bo kho Vietnamese beef stew
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5 from 4 votes

bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew)

Bo kho may be less well known than pho, but it's one delicious beef stew packed with wonderful aromatic flavor.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Keyword: beef stew, bo kho, Vietnamese beef stew
Servings: 4 (approx)
Calories: 219kcal
Author: Caroline's Cooking


  • 1.3 lb beef shank 600g, approx 1lb 5oz off bone (I had 2lb on bone)
  • 2 tbsp ginger
  • 1 clove garlic (large)
  • 1 1/2 tsp Chinese five spice
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 stick lemongrass (or 2 if small)
  • 1 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil or a little more, as needed
  • 1/2 onion (med-large)
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 1/2 tsp tomato paste
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 1/2 cups coconut water 360ml
  • 1 1/2 cups beef stock 360ml, or water if adding beef bones
  • 2 carrots chopped


  • Dice the beef into bite-sized pieces, trimming any excess fat or larger sinew. 
  • Mix the beef in a bowl with finely chopped/grated ginger and garlic, Chinese five spice and fish sauce. Set aside for around 30 mins.
  • Meanwhile, peel and cut the carrots into large chunks and slice the onions. Cut the lemongrass in to two or three lengths and split them down the middle.
  • Warm around half the oil in a Dutch oven and cook the lemongrass a minute to bring out the flavor. Remove and set aside.
  • Brown the meat on all sides in batches, removing as they are done.
  • Soften the onion, then return the beef and lemongrass to the pot.
  • Add the pepper, paprika and tomato paste, cook a minute then add the coconut water and broth (or water and bones).
  • Bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for 2 hours in total, adding the carrots after around 1 1/2 hours. Remove the whole star anise and lemongrass before serving.
  • You can serve the stew as it is, over rice, noodles (rice or egg), or with crusty bread.



If you want this as a stew, you can also add some small or diced potatoes along with the carrots. The stew works well reheated the next day. 


Calories: 219kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 9g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 1075mg | Potassium: 936mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 105.4% | Vitamin C: 7.3% | Calcium: 7.3% | Iron: 18.9%