Beef stew with lemongrass and star anise (Bò kho)


Wish my toddlers could read, especially to the 4-year-old who woke up screaming last night just because his bed was not properly made…


Beef Stew with Lemongrass and Star anise (Bò Kho)

(Adapted from WSJ)

Part A:
2.5 lbs well-trimmed beef chuck (cut in to 1-inch cubes)
2 stalks of lemongrass (cut into 2-inch lengths, smashed lightly)
4 tbs fish sauce
3 garlic cloves (minced)
2-inch piece of ginger (minced)
1 1/2 tsp five-spice powder
1 1/2 tsp brown sugar
1 bay leaf

Part B:
3 tbs canola oil
1 yellow onion (finely chopped)
1 lbs tomatoes (cubes)
1 tsp salt
2 whole star anise
3 cups water
1 lb carrots (cut into 1-inch lengths)
Vietnamese coriander (rau răm) or Thai basil (chopped)

  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients in part A. Let it marinated for about 30 minutes.
  2. In a heavy-bottomed 5-quart Dutch oven or a pressure cooker, heat oil over high heat until hot.
  3. Working in batches, sear beef on all sides (about 3 minutes), then transfer to a plate.
  4. Reserve lemongrass, bay leaf and leftover marinade.
  5. Lower heat to medium-low, add onions and cook for 4-5 minutes.
  6. Add tomatoes and salt.
  7. Cover and cook until mixture is fragrant and has reduced to a rough paste, 12-14 minutes.
  8.  Add beef, reserved marinade ingredients (lemongrass and bay leaf) and star anise.
  9. Cook, uncovered about 5 minutes.
  10. Add water, bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat.
  11. Re-taste if necessary (add a splash of fish sauce and/or salt).
  12. Simmer until beef is chewy-tender, about 45 minutes if using pressure cookers, or 1 1/2 hours if using standard cooker.
  13. Add carrots and return to simmer.
  14. Cook, uncovered until beef and carrots are tender, about 45 minutes.
  15. Readjust the taste.
  16. Discard lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise.
  17. Garnish with chopped herbs.
  18. Serve with fresh baguettes or rice noodles.