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Bò Kho - Vietnamese Beef Stew

Tender beef chunks in a spicy, fragrant broth with carrots and potatoes.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 30 mins


For the marinade

  • 300 g beef shoulder
  • 2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 tsp five-spice powder
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger finely grated

For the stew

  • 1 large onion finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ tsp five-spice powder
  • 2 stalks lemongrass or 1 tsp lemongrass paste
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 star anise
  • 1 ½ cups coconut water
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 carrots cut into 2cm chunks
  • 1 medium potato cut into 2cm chunks
  • ½ sweet potato cut into 2cm chunks


  • Cut the beef into 2-3 cm chunks and place them in a bowl. Add all the ingredients fort he marinade, mix well and leave for at least 30min to marinate.
  • Heat a splash of canola or sunflower oil in a large pot and start frying the beef until it’s starting to brown on the outside. Work in small batches so the temperature in your pot won’t drop. Take out the meat and set aside.
  • Lower the temperature and add the onions to the pot. Cook für about 3-5 minutes until the onions turn translucent.
  • Add the tomato paste and cook for another 3 minutes stirring occasionally.
  • Now add the five-spice powder, lemongrass, black pepper and star anise and let it cook for another 3-5 minutes.
  • Finally add the coconut water, the water and the cooked beef and let the covered stew simmer for at least an hour or until your beef is tender.
  • In the end you can add the potatoes and the carrots and let everything cook together for another 20-30 minutes.
  • Add salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve with rice or bread.