Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bò Kho)

Bò kho is a popular hearty, beef stew that is very popular in Vietnam. Some say the stew originated as a Chinese dish and was adapted by the Vietnamese. Others could think that Northern Europe, the French, had a huge influence in creating the Vietnamese style, beef stew. Especially since we often see the French including slow-cooked, hearty stews and French baguettes in their cuisine.

Bò kho is made with beef, carrots, lemongrass, and spices, and is usually cooked in a clay pot. The ingredients that make Bò Kho unique and different from the standard beef stew, it includes star anise, fish sauce, and sugar. Star anise has a licorice-like flavor and is a common ingredient in Vietnamese cuisine. Fish sauce is made from fermented fish and is used to add saltiness and umami flavor to dishes. Sugar is used to balance out the flavors of the dish. These three ingredients give Bò Kho its unique flavor profile.

This recipe is another family favorite of ours as it is a stew that our mother is often seen cooking during those cold, rainy days! Even though Bò Kho is good for cold winter days, you can eat this stew year-round. 

The stew can be made to eat immediately or can be made in advance and reheated. Personally, I think making the Bò Kho in advance and letting the stew sit overnight tastes way better as it gives it time to come together. 

When you are ready to serve, pair the stew with rice or ramen noodles ( like how my mother would serve it) or with a side of jasmine rice or French baguette! Top off the stew by garnishing with fresh cilantro, and green onions! 

Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bò Kho)


3.50 lbs Beef Shank, bone-in, cube
1.50 cups Tendon (optional), cube
4 Yellow Potatoes, cube
4 Carrots, 2″ chunks
4 Roma Tomatoes, chunks
1 Yellow onion, diced
3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 tbsp Whole annatto seeds
2 Stalks Lemongrass, cut in half
4 tbsp Fix Hot Sauce, Signature Sriracha
3 tbsp Oriental Vietnamese Beef Stew Spices Seasoning
5 tbsp Fish Sauce
2 tsp Salt
2 tsp Brown Sugar
12 cups Water
Cilantro, minced
4 Star anise


Prep all of the vegetables and meat as stated in the ingredients list and set aside.

In a cast iron pot on medium heat, saute’ the onions for 2-3 minutes.

Add the beef shank (leave the bones out to boil later on), tendon, and tomatoes into the pot.

Add the Beef Stew Spices Seasoning, Fix Hot Sauce Signature Sriracha, 2 tbsp of fish sauce (rest to be added at the end), 1 tsp of salt (rest to be added at the end), and 1 tsp of sugar (rest to be added at the end). Mix everything together until evenly coated. Once coated, add the beef bones and mix again.

Add the water, lemongrass, and star anise (make sure to cut the ends of the lemongrass and smash the thicker side) into the pot. Once the stew is boiled, turn down to low heat to simmer for 1.5 hours.

To get more of a vibrant color for the stew, heat up 1 tbsp of olive oil and the annato seeds in a saucepan over low heat. Let the mixture simmer gently for about 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once the oil has turned a vibrant red or orange color, remove the saucepan from the heat. Allow the mixture to cool down completely. Strain the oil through a fine mesh sieve and into the stew.

When meat is almost done (15 minutes prior), add the carrots, celery, and potatoes into the pot. Add the remaining fish sauce, salt, and brown sugar.

Once completed, top the beef stew with cilantro and green onions. Serve the beef stew with a french baguette on the side or with rice noodles as a soup. Pair the beef noodle soup with bean sprouts and mint. Enjoy!

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Hey there! My name is Jennifer and I love to cook almost ANYTHING you can think of in the kitchen, especially when it comes to a balance of clean eating and comfort foods. There is always a way to enjoy both!

Food is a huge component of my life - it is a lifestyle that I have incorporated by creating my own recipes, tracking calories, and being in tune with nutritional facts. Concocting recipes to share with my followers is a passion of mine to show you all that you can still eat whatever you want without sacrificing health!