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Vietnamese bo kho close-up from above.
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5 from 4 votes

bo kho - spicy vietnamese beef stew

Bo kho - Vietnamese beef stew with egg noodles - is familiar and yet completely different at the same time.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Total Time3 hrs 20 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: bo kho, mi bo kho
Servings: 8
Calories: 698kcal
Author: romain | glebekitchen


Spice mix

  • 1 Tbsp madras curry powder
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 2 tsp kashmiri chili powder or 2/3 tsp cayenne
  • 1 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp annatto powder for colour optional

Bo Kho

  • 4 lbs boneless beef short ribs cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 3-4 Tbsp neutral oil e.g. vegetable
  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 4 Tbsp minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp minced ginger
  • 2 stalks lemongrass cut into 3" pieces
  • 1/4 cup lemongrass finely minced
  • 3 star anise
  • 4 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups coconut water optional or 2 cups water
  • 4 cups beef stock plus 2 cups of water
  • 6 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 lb daikon cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 4-6 carrots peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 lbs Chinese egg noodles


  • thai basil
  • cilantro
  • green onion
  • bean sprouts
  • red chilies
  • Vietnamese sate sauce - optional but crazy good


  • Pre-heat your oven to 325F.
  • Put the minced lemongrass and star anise in a little cheesecloth sack. Secure with string. This way you can fish it out at the end.
  • Heat the oil in an large, ovenproof pot.
  • Season the beef with salt and pepper and brown in batches. Do not overcrowd your pan. You will wind up steaming the beef if you do. Set beef aside.
  • Add onion to the pot and cook, over low heat, stirring occasionally, until well softened. This will take about 10 minutes.
  • Add the garlic and cook 30 seconds.
  • Add the spice mix and stir constantly for about one minute. Watch out. Don't let it burn.
  • Add the tomato paste and stir. Cook another minute.
  • Add the fish sauce, soy sauce, beef stock, coconut water (if using), big pieces of lemongrass and your little sack of lemongrass/star anise and stir to combine.
  • Add the beef and accumulated juices to the pot.
  • Cover the pot with a sheet of tin foil and then the lid.
  • Place in the oven and cook, covered, for about 90 minutes.
  • After 90 minutes, add the carrot and daikon.
  • Re-cover and return to the oven. Cook for an additional 45 minutes or until the beef is tender.
  • Taste and adjust seasoning. You will likely need to add a bit of salt. Go slow. Creep up on it. You'll know when it's right. All of a sudden the lemongrass and beef flavour will hit you over the head. If you are using Vietnamese sate sauce now is the time to mix it in. 

To serve

  • Cook the egg noodles per the package directions.
  • Drain the noodles.
  • Divide the noodles into pre-heated bowls.
  • Spoon beef, carrots, daikon and broth over the noodles.
  • Serve with your choice of garnishes.


Vietnamese sate sauce is not that peanut sauce you are thinking of. It's a wonderful mixture of garlic, shallots, chilies and lemongrass. It is absolutely killer in this dish. It's also great in noodle dishes, on grilled chicken or in a stir fry. Try it. You won't be sorry...


Serving: 8servings | Calories: 698kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 10g | Cholesterol: 166mg | Sodium: 1909mg | Potassium: 1698mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 5870IU | Vitamin C: 19.7mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 7.9mg