Bo Kho (Vietnamese beef stew) is one of those comforting dishes that we love on weekend mornings when we’re in no particular rush so that we can savor and linger over bowls of aromatic and tender beef dipped with fresh hot out of the oven French baguettes. For us, and many Vietnamese, bo kho is ultimate breakfast food. Not milk or cereal, not even fancy preparations of eggs, delicious as they may be can compare to the aroma of all the fragrant spices in bo kho. Really, you can’t compare waking up to the lingering scents of lemongrass, ginger, chili, star anise, cinnamon, cloves and fresh basil –it’s just not fair.
But since bo kho is so delicious, Vietnamese don’t just eat this dish at breakfast alone. We also serve it with rice noodles called Hu Tieu Bo Kho and enjoy it during lunch and dinner. This way, one pot of bo kho can be enjoyed in several different ways for the entire weekend.
The beef in bo kho is thick cuts of beef shank as well as tendons, both requiring long hours of cooking to become tenderized. I love to make this using my slow cooker, letting it cook overnight and waking up to warm and ready to eat pot of bo kho. However, if you don’t have one it’s not a problem at all.
- 1 tbs shallots minced
- 1 tbs garlic minced
- 1 tbs lemongrass minced
- 1 tbs paprika
- 1/2 tbs fish sauce
- 1/4 ts cinnamon
- 1/4 ts clove powder
- 1 ts ground pepper
- 1/2 ts red chili powder
- 1 ts sugar
- 2 lbs beef shank cut into 1.5 inch cubes
- 1/2 lb beef tendon optional
- 2 lemongrass stalks white end bruised and slice into 4 inch stalks and tie together
- 1/2 ginger knob thinly sliced
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 star anise seeds toasted
- 32 oz of beef broth
- 4 medium sized carrots cut into 2 inch pieces
- 2 tbs annato seed oil see cooks note
- baguettes toasted
- Thai basil
- Pickled onions
- Lime wedges
- cilantro chopped
- green onions chopped
- jalapenos sliced
- vermicelli noodles optional
- In large mixing bowl, combine the beef shank with the spice marinade for at least 2 hours.
- Saute the beef with 1 tbs of annato seed oil until browned and seared under medium high heat. Transfer this into the slow cooker. Add the beef tendons, stalk of lemonsgrass, star anise seeds, bay leaves, and beef broth. You may need to add more broth or water to just cover and submerge the beef.
- Set slow cooker to lowest possible setting and allow to cook covered for overnight or about 8 hours. About 1 hour before it's done, add the carrots. Just before serving add another 1 tbs of annato seed oil to the broth for a great red color. Make final adjustment and season to taste.