BO KHO (Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew)

Recipe straight from the amazing Nom Nom Paleo.

Direct quote from my husband:

“This is so stinkin’ good!  I’m going to make it next time!”


Makes 6 servings, Total time: 4 hours, hands-on time: 30 min.


  • 2½ pounds grass fed beef brisket, trimmed and cut into 1½-inch chunks
  • 1 large stalk lemongrass, trimmed of loose leaves, cut into 3-inch lengths, and bruised with a heavy object (e.g. ramekin, broad side of kitchen knife, you get the idea)
  • 3 tablespoons Red Boat Fish Sauce
  • 1½ teaspoons Madras curry powder
  • 2½ tablespoons peeled and microplaned fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons applesauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 tablespoons ghee
  • 1 yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cups canned diced tomatoes, drained and crushed by hand
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 pound carrots, peeled and chopped into 1-inch pieces
  • Kosher salt
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Trim and cut the beef brisket into 1 1/2 inch chunks
  2. Trim away loose leaves from the lemongrass, and cut it into 3-inch lengths.  Bruise it with a heavy, flat object like the flat side of a knife.  Toss the beef, lemongrass, and fish sauce into a large bowl.
  3. Grate the ginger with a microplane.
  4. Add the ginger, curry powder, applesauce, and bay leaf to the meat, and mix everything well.  Allow the meat to marinate for about 30 minutes.
  5. Heat the Ghee in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  6. Remove the beef from the marinade, but set aside the lemongrass and bay leaf.  Sear the beef in batches, browning the meat evenly all over.  Transfer the seared beef to a plate.
  7. Lower the heat to medium-low…
  8. Toss the onions into the empty Dutch oven and cook until they caramelize.
  9. Drain the tomatoes and crush them by hand.
  10. Add the tomatoes to the onions in the pot.  Salt to taste and stir to combine.  Place the lid on the Dutch oven and simmer the saucy mixture for 12 to 15 minutes or until it turns into a thick paste.   (This is also a good time to preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.)
  11. Once a paste forms, add the beef, lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise.  Raise the heat to medium, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  12. Add the water and the chopped carrots to the pot, raise the heat to high, and bring the stew up to a boil.
  13. Replace the lid on the Dutch oven and braise in the oven at 300 degrees F for about 2 1/2 hours or until the brisket becomes tender.
  14. Scoop off any scummy looking stuff on top of the stew and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
  15. Remove the lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise, and top with some freshly chopped cilantro before serving.