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5 from 10 votes

Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

An easy to make, mouth-meltingly tender braise loaded with herbs and aromatics, in a broth that will have you going back with more Vietnamese baguette!
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 20 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: beef, beef stew, bread, stew, vietnamese
Servings: 8
Calories: 168kcal
Author: Hungry Huy


  • 2 lb beef shank cut into 3/4 - 1" pieces
  • tap water
  • 1 tbsp salt



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


  • 1 tbsp Vietnamese beef stew seasoning
  • 1 medium onion quartered
  • 1.5 tbs fresh ginger sliced or pounded
  • 1-2 stalks lemon grass use ~7" of the aromatic root area, pounded
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 3-4 pods star anise
  • 4-5 bay leaves
  • 1 can chicken broth about 2 cups
  • 6 oz coconut soda, Coke, or Sprite
  • 5 cups filtered water or enough to barely cover the ingredients
  • 2-3 carrots cut into 1" chunks


  • 6 12" Vietnamese bread loaves
  • 2 sliced jalapenos
  • 1 sliced lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch Thai basil


  • Clean the meat. Add beef to a large pot and add 1 tbsp salt and enough tap water to barely cover the meat. Bring to a boil on high heat, and once it hits a boil for 30 seconds, kill the heat, drain, and rinse under running water to clean. If you haven't cut the meat into 3/4 - 1" pieces yet, do it now.
  • Marinate the meat. Add all marinade ingredients to the meat in a covered bowl or a bag for at least two hours, but overnight would be better.
  • Once the marinade is ready, preheat your large pot on medium high. Add 2 tbsp oil, let it warm a bit, then add all the garlic and stir to slowly brown it. For the last 30 seconds add the paprika an stir so it releases its aroma.
  • Add everything else to the pot except the carrots. Turn the heat to high until it hits a boil, then reduce heat so it maintains a low boil. Cook until the meat is as tender as you'd like it. Add carrots towards the final 10 minutes so it softens. Discard the cooked onions and star anise pods.
  • Serve with accoutrement as shown: tearing fresh Thai basil onto your plate, taking occasional bites of jalapeno, and dipping a few pieces of meat into the salt / pepper / lemon juice side for variety.


Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 2159mg | Potassium: 462mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 2822IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2mg