Bò Kho – Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

Vietnamese Bò Kho* (beef stew) is filled with tender, fall-apart braised bits of beef infused with aromatics, herbs, and a mouth-watering broth that will leave you returning for more Vietnamese baguettes!

Like Thit Kho, this slow braise or stew is easy to cook and the longer you cook it, the more tender the meat becomes. It’s a delicious and satisfying dish that is accessible to Vietnamese as well as American people. The recipe is fairly difficult to make a mess when cooking.

It was one of the most popular dishes served in my mom’s restaurant due to its popularity and accessibility. It was also one of the dishes I would often eat at that restaurant during the time between bottomless cold beverages made of coconut and fountain sodas.

Vietnamese Vs. American beef stew?

Yes, I’ve had or made American and French beef stews in the style of French and American and it’s a similar idea that includes beef, root vegetables (like the carrots and potatoes) onion, aromatics and onions.

If you’re looking at the ingredients, the differences within this Vietnamese beef stew are evident like ginger, lemongrass powdered anise, and cloves (in the seasoning packet with powdered spices).

It’s also unique by dipping pieces of meat into salt, pepper and lemon juice mixture to make it a little different.

Making it cook

Paprika powder gives a red hue to the broth. However, the tomato paste adds sweet red color and sweetness.

In this phase, we’re trying to extract the flavor from all the aromatics. We simply cook it enough to ensure that the connective tissue inside the meat softens. I prefer the more meatier cuts, which have more connective tissue and tendon that becomes soft and delicious if you cook it for long enough.

Final additions, herbs and final additions

To add herbs, we have basil and Thai basil (on the side) I love both of them. You are free to take either one out, if you’re not your style, however I prefer to add more basil when I make this!

Cilantro can be put in the bowl and let it wilt however, for basil, I prefer to add it before serving, so that it stays green and gives a more fresh taste.

A thinly cut raw onion is great along with this dish too.

How do you serve this stew?

As a side dish on the side, we serve it along with Vietnamese bread (which is lightweight and airy as compared to the regular French baguettes). I love this dish served with bread, or even rice, however, it is usually served with rice noodles that are flat instead.

It can take quite some time to cook to soften and cook the beef This is a wonderful dish to cook in large batches for sharing with friends and family during the course of a week!

See more other recipes:

Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

A simple to prepare braise that is mouth-wateringly tender and bursting with aromatics and herbs, in the broth that will keep you coming back for more Vietnamese baguette
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 50 minutes
Course Breakfast, stew
Cuisine vietnamese
Servings 8
Calories 170 kcal



  • 2 lb beef shanks divided into 3/4 1" pieces
  • tap water
  • 1 Tbsp salt



  • 2 tbsp neutral cooking oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic chopped roughly
  • 1 tsp paprika optional, for extra color boost


  • 1 Tbsp Vietnamese spice for beef stew
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 1.5 tbs fresh ginger cut or mashed
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 or 2 stalks of lemon grass are used approximately 7" of the root area that is aromatic and pounded
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • Four bay leaves
  • 1 can of chicken broth, approximately 2 cups
  • 3-4 pods star anise
  • 6 oz coconut soda, Coke or Sprite
  • 3-4 carrots cut into 1" chunks
  • 5 cups of water that has been filtered or enough to completely cover the ingredients


  • 6-12" Vietnamese bread loaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 jalapenos cut in slices
  • One bunch Thai basil
  • 1 lemon sliced


  • Get rid of the meat. Place the beef in an enormous pot. Add 1 tablespoon of salt and sufficient tap water to just completely cover it. Bring the pot to a boil over high heat. Once it is at a simmer in 30 secs, turn off the heat, strain, and rinse under cold water to wash. If you haven't cut your meat into 3/4-1/1" pieces make it happen now.
  • Let the beef marinate. Mix all marinade ingredients into the meat and put it in a container or bag for at minimum two hours, though it is best to let it sit overnight.
  • Aromatics. Heat a large saucepan on medium-high. Once it is hot, add the olive oil and let it warm up little before adding the garlic and stir it to slowly cook until it turns lighter brown. Then , add the paprika and stir until the aroma is released in approximately 30 seconds.
  • Broth. Incorporate all the broth ingredients into the pot with the exception of the carrots. Increase the heat until it comes to a boil and then lower the heat until it remains at a simmer. The meat should cook until it is tender as you'd like in about 60 to 90 minutes. Include carrots in the last 10 minutes, so that it softens. The cooked onions should be discarded along with the stars anise pods.
  • Serve with accoutrements such as by slicing fresh Thai basil into your plate, taking a few bites of jalapeno, placing a few pieces meat in the salt / lemon juice or pepper side for a variety.


Added approximate time for meat cooking time.
Keyword bò kho, bo kho recipe, vietnamese beef stew

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