Who agrees that the best part of winter is that you can drink a bold red day and night, while enjoying a comforting bowl of your favorite soup or stew? I took the Silk & Spice tasting notes and created something so delicious and decadent, and easy to recreate at home. In fact, this Bo Kho recipe is so simple that you can make it in just one pot.
But don’t let that fool you into thinking the flavor itself is simple. This Vietnamese Braised Beef Stew recipe combines spices, silky tomato paste and Vietnamese ingredients to create a stew rich in layers and layers of flavor.
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 2 1/2 hours
Total duration: 2 hours and 45 minutes
Servings: 4 to 6
- 2 pounds beef cubes
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tablespoon five-spice powder
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 2 tablespoons oil (any kind)
- 2 onions, diced
- 3 tablespoons of tomato paste
- 3 stalks lemongrass, halved
- 4 star anise
- 2 inch piece of fresh ginger, cut into large chunks
- 3 tablespoons fish sauce (I like the Megachef brand)
- 1 liter of coconut water
- 5 carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
- fresh cilantro, chopped, to garnish
- French bread or rice noodles, for serving
Vietnamese Chile Oil
- 2 stalks lemongrass, thinly sliced
- 2 shallots, diced
- 1 head of garlic, minced
- 1 cup canola oil or grapeseed oil
- 6 tablespoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon of sugar
Here’s how to do it:
- In a mixing bowl, combine the salt, black pepper, brown sugar and five-spice, then stir in the garlic and beef.
- Heat a heavy-bottomed saucepan that can hold at least 4 quarts over high heat. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and sear the beef until browned all around. You may need to do this in batches if your pot isn’t large enough.
- Once the meat is browned, add the onions and tomato paste and allow the onions to become translucent and the tomato paste to caramelize.
- Add lemongrass, star anise, ginger, fish sauce and coconut water. Bring to a boil.
- Place in a preheated 375 degree F oven with the lid on for 30 minutes and continue baking without the lid for 1 to 1 1/2 hours until the sauce has reduced and the meat is tender and caramelized on top.
- Once the stew is cooked in the oven for about 1 hour, add the carrots and continue cooking. This way the carrots don’t get too mushy. Garnish with cilantro and serve with bread or on noodles and with chili oil.
- To make chili oil, in a small saucepan, heat cold oil until hot. Add the shallots and cook for about 30 seconds. Add the lemongrass. Cook for 1 minute until the shallots are not yet golden but are starting to change color. Once you get to this point, add the garlic and cook until all the ingredients are toasted and lightly browned. Turn off the heat and add the red pepper flakes, stir then add the fish sauce and sugar. Turn on the heat and cook for 1 minute until everything is tight in the pan and the sugar has dissolved.
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