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A bowl of bo kho garnished with fresh coriander, served with crusty bread.

Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

An aromatic beef stew commonly eaten for breakfast with Vietnamese baguettes. Also great for lunch or dinner, and can also be served with rice or as a noodle soup.
Course Breakfast, Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine Vietnamese
Keyword Bo Kho, Vietnamese Beef Stew
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 20 minutes
Marinating Time 20 minutes
Total Time 3 hours
Servings 4 people
Calories 665kcal
Author Scruff


  • 1 kg chuck steak excess fat trimmed, cut into large chunks


  • 1 tsp bo kho spice mix
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp white sugar


  • 750 ml coconut water
  • 3 garlic cloves peeled and minced
  • 3 lemongrass stalks cut into 3-inch lengths then bruised
  • 10 gm ginger (2 cm / 0.8 in), unpeeled, cut into three pieces
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 1 tbsp bo kho spices
  • 2 tsp ground annatto
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ground black pepper to your taste
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce


  • 4 large carrots peeled, quartered widthways diagonally, larger pieces halved again if necessary.
  • 1 onion cut into thick wedges (1/8ths)

Thickener (optional - recommended if serving with rice, not recommended if serving with bread or noodles)

  • 2 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp water


  • coriander roughly chopped

To serve

  • Vietnamese baguettes or crusty dinner rolls, rice, or rice noodles


  • Marinade (Note 1) - combine marinade ingredients in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the beef, mix around to evenly coat in sauce. Cover and leave in fridge to marinate, preferably overnight or for at least 20 minutes.
  • Brown the meat (Note 2) - heat oil in a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Add the meat in batches and sear until browned, about 2.5 - 3 minutes each side. Do not overcrowd the pan, and set each batch aside once done.
  • Broth - put the beef and all broth ingredients into your dutch oven/stock pot/instant pot/pressure cooker. Stovetop - bring to a boil, then simmer, covered, on low heat for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Instant pot/pressure cooker - pressure cook at high pressure for 25 minutes.
  • Vegetables - Stovetop - add carrots and onions. Turn heat to high, return to the boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and cook with lid on for 20 minutes. Instant pot/pressure cooker - release pressure. Add carrots and onions, then cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
  • Check - check the carrots and meat for doneness, cooking further if required. Check seasoning, adjust if required.
  • Thicken (optional - Note 3) - combine the cornstarch with the water in a small bowl, stirring until the cornstarch is dissolved. Add to the pot, increase the heat to medium-high (stovetop)/put on sautee function (instant pot/pressure cooker) and stir until the liquid bubbles and thickens.
  • Garnish and serve - garnish with fresh coriander, and serve with either crusty bread (preferably Vietnamese baguettes), steamed rice or rice noodles (preferably bun bo noodles).



  1. Marinating is recommended, however if you want to skip this step then either coat the meat in the marinade and go straight to browning, or add the marinade ingredients directly into the broth.
  2. Browning the beef is recommended, however if you want to skip this step put the beef into a heatproof bowl, cover with boiling water then drain and repeat. This is to wash away any impurities so you don't have grainy/gunky bits in your stew.
  3. We recommend thickening if serving bo kho with rice. We do not recommend thickening if serving bo kho with noodles/bread.


Calories: 665kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 52g | Fat: 40g | Saturated Fat: 17g | Trans Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 170mg | Sodium: 2069mg | Potassium: 1770mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 12231IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 135mg | Iron: 7mg