Bò Kho (Vietnamese Spicy Beef Stew)


I’m really excited to be sharing a family recipe of mine to Celebrate Lunar New Year. It’s my recipe for Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew called Bo Kho that consists of beef, carrot and a lot of lemongrass. You can enjoy it a number of ways, with bread on the side to dip into or with cooked thick rice noodles that you mix into. 




  • 2kg of gravy of chuck beef, cut into 4cm thick chunks
  • 2 red onions, finely chopped (half for marinade and half for stock)
  • 4 cloves of garlic, finely chopped (half for marinade and half for stock)
  • 3 tablespoons of five spice powder
  • 4 tablespoons of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of fish sauce


  • 2 tablespoons of tomato paste
  • 4 stalks of lemongrass, peeled and cut into 8cm lengths
  • 1 can (400ml) of coconut juice
  • 6 carrots, peeled and cut into 4cm lengths
  • 2 tablespoons of Tapioca powder or cornflour


  • Pepper and chilli oil to taste

Serving suggestion per person

  • 1 Vietnamese baguette/Bánh Mì or any crusty bread
  • 100g of thick rice noodles/ Bánh Phở

    Watch the process



    1. Marinate the 2kg of gravy or chuck beef (cut into 4cm chunks) by combining 3 tablespoons five spice powder, 4 tablespoons hoisin sauce, 1 tablespoon curry powder, 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon salt, pepper, 1 tablespoon sesame oil and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in a large tray. Add 2 finely chopped garlic cloves, 1 finely chopped onion and then add mix in the beef. Allow to marinate for at least an hour or ideally overnight.
    2. Heat a large pot or Dutch oven and add in a tablespoon of vegetable oil once hot. Add in 1 finely chopped onion and allow to sweat for 3 minutes until soft and translucent. Then add in 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and cook until golden and fragrant. Add in 2 tablespoons of tomato paste and cook until dark red/brown colour.  
    3. Push the mixture to the side of the pot, so it doesn't cook further, and then begin browning the beef in batches, ensuring there is enough space between the pieces so they don’t steam. Once all the beef has browned, add it all back into the pot and add in 4 stalks of lemongrass, cooking for a minute until fragrant.
    4. Add 1 can of coconut juice (you can also just use water) and add extra water until the casserole is fully submerged.
    5. Bring to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes with the lid on. Skim off any froth on the surface of the casserole with a spoon.
    6. Add 6 chopped carrots and allow to cook for another hour or until the beef is tender.
    7. Add a tablespoon of cold water to a small bowl with the 2 tablespoons of tapioca powder and stir into a paste. Add the paste to the casserole and combine until it has thickened the stock into a sauce. Add more paste if you’d like the casserole to be thicker.
    8. Finally season with sugar and fish sauce to taste.
    9. Serve in bowls and garnish with some pepper and chilli oil to your liking.
    10. You can serve the casserole with either:
      • Bread/ Vietnamese baguette ( Bánh Mì): served on the side to dip into the stew sauce
      • Thick rice noodles/ Phở Noodles (Bánh Phở): boiled in a pot till soft, drained and then added to the casserole and eaten like an asian ragu pasta.


    If you want to try more of my Vietnamese Recipes, you can find some of my most popular dishes below; 

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