How to Cook Vietnamese Braised Beef Stew


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Bo Kho, or Braised Beef Stew, evolved from the French soup ‘pot au feu’ or French beef stew, which the French brought to Vietnam when they came to rule the country in the late 19th century. Pot au feu is a quintessential French family dish, just as Bo Kho transformed for Vietnamese people.

The Vietnamese rendition leaves out a few ingredients that were once hard to find in Vietnam. The Vietnamese bo kho does not have parsley, thyme, veal, celery, tarragon, and mustard. Instead, it uses star anise, cinnamon stick, rice wine, cilantro and carrots.

During our Flavors of Hanoi French Quarter food tour, we often have chance to try bo kho on our walk through the French Quarter. Our customers always ask us how to cook it with the Vietnamese flavor, here we have the recipe to help you cook the Vietnamese braised beef stew.

Vietnamese braised beef stew



  • 2 ½ lbs boneless beef chuck
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 tbsp ginger
  • 5 tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 ½ tsp five spice powder
  • 1 ½ tsp brown sugar
  • 2 cups of coconut water
  • 3 tbsp of oil
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 8 garlic cloves
  • 1 onion
  • 4 tbsp of tomato paste
  • 8 cups of beef broth
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 tbsp rice wine


  • 1 tsp of ground pepper
  • 1 tsp of chili powder
  • 1 tbsp of paprika
  • 8 large carrots
  • 5 potatos
  • 1 tsp of salt
  • ¼ tsp of salt
  • ¼ cup of chopped cilantro
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Cut the beef chuck into 1 ½ inch chunks and place into a large bow.
  2. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and 1 small knob of ginger (about 3 tbsp of minced ginger). Add to the bowl with beef chuck. Add 2 ½ tsp of five spice powder, 5 tbsp of fish sauce, 1 ½ tsp of brow sugar, and 2 cups of coconut water to the bowl. Marinate for 3 hours at room temperature or refrigerate overnight. Drain the liquid and let the beef cool to room temperature.
  3. Thinly slice 1 onion. Mince 8 cloves of garlic and 1 small knob of ginger (about 3 tbsp of minced ginger). Set aside. Peel and chop 8 large carrots into 2-inch chunks and set aside. Heat a large pot on medium heat and add 3 tbsp of oil with 1 tbsp of butter.
  4. When the pot is hot, add the beef in one at a time. Brown the beef in batches. Form a slight crust on each beef chunk.
  5. In a separate pan, slightly fry for 5 min: chopped onions, garlic, ginger, 1 cinnamon stick, and 2 whole star anise. Add to the larger pot. Add in 4 tbsp of tomato paste and mix well. Continue cooking for 3 minutes. Add in 3 tbsp of rice wine, 8 cups of beef broth and 2 bay leaves. Add 1 tbsp of paprika, 1 tsp of chili powder, 1 tsp of ground pepper, and 1 tsp of salt.
  6. Bring it to a boil. Once it has started boiling, reduce the heat to low and put a lid on it. set a timer for 2 ½ hours. Once 2 ½ hours has passed, check the beef for tenderness. Continue stewing if the beef is not tender. Add 1 cup of beef broth if there is not enough liquid.
  7. Add the carrots and potatos, continue to stewing for 30 minutes with the lid on until the carrots and potatos are soft. Add the fish sauce and adjust it to your taste. Remove the star anise and bay leaves. Serve with baguette or rice.

There you go. That’s how to cook Vietnamese braised beef stew for 4 persons, with total 30 minutes preparation and about 50 minutes cooking. We hope you enjoy cooking this Vietnamese fusion French dish at home, and please contact us if there is anything we can help.

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