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Bò Kho in a bowl with noodles surrounded by a plate of bread and herbs.
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5 from 14 votes

Bò Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

Bò Kho is a Vietnamese Beef Stew that is pure comfort food. Enjoy fall-apart beef, perfect for weekend dinners or family celebrations!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Stock Cooking Time3 hrs
Total Time5 hrs 30 mins
Course: Dinner, Lunch, Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: Asian, Vietnamese
Servings: 8
Calories: 605kcal
Author: Jeannette


For The Beef Stock

  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb beef bones
  • 10 L / 42 US cup water
  • 20 g / 0.04 lb ginger (peeled and lightly smashed)

For The Marinade

  • 1 kg / 2.2 lb gravy beef
  • 800 g / 1.8 lb beef brisket
  • 60 g / 0.13 lb Bò Kho spice mix (we get it from Asian supermarkets)
  • 4 star anise
  • 2 Chinese cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves garlic (finely chopped)
  • 1 onion (finely chopped)

For The Soup

  • 1 L / 4.22 US cup coconut water
  • 2 stalks lemongrass
  • 280 g / 0.62 lb tomato paste
  • 30 g / 0.07 lb ginger (skin on)
  • 3 onions (skin on)
  • 400 g / 0.9 lb carrots
  • 650 g / 1.4 lb white radish
  • 2 1/2 tbsp salt (or to taste)
  • 40 g / 0.09 lb rock sugar (or to taste)
  • 1 tbsp chicken bouillon powder
  • 5 tbsp cooking oil

For The Tendon (Optional)

  • 2 beef tendons
  • water

For The Noodles and Garnish

  • 1 bag rice noodles (we get cooked bánh phở from the local Asian supermarket)
  • Vietnamese baguette (we buy it from our local Vietnamese bakery)
  • Thai basil
  • bean sprouts
  • onion (thinly sliced)
  • lemon/lime


  • Start by cutting the beef into 6cm (2.4") chunks. Marinate the meat with the Bò Kho spices, garlic and 1 finely chopped onion for a minimum of 20 minutes.
  • To make the stock, bring a pot of water to a boil and add the bones in along with the peeled ginger. Let it simmer on a low-medium heat for at least 3 hours.
  • Meanwhile, char the remaining onions and ginger until the outside is black and the juices just start to bubble from the inside.
  • Remove the skin under running cool water, then add the aromatics into the stock along with the coconut water, rock sugar, salt and chicken bouillon powder. Let it simmer on a low heat as you work on the other ingredients.
  • Cut the lemongrass into 5cm (2") segments along their length and use a meat mallet or knife to crush them until they begin to split.
  • Heat up a wok on medium heat and add 5 tbsp oil in. When hot, throw in the lemongrass and tomato paste, then stir for 10 seconds.
  • Turn the heat up to high and pour in the marinated beef. Cook for 1-2 minutes or until all sides are seared.
    Tip: To avoid boiling the meat, divide and cook the beef, lemongrass and tomato paste in 2-3 batches.
  • Bring the heat up to high for the stock and add the cooked meat in.
  • Wash and peel the daikon and carrots, then cut them into 4cm (1.6") segments or to preference. Add them into the soup and let it simmer for another hour or until the meat is soft.
    Note: Keep the vegetables on the larger side as they will soften and break apart if too small and simmered for long.
  • As the stock is cooking, bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the tendons for 2 minutes to remove any odors. Drain, scrape off any impurities and add them into the stock to cook for another 3 hours or until soft on your preferred texture.
  • Remove the tendons from the soup and cut into smaller segments, then leave aside in a bowl to eat with the stew.
  • Serve the Bò Kho hot with noodles, baguette, fresh herbs, chili and a squeeze of lemon juice!


  • Marinate the beef overnight. Let the spices infuse into the meat for longer so that your Bò Kho is deeply fragrant. Make sure to take it out of the fridge at least 20 minutes before cooking so it has time to come to room temperature.
  • Double boil the stock. We use this technique for all of our soups to ensure we get a clear and naturally sweet broth with fewer impurities.
  • Toast all the aromatics. Give the star anise and cinnamon bark a light toast to bring out their fragrance.
  • Sear the vegetables. You can simply throw the carrots and white radish into the soup, but searing the sides with tomato paste as you would have with the beef helps to add more flavor.
  • You can save time and substitute the beef stock by using store-bought ones for convenience.
  • Store-bought Bò Kho seasoning can be replaced with Chinese five spice. Just make sure to adjust to taste.
  • We buy tendons from our local butcher. Different tendon batches will have different textures, which affects cooking time.
  • We used Vietnamese rice noodles (bánh phở) but you can also eat it with egg noodles, clear noodles (hủ tiếu) or Vietnamese baguettes.


Calories: 605kcal | Carbohydrates: 68g | Protein: 35g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 4130mg | Potassium: 1495mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 8887IU | Vitamin C: 36mg | Calcium: 159mg | Iron: 5mg