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Bo Kho Vietnamese Beef Stew

Famous aromatic and tender beef stew served with crusty banh mi made with slow cooker.
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Total Time: 8 hours 20 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: beef stew, bo kho, stew
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 251kcal
Author: Hong and Kim



Beef Marinade

  • 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

Bo Kho

  • 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.


You can also boil the tendon separately ahead of time on constant high boil for about 2 hours or until tender, then cut and add to the bo kho just before it's done. If you don't have a slow cooker, simmer in big covered pot until beef is tender about 4 hrs.
To make annatto seed oil, heat 2 tbs of neutral with annatto seeds. The oil will be steeped with a red color. Do not allow oil to boil, when the color is steeped red, turn of heat and drain the seeds. Pickle onions the same way you pickle the carrots and daikon with dilute vinegar, sugar, and salt.


Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 39g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 53mg | Sodium: 398mg | Potassium: 760mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 10364IU | Vitamin C: 7mg | Calcium: 56mg | Iron: 4mg
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