Bo Kho is a comforting Vietnamese beef stew recipe with aromatic lemongrass, an intoxicating blend of spices, and tender beef slowly simmered, a favorite.
Bo Kho Recipe (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew)
Ready for your next favorite beef stew recipe, my friends? Let me introduce to you a new favorite in the Chili Pepper Madness kitchen.
It's called Bò Kho, and I think you're going to love it as much as we do.
What is Bò Kho?
Bo kho is a spicy beef stew from Vietnam known for it's wonderful blend of aromatic seasonings. It is made with tender chunks of beef simmered in a flavorful broth that features lemongrass, fish sauce, 5-spice powder, and more.
The beef is marinated, then browned before being added to broth for a low and slow simmer that makes any tougher cuts of beef incredibly tender.
After one bite of this dish, I think you'll be addicted, and will definitely want to add it to your regular recipe rotation.
Let's talk about how to make bo kho, shall we?
Bo Kho Ingredients
The full ingredients list with measurements is listed in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- FOR THE BEEF & MARINADE
- Beef Chuck. You can also use short ribs, brisket, beef shank, or other stew beef. For a splurge and extra flavor boost, use USDA Choice Short Ribs from Snake River Farms (affiliate link, my friends). Super tender!
- Fish Sauce.
- Chinese 5-Spice Powder. Try my Homemade Chinese 5-Spice Powder recipe. Fresh flavor!
- Salt and Pepper. To taste.
- FOR THE BEEF STEW (Bo Kho)
- Vegetable Oil. For cooking.
- Vegetables. Onion, Thai chilies, garlic, ginger, lemongrass, carrots.
- Tomato Paste. You can also use fresh tomatoes.
- Spices. Star anise, ground annatto.
- Beef Stock. Or beef broth.
- Coconut Water.
- Chili Oil. Try my homemade chili oil recipe. I like to make it spicy.
- Soy Sauce.
- Fish Sauce.
- For Garnish. Torn Thai basil or fresh chopped herbs spicy chili flakes.
How to Make Bo Kho - the Recipe Method
Marinate the Beef. Mix the fish sauce, 5-spice powder, salt and pepper, then pour it over the beef chunks and marinate in a baggie or a bowl.
(Marinate at least 30 minutes, though longer is better.
Brown the Beef. Brown the marinated beef chunks in a large pot or Dutch oven. Set them aside to add in later.
Onions, Peppers, Garlic. Next, brown the onion and peppers in the pot, then cook the garlic quickly.
Lemongrass and Spices. Stir in the lemongrass, ginger, tomato paste, star anise, and ground annatto. Mix well in the bottom of the pot.
Add Liquids and Simmer. Stir in the beef stock and coconut water, then cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the meat is tender, stirring as needed.
NOTE: If using more tender cuts of meat, you don't need to simmer as long.
Carrots and Extras. Add the carrots, chili oil, and soy sauce, then simmer another 30 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked through.
Finish it Up. Stir in the fish sauce and serve with Thai basil or fresh chopped herbs.
Boom! Done! Your bo kho is ready to serve. Doesn't it smell amazing? You will absolutely love the incredible mix of seasonings and flavors with this dish.
Recipe Tips & Notes
- Feel free to use other root vegetables, like potato, parsnip, radish, or any of your favorites.
- Like any beef stew, Bo Kho tastes even better the next day. When it's done cooking, cool the pot, then refrigerate overnight, which lets the flavors meld even more. Reheat it the next day and enjoy!
Serving Bo Kho
Bo Kho can be served on it's own in a bowl, but is popularly served with rice noodles or glass noodles for more of a noodle soup.
It's also delicious with steamed rice or with crusty bread on the side for soaking up the rich stew broth.
Storage & Leftovers
Leftover bo kho (beef stew) will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can easily warm it up again in a pot on the stove top to enjoy again.
You can also freeze it for 3 months or longer in freezer containers. I freeze batches all the time.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy this Vietnamese bo kho recipe. Let me know if you make it. I'd love to hear how it turned out for you, and if you decided to spice it up!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Yukgaejang (Spicy Korean Beef And Vegetable Soup)
- Bo Luc Lac Recipe (Vietnamese Shaking Beef)
- Classic Beef Stew
- Carne Guisada (Latin Beef Stew)
- Hungarian Goulash
- Ropa Vieja (Cuban Shredded Beef Stew)
- Rendang (Indonesian Beef Stew)
- Sancocho (Latin American Stew with Beef and Pork)
- Birria (Mexican Beef Stew)
- Texas Chili (Southern Beef Stew)
- Beef Vindaloo (Indian Beef Stew Curry)
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Bo Kho Recipe (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew)
FOR THE BEEF
- 3 pounds beef chuck cut into 1.5 inch pieces (you can also use short ribs, brisket, or other stew beef)
- 2 tablespoon fish sauce
- 1-2 tablespoons 5-spice powder
- Salt and pepper to taste
FOR THE BEEF STEW (Bo Kho)
- 3 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 large yellow onion
- 2-3 Thai chilies minced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup minced lemongrass
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- 3 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 whole star anise pods
- 1 teaspoon ground annatto
- 4 cups beef stock
- 2 cups coconut water
- 3 large carrots chopped
- 2 tablespoons chili oil I love spicy chili oil
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- For Garnish. Torn Thai basil or fresh chopped herbs, spicy chili flakes
- Set the chunks of beef into a bowl or sealable baggie. Whisk together the fish sauce, 5-spice powder, salt and pepper. Pour over the beef and marinate while you prepare your other ingredients. (NOTE: I like to marinate at least 30 minutes, though longer is better. Consider starting your marinade the morning of cooking).
- Heat the vegetable oil in a large pot or Dutch oven to medium-high heat. Add the beef in batches and brown each side, turning as needed – about 10 minutes total. Set the beef aside onto a plate.
- Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion and peppers. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, until the onion starts to brown.
- Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds, or until the garlic blooms.
- Stir in the lemongrass, ginger, tomato paste, star anise, and ground annatto. Mix well in the bottom of the pot.
- Add the beef stock and coconut water, then the browned beef along with any juices from the plate. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 1.5 hours, or until the meat is tender, stirring as needed.
- Add the carrots, chili oil, and soy sauce. Stir, then cover and simmer 30 minutes, or until the carrots are cooked and the beef very tender. Remove from heat.
- Stir in the fish sauce. Taste and adjust for salt and pepper.
- Serve with Thai basil or fresh chopped herbs.