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4.9 from 46 votes

Bo Kho: Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew with Noodles

Bo Kho is a spicy and flavorful Vietnamese beef stew that makes a pretty epic bowl of noodle soup. Bho Kho is a nice change to the usual bowl of pho noodles
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 20 mins
Total Time3 hrs
Course: Beef
Cuisine: Asian
Keyword: bo kho
Servings: 8
Calories: 615kcal
Author: Kaitlin


For the beef:

  • 2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck or brisket (cut into 1½-inch chunks)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 3 tablespoons ginger (minced)
  • 5 tablespoons fish sauce
  • teaspoons five-spice powder
  • teaspoons brown sugar

For the rest of the stew:

  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 stalk lemongrass (cut into 3-inch lengths, after removing any tough woody parts)
  • 2 stalks lemongrass (minced, after removing any tough woody parts)
  • 8 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 onion (sliced thinly)
  • 4 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 cups pure coconut water/juice
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground annatto (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 8 large carrots (peeled and cut on the bias into 1½ -inch chunks)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons chili oil (or to taste)
  • wide rice noodles or egg noodles
  • ¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thai basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup Thinly sliced raw onion
  • Lime wedges


  • First marinate the beef. Combine the beef with the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, five-spice powder, and brown sugar until each piece is evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.
  • Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the stalks of lemongrass and allow them to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides. Add the tomato paste.
  • Stir and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the water, coconut water, star anise, ground black pepper, chili powder, annatto, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 hour.
  • After an hour has passed, add the carrots, salt, soy sauce, and chili oil. Simmer for another 40 minutes.
  • To serve, remove the large lemongrass stalks and any star anise pods you can fish out. Cook your noodles per package instructions, transfer to bowls, and ladle the soup over the top.
  • Garnish with cilantro, Thai basil, and raw onion, and serve with some lime wedges on the side.


Calories: 615kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 30g | Fat: 26g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 88mg | Sodium: 946mg | Potassium: 1059mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 10945IU | Vitamin C: 10.6mg | Calcium: 112mg | Iron: 5.3mg