Bo Kho (Vietnamese Braised Beef Stew)
Bo kho is a delicious Vietnamese pot-roasted beef stew, fragrant with lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon. When the meat is fork tender, carrots are added to complete the dish. If you wish, include turnips or daikon radish or potatoes. Serve it with rice, rice noodles or a freshly baked baguette.
- Serves: 4 persons
- 2tablespoons Vietnamese fish sauce, such as Red Boat
- 1tablespoon brown sugar
- 2tablespoons grated fresh ginger
- 2teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
- ½teaspoon black pepper
- 3pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2tablespoons vegetable oil
- 6large shallots or 1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
- 1cup chopped tomato, fresh or canned
- 2tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
- 3garlic cloves, minced
- 3tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass, tender center only
- 1teaspoon kosher salt
- ½teaspoon annatto powder (optional)
- 4star anise pods
- 1(2-inch) cinnamon stick, or substitute cassia bark
- 1or 2 Serrano or Thai chiles, stem on, split lengthwise
- 1 ½pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks
- ½cup thinly sliced scallions
- 1cup cilantro sprigs, for garnish
- ½cup mint leaves, for garnish
- ½cup small basil leaves, preferably Thai, for garnish
Step 1Make the marinade: Stir together fish sauce, sugar, ginger, 5-spice powder and pepper.
Step 2Put beef in a large bowl, add marinade and massage into meat. Let marinate for at least 15 minutes, or longer if time permits (may be wrapped and refrigerated overnight if desired).
Step 3Put oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, fry the beef cubes in small batches, taking care not to crowd them, until nicely browned. When all beef is browned, return chunks to pot. Add shallots, stir to combine and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
Step 4Add tomato, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, salt and annatto, if using, and stir well to coat, then add star anise, cinnamon and chile. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
Step 5Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid ajar and cook for about 1 hour 15 minutes, or until fork-tender.
Step 6Add carrots to pot and cook 15 minutes more. Skim fat from surface of broth as necessary (or refrigerate overnight and remove congealed fat before reheating).
Step 7To serve, ladle into individual bowls. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, mint and basil.