Cindy's Bo Kho a.k.a. Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

Cindy's Bo Kho a.k.a. Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

  • Cindy Lorimer
  • 08/18/22

Bo Kho Recipe by Cindy Lorimer | @cindylamlorimer

Serves 8-10, use 8-10 quart pot, preferably heavy bottom


2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp brown sugar

4 Tbsp grated fresh ginger

1 Tbsp Chinese 5 spice powder

1 tsp black pepper

3 lbs. beef tenderloin, cut into 1-2 inch pieces


½ cup vegetable oil

1 Tbsp annatto seeds

6 large shallots, sliced

2 cups tomatoes, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

3 Tbsp lemongrass, chopped

1 Tbsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp tomato paste

3 tomatoes, quartered

2 cinnamon sticks

1 heaping Tbsp star anise

1 liter coconut water

2 liters beef broth

2 Tbsp fish sauce

1 Tbsp mushroom powder

5 lemongrass stalks, smashed and bundled together

2 lbs. carrots, cut into 2 inch pieces

Bay leaf

Serve with Hu Tieu noodles, pho noodles, rice or French baguette


bean sprouts

thai chili, chopped

lime wedges

onions, sliced

Garnish: (chopped and mixed altogether)

green onions


rau ram

mint leaves


For the beef marinade, mix together in a medium size bowl: 2 tablespoons fish sauce, brown sugar, ginger, 5 spice powder and black pepper. Mix well.

Put beef into the marinade bowl and evenly coat the beef by massaging the marinade into the beef. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours if not overnight.

Heat vegetable oil in a saucepan until it’s just barely hot but not smoking.  Remove saucepan from heat. Add annatto seeds and let the seeds bleed red and strain. Put annatto infused oil in a small bowl and set aside to use. 

Take beef out of the fridge. Heat a heavy bottomed pot over medium high heat.  Add 4 tablespoons of annatto infused vegetable oil to the pot.  Once it’s hot, add chunks of beef one at a time. Do not overcrowd. Let it brown without moving the beef around, a few minutes per side.  Remove from pot and continue with the rest of the beef. You will do this in two batches.

In the same pot, once all beef is removed, add the shallots and stir fry for a couple of minutes until shallots are soft.  Add chopped tomatoes, garlic, lemongrass, salt, tomato paste, quartered tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, star anise (I usually like to put my star anise in a tea strainer so I can scoop it out easily) and stir fry until everything is nicely mixed together, several minutes. Add beef chunk and coat the stir fry mix with the beef. 

Pour in the coconut water and beef broth and add the remaining 2 tablespoons fish sauce, mushroom powder, bay leaf, lemongrass bundle and carrots.  Bring to a boil, reduce heat and let it simmer for 45 minutes until all the flavors have infused and the carrots are tender.  If you are using a different kind of beef then tenderloin, you should cook it for an hour and a half so the beef has time to become tender.

Make sure to occasionally skim the foam from the broth throughout the cooking process. 

Serve with either noodles and eat as a noodle soup or dip with French bread.  Garnish with herbs and top with bean sprouts, chopped chili, sliced onions and squeeze lime in each serving bowl. 



Work With Peter & Cindy

Whether it's a first-time buyer looking for a $100,000 condo, or a well-heeled celebrity in search of a $10 million beachfront hideaway, every client is treated equally and given top-notch service. We would be honored to work with you in finding your perfect Los Angeles home.

Follow Me On Instagram