Bò kho (Vietnamese beef stew)


I don’t believe that this dish comes from the French as it’s totally different from what’s known as boeuf Bourgignon. This stew smells heavenly and is my idea of comfort food. It has star anise, 5-spice, lemongrass, cloves, ginger and just makes the whole house smells heavenly. I used to think that this dish was so hard to make but after eating Viet food non-stop for 6 weeks, I can say that this dish is a cinch to make at home. The secret ingredient, believe it or not, is Coca Cola! I’m getting used to the idea of puting Coke in my food! See my recipe for Coca-cola chicken which also uses coke!


  • 1kg beef, cubed
  • 3 star anise
  • 2 cloves
  • 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
  • 1 inch knob of ginger, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 3 lemongrass, bruised
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
  • 3 tablespoon tomato purée
  • 1L beef stock
  • 300mL Coca cola
  • 500g carrots, peeled and cubed


Step 1

Brown the meat in 1 teaspoon of oil in a non-stick pan in batches. Set aside.

Step 2

In an oven proofed pot, sauté the onion in one tablespoon oil until translucent.

Step 3

Add the garlic and sauté until fragrant.

Step 4

At the same time, in a dry frying pan, roast the star anise, ginger, lemongrass and cloves until fragrant.

Step 5

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

Step 6

Add the beef, tomato purée, roasted spices, 5-spice powder, Coca cola and beef stock to the stock pot and bring to a boil.

Step 7

Cover the stock pot with a lid and bung it in the oven for 2 hours or until the beef is tender.

Step 8

Add the carrots to the stew and cook until tender, about 40 minutes.

Step 9

Cool down and refridgerate overnight.

Step 10

Warm up the stew and serve with raw onion, Thai basil, coriander, lime and chilies. Can be eaten with rice vermicelli or French baguette. Heaven in a bowl!

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