Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew)

I can cook a lot of things, but when it comes to Vietnamese food I usually let my mom do the cooking… but, she’s older now and I can’t expect her to cook for me forever. I had been craving this dish for awhile and a couple weeks ago I had it at a restaurant and it just wasn’t that great. I needed to get my fix. Good Vietnamese food doesn’t really exist in San Francisco so I had to make my own. I found the recipe on www.theravenouscouple.com and the pictures looked pretty good so I tried it. I have to say, it’s pretty darn good! I skipped out on the beef tendon strips because Khanh doesn’t care for it too much, other than that I followed the recipe. You can find all the ingredients at an Asian market. I got everything I needed at 99 Ranch in Daly City.

The recipe follows:

Ingredients:

2 lbs beef shank, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
1/2 knob of ginger, thinly sliced
2 beef tendon strips or about 1/2 lb
1 stalk of lemongrass (white end bruised and slice into 4-5 inch stalk and tie together)
2 bay leaves
3-4 star anise seeds, (toasted optional)
32 oz of beef broth
4 medium sized carrots
2 tbs annato seed oil (see cooks note)

Marinade
1 tbs diced shallots
1 tbs minced garlic
1 tbs paprika
1 tbs minced lemongrass
1/2 tbs fish sauce
1/2 ts red chili powder
1/4 ts cinnamon
1/4 ts clove powder
1/4 ts anise powder
1 ts ground pepper
1 ts sugar

Accompaniments
Toasted French baguettes
Fresh Basil
Pickled Onions
lime/lemon wedges
Diced cilantro and green onions
Sliced jalapenos
Rice noodles

Directions:

In large mixing bowl, combine the beef shank with the spice marinade for at least 2 hours.

Saute the beef with 1 tbs of annato seed oil until browned and seared under medium high heat. Transfer this into the slow cooker. Add the beef tendons, stalk of lemonsgrass, star anise seeds, bay leaves, and beef broth. You may need to add more broth or water to just cover and submerge the beef.

Set slow cooker to lowest possible setting and allow to cook covered for overnight or about 8 hours. About 1 hour before it’s done, add the carrots. Just before serving add another 1 tbs of annato seed oil to the broth for a great red color. Make final adjustment and season to taste.

Cooks Notes:
You can also boil the tendon separately ahead of time on constant high boil for about 2 hours or until tender, then cut and add to the bo kho just before it’s done.

If you don’t have a slow cooker, simmer in big covered pot until beef is tender about 4 hrs.

To make annatto seed oil, heat 2 tbs of olive with 1/2 of annato seeds. The oil will be steeped with a red color. Do not allow oil to boil, when the color is steeped red, turn of heat and drain the seeds.
Pickle onions the same way you pickle the carrots and daikon with dilute vinegar, sugar, and salt. (www.theravenouscouple.com)

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