Vietnamese Cinnamon-Braised Beef Stew (Thit Bo Kho)

Nga Do
An aromatic and popular dish enjoyed in Northern Vietnam during Tet, the Vietnamese New Year. Normally made with beef tendon, this version uses stew meat.


Vietnamese Cinnamon-Braised Beef Stew (Thit Bo Kho) 1
Photo: internet
2 pounds stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 onion, chopped
1-inch ginger, peeled and chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons fish sauce
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons high-heat oil
3 whole star anise
2 (4-inch) sticks cinnamon
1 stalk lemongrass, smashed
1/4 cup tomato paste
3 to 5 cups chicken or beef broth, as needed
2 bay leaves
2 tablespoons soy sauce
4 carrots, sliced ½-inch-thick
Chopped green onions or cilantro, for serving
Toasted French baguette, for serving (optional)


Marinate beef, onions, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and sugar in a large sealable plastic in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, large pot or Dutch oven. Toast star anise and cinnamon until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Brown beef, onions, marinade and lemongrass in batches, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste to coat.

Cover with broth and add bay leaves and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender. Add carrots during the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Top with green onions or cilantro and serve alongside toasted baguette.

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