Bo Kho is a Vietnamese beef stew. Families often prepare this dish on weekends. They consider it as a comfort food and it is best eaten the next day and even the day after that.
1 lb. ox tails or short ribs
1 lb. beef stew meat
1/2 cup flour
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 2 inch pieces
3 tablespoons fish sauce
1 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five spice powder
1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger
1 bay leaf
2 tablespoons annatto seeds
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes or 1 (14 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lb. carrot, peeled,cut into 1 inch chunks
2 star anise
3 cups water
In a bowl, combine the fish sauce, five-spice powder, ginger, bay leaf, lemongrass and sugar. Marinate the beef for at least 30 minutes.
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil under high heat. Add the annatto seeds and cook it for 3-5 minutes or until the seeds release their color. Stir until the oil is red. Remove the seeds and discard.
Dredge the beef with flour. Fry them in oil in batches until they are brown. Transfer the beef to a plate and reserve the lemongrass and bay leaf.
Reduce the heat and add the remaining oil; sauté the onions for 5 minutes or until they are translucent. Stir in the tomatoes. Cover and cook for another 5-10 minutes or until the tomatoes are soft. If the sauce is too thick, you may add water.
Place the beef, lemongrass, bay leaf and star anise in the pot. Cook it for another 5 minutes. Add water and bring it to a boil. After, reduce the heat and simmer for 1 hour. When the beef is almost done, add the carrots. Let it simmer for another 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the meat and carrots are tender. Remove the lemongrass, bay leaf and star anise; discard them. Add more fish sauce to taste if desired.
Garnish with basil and cilantro before serving. Serve warm with rice or French bread.
Photo Courtesy Of: Jason Hutchens