Home » Blog » Bo Kho: Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew with Noodles
Beef Gluten-free Main Dishes Noodles & Pasta Recipes Soups & Stocks

Bo Kho: Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew with Noodles

Spread the love

Bo Kho is a spicy and flavorful Vietnamese beef stew that makes for a pretty epic bowl of noodle soup when you’ve maybe had your fill of pho or are looking for something a little different.

A Tasty, Complex Vietnamese Recipe

I’ve had Bo Kho at only a couple of places over the years, and they’ve been pretty wide-ranging in terms of quality. My favorite place to eat it is in the middle of New Jersey in the cafeteria of a Chinese grocery.

You fork over $7.50, and just a few minutes later, you’re enjoying a big bowl of spicy beef broth with braised carrots, rice noodles, and plenty of crunchy onion and cilantro over the top. After a tough (read: mind numbing) day at Saturday Chinese school there was nothing better!

It’s one of those dishes that seems simple—spicy beef soup, right?—but that you know must be more complex given how flavorful and delicious it is when you’re enjoying the best possible version of it.

And, indeed, Bo Kho is flavored with chili, five-spice, fish sauce, lemongrass, plenty of garlic, and tomato. Its familiar red color comes from the addition of fragrant annatto. You can use or make annatto oil if you can get your hands on it, but for this recipe, I’ve used ground annatto powder and my homemade chili oil to get that spicy flavor.

Stew or Soup?

Bo Kho at its most basic is considered a “beef stew,” given it can be prepared as a soup or a thicker stew, but to me, I always consider it more of a soup. It can also be served with rice or French bread, but we like it served with noodles!

You can use rice noodles (“rice sticks” if you’re familiar with Vietnamese restaurant parlance) or egg noodles, too, if that’s your preference!

Let’s start!

Bho Ko: recipe Instructions

First marinate the beef. Combine the beef with the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, five-spice powder, and brown sugar until each piece is evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.

Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the stalks of lemongrass and allow them to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.

Add the onions and cook until translucent.

Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides.

Add the tomato paste.

Stir and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the water, coconut water, star anise, ground black pepper, chili powder, ground annatto, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.

After an hour has passed, add the carrots, salt, soy sauce, and chili oil. Simmer for another 40 minutes.

To serve, remove the large lemongrass stalks and any star anise pods you can fish out. Cook your wide rice noodles or egg noodles per package instructions, transfer to bowls, and ladle the soup over the top.

Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil leaves, and raw onion, and serve with some lime wedges on the side.

Try this delicious Bo Kho recipe. It’s an awesome Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew Noodle Soup!

4.9 from 59 votes

Bo Kho: Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew with Noodles

Bo Kho is a spicy and flavorful Vietnamese beef stew that makes a pretty epic bowl of noodle soup. Bho Kho is a nice change to the usual bowl of pho noodles

serves: 8

Ingredients

For the beef:

  • 2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck or brisket (cut into 1½-inch chunks)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger (minced)
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • teaspoons five-spice powder
  • teaspoons brown sugar

For the rest of the stew:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (cut into 3-inch lengths, after removing any tough woody parts)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (minced, after removing any tough woody parts)
  • 8 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (sliced thinly)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups pure coconut water/juice
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 8 large carrots (peeled and cut on the bias into 1½ -inch chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (or to taste)
  • wide rice noodles or egg noodles
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thinly sliced raw onion
  • Lime wedges

Instructions

  • First marinate the beef. Combine the beef with the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, five-spice powder, and brown sugar until each piece is evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the stalks of lemongrass and allow them to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides. Add the tomato paste.
  • Stir and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the water, coconut water, star anise, ground black pepper, chili powder, annatto, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  • After an hour has passed, add the carrots, salt, soy sauce, and chili oil. Simmer for another 40 minutes.
  • To serve, remove the large lemongrass stalks and any star anise pods you can fish out. Cook your noodles per package instructions, transfer to bowls, and ladle the soup over the top.
  • Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil, and raw onion, and serve with some lime wedges on the side.

nutrition facts

Calories: 615kcal (31%) Carbohydrates: 65g (22%) Protein: 30g (60%) Fat: 26g (40%) Saturated Fat: 8g (40%) Cholesterol: 88mg (29%) Sodium: 946mg (39%) Potassium: 1059mg (30%) Fiber: 5g (20%) Sugar: 8g (9%) Vitamin A: 10945IU (219%) Vitamin C: 10.6mg (13%) Calcium: 112mg (11%) Iron: 5.3mg (29%)

nutritional info disclaimer


TheWoksofLife.com is written and produced for informational purposes only. While we do our best to provide nutritional information as a general guideline to our readers, we are not certified nutritionists, and the values provided should be considered estimates. Factors such as brands purchased, natural variations in fresh ingredients, etc. will change the nutritional information in any recipe. Various online calculators also provide different results, depending on their sources. To obtain accurate nutritional information for a recipe, use your preferred nutrition calculator to determine nutritional information with the actual ingredients and quantities used.

About the author

Add Comment

Click here to post a comment