Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Bo Kho - Vietnamese Beef Stew

I had a holiday party around Christmas time and I made a pot of Bo Kho and Ca Ri Ga.   I have to admit I don't make stews very often but I figure it would be a hearty meal and will definitely warm up my guests. That night I had many compliments on my pot of Bo Kho.  My friends requested that I post the recipe to my blog with the exact measurements.  So for this recipe I actually measured what I can out, but sometimes during the cooking process I forget.  But I really want to emphasize the importance of tasting your food.  It will help you improve your cooking skills tremendously.

Bo Kho would probably not make my top 20 of favorite Viet food to eat because it's simply too heavy for me.  I prefer eating pho or bun bo hue over bo kho, but stews are great during the cold Indiana winter.  The day after the party, I brought home some bo kho to my family.  My sister-in-law showed me a great way to lighten a hearty bowl of bo kho and it made it so incredibly delicious.  She squeezed two lime wedges to a bowl of bo kho and top it with lots of cilantro.   The lime and cilantro added depth and tanginess to the broth.  I didn't even care about the star  of the dish, the shank, it was all about that broth.  If you haven't tried lime and cilantro with your bo kho, you have to give it a try!


4 lbs of beef shank
10 stalk of lemongrass (cut 1/2 and then crushed)
3 tablespoon of tomato paste
10 carrots (cut into 1 inch pieces)
rock sugar
mushroom seasoning
chili powder (if you like spicy)
fish sauce
minced shallots
minced lemongrass
star anise
roasted ginger
all purpose flour
roasted sweet onions or 5-6 whole shallots
cooking oil
bay leaf

Marinade for 4 lbs of beef shank:

1/2 cup of fish sauce
2 tablespoon of mushroom seasoning
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of pepper
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 teaspoon of chili powder (this depends on the spice level of your chili powder and how spicy you want it to be)
1/2 cup of minced lemongrass
1/2 cup  of minced shallots
3 tablespoon paprika

1.  Cut up the beef shank into cubes.  Keep in mind beef shank shrink during the cooking process.
2. Marinate the beef shank with the marinade over night if possible or at least 2-3 hours before cooking.
3.  In a large pot, heat up a little bit of vegetable oil and pour the marinated beef shank in the pot.  You want to brown the outside of the meat.
4.  Once the meat has brown evenly, add 3 tablespoon of tomato paste and 2 tablespoon of flour.  Stir well and make sure the you cook the flour. 
5.  Add enough water to submerge the meats about
6.  Add two bay leaves, lemongrass stalks, roasted ginger, and roasted onions  to the pot, season the pot with 2.5 tablespoon of salt, 3 rock sugar, 2 tablespoon mushroom seasoning.
8.  In a separate pan, heat a tablespoon of cooking oil.  Add 1 tablespoon of the paprika to the oil.   Let paprika cook on low heat, be careful not to let it burn.  This will add color to the broth.

9.  Let pot simmer on medium heat with lid on until meat is tender.  At this point the broth should be at the right consistency, not too water but not too thick.  In about 1.5 to 2 hours meat will be tender.
10.  Add the carrots last.   If you put the lid on the carrots will cooked pretty fast.  You don't want to overcook the carrots and become mushy.
11.  Prepare yourself a bowl of bo kho with French baguettes or rice noodles (hu tieu).
12.  Garnish with chopped cilantro and green onions, squeeze a little bit of lime to your bo kho .
13.  Enjoy!