Aromatic and Hearty Beef Stew Recipe Vietnamese Style

Welcome, food lovers and culinary enthusiasts! Today, I’ve got a secret recipe combo that’s going to knock you off your feet – Vietnamese Beef Stew, or as we say in Vietnam, “Bò Kho.” This hearty and flavorful stew is a classic dish that has been passed down from one generation to the next. It’s made with tender chunks of beef slow-cooked in a savory broth infused with aromatic spices like star anise and cinnamon, caramelized onions, fresh herbs and vegetables such as daikon radish, potatoes and carrots. The result is a stew that is rich in flavor and incredibly satisfying to eat.

What makes this recipe even more special? Unlike traditional stews that require hours of simmering on the stove, this beef stew can be made in an instant pot or slow cooker. So if you’re looking for a dish that can feed a crowd with minimal effort while still impressing everyone at the table, you won’t want to miss this one.

At its core, Vietnamese cooking embodies simplicity, balance, and harmony. Our ingredients are fresh and healthy yet distinct and bold in flavor. Vietnamese cuisine embodies the essence of the country – charmingly ancient yet modern all at once. With this recipe, I hope to not only introduce you to the tenets of Vietnamese cooking but also offer a unique approach to making beef stew as good as it gets.

So buckle up for an adventure into the world of Vietnamese cuisine with this hearty flavorful Bò Kho recipe!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Beef Stew
Vietnamese Beef Stew

Are you tired of the same old, plain beef stew? Look no further than this Vietnamese Beef Stew recipe, also known as “Bò Kho” – a hearty, flavorful dish that will elevate your taste buds to new heights.

This dish is perfect for those chilly days and nights when you need something that will both satisfy your hunger and warm your soul. The combination of tender chunks of beef, daikon radish, potatoes, and carrots in a flavorful broth made from tomato paste, garlic cloves, onion, salt, black pepper, fish sauce, curry powder, ground cinnamon, gingerroot, sugar and red chilies will leave you feeling full and satisfied.

What’s more? This recipe can be made in various ways to suit your needs. Simply choose between using a slow cooker or pressure cooker like the Instant Pot to create your dish without any fuss. Additionally, it doesn’t take long to make but tastes like it has been slow cooked for hours.

Not only is this dish easy to make and deliciously satisfying, but it also boasts an array of health benefits. The lemongrass and star anise provide not just flavor but are packed with antioxidants; garlic and ginger can help boost the immune system reducing inflammation.

Not only is this spicy Vietnamese beef stew unique and flavorful with a rich aroma from cinnamon-heavy star anise seasoning but it’s also versatile! Try it with rice noodles or spinach instead of noodles if you feel like mixing things up.

So if you’re looking for something beyond the typical beef stew recipe – something hearty yet flavorful – give this Vietnamese Beef Stew recipe a try. It’s just what you need to warm up on those cold winter days or nights when you’re craving something truly special.

Ingredient List

 A hearty bowl of Vietnamese Beef Stew to warm your soul on a chilly night.
A hearty bowl of Vietnamese Beef Stew to warm your soul on a chilly night.

In order to make this hearty flavorful Vietanamese beef stew, these are the ingredients you will need:


  • 2 pounds of stewing beef – cut into about 2-inch chunks.


  • 1 daikon radish – peeled and cut into about 1.5-inch chunks.
  • 4 potatoes – peeled and cut into about 1.5-inch chunks.
  • 4 carrots – peeled and cut into about 1.5-inch chunks.
  • 1 large onion – chopped.
  • 4 cloves of garlic – minced.
  • [Optional] Some green beans – trimmed and then cut into bite-sized pieces.

Spices & Herbs:

  • A small hand of fresh lemongrass – trimmed and bruised.
  • 3 whole stars of anise cinnamon.
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder.
  • Half a teaspoon of ground cinnamon.
  • A pinch of grated fresh gingerroot.
  • [Optional] Some sliced fresh or dried red chilies.

Broth & Seasonings:

  • 1 tablespoon of tomato paste.
  • Half a teaspoon of ground black pepper.
  • A tablespoon of fish sauce (nuoc mam) which can be substituted with soy sauce if preferred.
  • A tablespoon of granulated sugar (**or more if you prefer a sweeter broth).
  • Enough water or beef broth to submerge all other ingredients in the pot (about three cups).

You can buy most ingredients from your local grocery store. For those harder-to-find items such as anise cinnamon or lemongrass, you can visit your local specialty Asian grocer, farmers’ market, or can even order online for convenience.

The Recipe How-To

 Deliciously tender chunks of beef simmering in an aromatic broth of lemongrass and star anise.
Deliciously tender chunks of beef simmering in an aromatic broth of lemongrass and star anise.

Now that you’ve gathered all the necessary ingredients, it’s time to get cooking! Here’s how I make my Vietnamese Beef Stew:

Step 1: Prepare the Ingredients

Start by preparing your ingredients. Cut 2 pounds of stewing beef into 1-inch chunks and set them aside. Peel and cube 4 medium potatoes, 4 medium carrots, and 1 medium daikon radish into the same size as the beef chunks. Mince 3 garlic cloves and 1 small onion, chop 2 red chilies, and smash 1 stalk of lemongrass.

Step 2: Brown the Meat

Set your pressure cooker, slow cooker or dutch oven to sauté mode (high heat) for a pressure cooker. Heat oil in your dutch oven over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the meat in batches and brown it on all sides.

Step 3: Cook Aromatics

To add flavors to the dish, throw in garlic, onion, lemongrass, ginger, chilies, curry powder, ground cinnamon, and star anise. Stir until fragrant which takes about a minute or two.

Step 4: Deglaze with Tomato Paste

Stir in tomato paste (~3 Tablespoons) for additional flavors and to deglaze the pot. Then add fish sauce (~2 Tablespoons) and sugar (~2 Tablespoons).

Step 5: Add Vegetables

Now toss in potatoes, carrots, daikon radish that we have prepared earlier. Then pour enough water (or beef broth if you want richer flavor) to barely cover everything. Finally, add a pinch of salt, and black pepper for seasoning.

Then stir everything together well.

Step 6: Cook on Low Heat

Cover tightly with a lid then lower heat to low, ensuring that it simmers. For instant pot, set it to manual high pressure for 35-40 minutes. For traditional stovetop, take about 2-3 hours on low heat, keep stirring occasionally and add some water if it is drying out. And for a slow cooker, set it to cook on low for 6 to 8 hours or high for 3 to 4 hours.

Step 7: Adjust the Flavor

After this time, remove the lid and test the veggies and meat. The meat should be fork-tender so test properly. At this point, you can add more seasoning such as fish sauce or sugar according to your preference.

Step 8: Finish with Green Beans

Finish by adding in a cup of green beans at the last minute. Remember, green beans will enhance both taste and appearance of this amazing beef stew.

And voila! There you have it—your very own pot of Vietnamese Beef Stew! Serve with your preferred noodle or bread as a

Substitutions and Variations

 A fragrant and flavorful explosion in every spoonful.
A fragrant and flavorful explosion in every spoonful.

If you’re missing any of the ingredients in this Vietnamese beef stew recipe, don’t worry! There are plenty of substitutions you can make without compromising the overall flavor and heartiness of the dish.

– Vegetarian/Vegan Option: For a vegetarian/vegan version, skip the beef and substitute with mushrooms, tofu or seitan. Use vegetable broth instead of beef broth and add in your favorite veggies like bok choy, cabbage or kale.

– Meat Substitutes: If you don’t have stewing beef, try using spare ribs or oxtail for a richer flavor.

– Spiciness: Adjust the spiciness to your liking by adding more or fewer red chilies.

– Lemongrass: If you can’t find fresh lemongrass at your local grocery store, use dried lemongrass or lemongrass paste instead.

– Potatoes and carrots: Swap out with sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips or other root vegetables depending on what is available or what you prefer.

– Green Beans: Add in green beans or broccoli florets for additional nutrition and color.

– Instant Pot/Pressure Cooker: Instead of cooking on a stove top, use an Instant Pot or pressure cooker which allows the meat to become more tender and flavors to blend better while cooking faster.

– Noodle Soup: Create a braised beef noodle soup by combining this dish with Pho Bo using egg noodles or rice noodles. It’s a perfect one-pot dinner full of all familiar exotic flavours

By experimenting with these simple swaps and variations, you’ll be able to tailor this Vietnamese beef stew to your taste preferences and dietary needs while still enjoying its hearty and flavorful essence.

Serving and Pairing

 This stew is full of cozy, comforting vibes.
This stew is full of cozy, comforting vibes.

Once your Vietnamese beef stew is cooked and fragrant, it’s time to serve it up! You can enjoy the hearty, flavorful dish on its own or pair it with some delicious accompaniments for a complete Asian-inspired meal.

I personally love serving my bò kho over a bed of steaming white rice or egg noodles, which soak up all the savory broth and spices. You can also sprinkle some chopped green onions or cilantro on top for a pop of color and fresh flavor.

For an extra crunch, try serving your bò kho with some quick-pickled daikon radish and carrots on the side, which will add some tangy acidity to balance out the richness of the stew. Another common pairing for bò kho in Vietnam is a French-inspired baguette (banh mi), which you can use to make delicious sandwiches with leftover braised beef and pickled veggies.

If you want to make a complete Vietnamese spread, consider serving your bò kho alongside some classic noodle dishes like pho or bun bo, which all feature different types of beef cuts and broths. You can also add some fresh spring rolls with peanut dipping sauce to lighten things up.

As for drinks, I recommend sticking to light and refreshing options that won’t overwhelm the flavorful kho seasoning of the dish. Some good choices include cold beer, iced tea with lime or lemongrass, or Vietnamese coffee (which will give you a caffeine kick to keep going!)

No matter how you choose to serve your Vietnamese beef stew, be prepared for a hearty and satisfying meal that will warm you up from head to toe.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 A perfect balance of sweet, savory, and earthy flavors.
A perfect balance of sweet, savory, and earthy flavors.

Once you have made this hearty and flavorful Vietnamese beef stew, you might want to store some of it for later. Here’s what you need to know about make-ahead, storing and reheating this dish.

If you’re planning on making this recipe ahead of time, it’s important to allow the stew to cool completely before refrigerating. This will help prevent bacterial growth and ensure that your stew stays fresh longer. Once cooled, transfer the stew into an airtight container or a freezer-safe bag and store in the fridge for up to three days, or freeze for up to three months.

When it comes to reheating the stew, there are a few options. If you have time, you can reheat it on the stovetop over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. If you’re in a hurry, you can always use the microwave. Just be sure to transfer the desired amount of stew into a microwave-safe dish and cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Heat on high for 1-2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

One thing to keep in mind is that the vegetables in the stew will continue to soften as they sit in the broth over time. This means that if you plan on reheating leftovers multiple times, the vegetables will become quite soft. If this is not your preference, consider removing the vegetables from the broth before storing them separately from the meat and broth.

Overall, this is a great make-ahead dish that reheats beautifully. You can enjoy it as an easy weeknight meal or serve it at your next gathering as a hearty and satisfying option that everyone is sure to love.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The ultimate comfort food that will leave you feeling deeply satisfied.
The ultimate comfort food that will leave you feeling deeply satisfied.

When making Vietnamese beef stew, there are a few tips that can take your dish to the next level. Here are some of my favorite tips for creating a hearty, flavorful beef kho that will leave your taste buds singing:

First and foremost, make sure you use good quality beef. I always recommend using stewing beef or chunks of beef that are meant for braising. These cuts have the perfect balance of fat and meat, which help create that melt-in-your-mouth texture.

Secondly, do not skip the marinating step. Marinating helps the beef absorb all of the flavors from the kho seasoning, as well as tenderize the meat. A minimum of 30 minutes is ideal, but if you really want to go all-out, marinate overnight for maximum flavor.

Another tip is to use homemade stock instead of water. Homemade stock adds an extra depth of flavor to your kho recipe and makes it taste more authentic. And don’t forget to skim off any fat before adding it to your dish!

When it comes to cooking times and methods, there are a few options available depending on your preference. Traditional Vietnamese beef stews like bo kho are slow-cooked on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for hours until the meat falls apart. However, if you’re short on time, you can use an instant pot or pressure cooker to speed up the process significantly without sacrificing taste.

Lastly, feel free to add additional vegetables such as daikon radish and green beans carrots. These vegetables add both color and nutrients in addition to helping mop up all that delicious broth. Don’t be afraid to get creative with your kho recipe! It’s a versatile dish that pairs well with various sides like rice noodles and egg noodles or can be used as a filling for banh mi sandwiches.

By utilizing these tips and tricks while making your Vietnamese beef stew, you will end up with a hearty, aromatic, and spicy meal that will become a staple in your recipe book.


Now that you know how to make a delicious and flavorful Vietnamese Beef Stew, I bet you have some questions about the recipe. In this section, I will answer some of the most frequently asked questions from my fellow home cooks. So let’s dive into the FAQ!

What is bò kho in english?

Vietnam’s bò kho, a savoury and fragrant beef stew, is one of my ultimate favourite dishes. It’s filled with aromatic spices, tender beef cubes, and hearty chunks of carrot that will warm your soul.

How to make beef stew really tender?

Achieving tender stew meat requires adequate cooking time at a low heat. For the best results, I recommend using a Dutch oven or slow cooker for several hours.

What is the secret to good stew?

When it comes to making stew, the flavor truly develops with time. The cut of meat used in stew is usually collagen-rich and tough, meaning that it takes several hours of cooking at a low heat to thoroughly break down. Boiling the stew or trying to rush the process could lead to tough and chewy meat. Therefore, giving it at least two hours of cooking time is ideal for optimal flavor and tender meat.

What gives beef stew a rich flavor?

The savory essence of a dish lies in the fond, which consists of the caramelized chunks and fat at the base of the pan. This rich flavor can flavor the aromatics such as onions and garlic, in turn elevating the taste of the final dish that is being cooked in the slow cooker.

Why put vinegar in stews?

One way to enhance the flavor of a hearty beef stew is by adding a touch of vinegar to bring a subtle acidity to the dish. This helps to balance out the richness of the soy sauce and honey used in the recipe while also adding a lightness that complements the heartiness of the beef. To give this savory stew an added dimension, consider serving it with some deliciously chewy glass or egg noodles, or simply enjoy it as it is.

Where does Bo Kho come from?

Originating from the southern region of Vietnam, bò kho is a popular dish cooked using the kho technique, featuring flavorsome spices and typically using beef as its main ingredient. It has become widely recognized and appreciated both within and outside of Vietnam.

Bottom Line

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In conclusion, this recipe for Vietnamese Beef Stew, or Bo Kho, is a hearty and flavorful dish that will have your taste buds dancing with delight. Whether you choose to make it in the Instant Pot, slow cooker, pressure cooker or on the stovetop, this stew is sure to become a family favorite. With rich spices like star anise, cinnamon, and curry powder combined with tender chunks of beef and an array of delicious vegetables like daikon radish, potatoes, and carrots, this dish is not only delicious but also nutritious.

Additionally, this recipe is incredibly versatile; you can make substitutions or variations to suit your taste. Add some green beans or red chilies for an extra kick of spice or serve it over rice noodles or egg noodles for a hearty braised beef noodle soup. The possibilities are endless.

Overall, if you’re looking for a comforting meal that will satisfy your hunger and warm your soul, then look no further than this Vietnamese Beef Stew. Invest some time and make it from scratch using my recipe here. It may seem daunting at first, but I promise the end results are worth every effort you put in. Plus don’t forget you’ll have plenty of leftovers for a quick lunch or dinner throughout the week! So go ahead and give it a try and let me know what you think.

In Vietnamese culture,” kho” means “braised” which means long cooking times with low temperatures so that the meat softens into a juicy delicacy. It’s perfect when served with hot sticky rice or bread rolls like banh mi. This stew bo is definitely going to get you hooked on Vietnamese food – maybe even more than pho!

Hungry Huy once said “Bo Kho Vietnamese Beef Stew is one of my favourite Vietnamese dishes which has always reminded me of family gatherings at grandma’s house.”

So what are you waiting for? Grab your ingredients, put on your apron, and let’s get cooking!

Vietnamese Beef Stew

Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

Found in The Wichita Eagle who listed as source: "Foods of Vietnam" by Nicole Routhier. Stashing for good winter eating!
No ratings yet
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Vietnamese
Calories 831.3 kcal


  • 2 stalks lemongrass, fresh (sub 2 tablespoons dried lemon grass)
  • 2 lbs stewing beef, cut into 2-inch cubes (beef chuck fine)
  • 2 red chilies, fresh, seeded and minced (we'll use dried whole)
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gingerroot, grated fresh
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • black pepper, freshly ground, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, minced (a big 'un)
  • 6 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 2 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 small daikon radish, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (2 medium turnips fine too)


  • If you are using fresh lemon grass, discard the outer leaves and upper half of the stalk. Slice paper-thin; chop very fine. If you are using dried lemon grass, soak in warm water for 1 hour. Drain and finely chop.
  • In a bowl, combine the beef with the lemon grass, chiles, sugar, ginger, cinnamon, curry powder, fish sauce and black pepper to taste. Sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of the salt; mix well. Let stand for 30 minutes.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large, heavy saucepan or pot over high heat. Add the beef and marinade and stir quickly to sear, about 2 minutes. Remove the meat to a bowl.
  • Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to the saucepan. When the oil is hot, add the onion and garlic and stir-fry until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the tomato paste and stir for 2 minutes. Add the beef, star anise, the remaining 1 teaspoon salt and 4 cups of water. Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and simmer until the beef is tender, about 1 ½ hours.
  • Add the carrots and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and continue simmering for 10 minutes longer. Add the daikon and cook for another 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot with French bread.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 369gCalories: 831.3kcalCarbohydrates: 39gProtein: 46.9gFat: 54.5gSaturated Fat: 19.1gCholesterol: 152mgSodium: 2511.3mgFiber: 7.1gSugar: 11.4g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Beginner Cook, Easy, Meat, Potato, Roast Beef, Stew, Vegetable, Vietnamese
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