear ol' Luna was absolutely glowing! 2018 has begun with incredibly beautiful nights lit by gigantic colorful moons. The blood red, the pale blue, and of course the bright white. Just reminds me of how incredible nature is.


For those of you who know me, know that beef is my favorite meat. It's just so versatile. Maybe versatile isn't the right word to use. I'm over here talking about beef like my dark wash jeans that I use whether I want to dress down or up. But just think about it. You can ground beef, round it into a patty, and toss it on the grill for a casual BBQ. Grab a nice cut of ribeye and sear that baby to a nice medium rare. Or butter up a prime rib for that elegant dinner. Beef = perfect pair of jeans.

Getting off the clothes comparisons. It's still winter, and I still have to sleep with two comforters at night. So while I'm covering every inch of my body with all sorts of fabrics, I'm going to warm my insides with some beef stew. This is definitely a childhood top 10. BO KHO a.k.a. Vietnamese beef stew.

When I was little, my mom would buy French baguettes first thing in the morning, when it's still warm, toasted, and so soft on the inside. I'd slice it up, scoop myself a bowl of bo kho and dunk in the baguette slices until there was nothing left to absorb. I've never been a fan of soft veggies, but the carrots were manageable and honestly, compliments the beef well. And it's such a humble dish. There's nothing extravagant about it, but it's so rich in flavor that you're transported to Vietnam's gorgeous countryside.


  • 1 lbs beef tendon, sliced

  • 2 lbs beef shank, cubed

  • 2 tsp brown sugar

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tsp black pepper

  • 2 tsp five spice/bo kho powder

  • 1 Tbsp ginger, grated

  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce

  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced

  • 4 lemongrass, minced

  • 3 whole star anise

  • 1 cinnamon stick

  • 3 Tbsp tomato paste

  • 8 oz coconut water

  • 6 c beef broth

  • 2 lbs. carrot, thick slices

  • 1/2 onion, diced

  • Thai basil for garnish


  1. In a large bowl or resealable bag, combine together: beef, sugar, salt, pepper, five spice, grated ginger, soy sauce, and half the minced ginger. Combine well, cover, and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour to overnight.

  2. In a large wok on medium high, heat 1 Tbsp vegetable oil, fry the other half of the minced garlic, lemongrass, star anise, and cinnamon sticks. Just for a minute to release the flavors. Add marinated beef and saute until no longer pink. Add tomato paste, coconut water, beef broth, and carrots. Cover with lid/large serving plate, lower heat to medium-low, and let stew for approximately 2 hours.

  3. Scoop your desired serving into a bowl and garnish with Thai basil.

**Lazy hack: Toss marinated meat and all other ingredients into a slow cooker. Cook on high for 3-4 hours OR cook on low for 6-8 hours, depending on how thick the meat is and how much there is. You'll know when the meat is done when it easily pulls apart.


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