I haven’t been cooking much lately, because for some reason I have completely lost my appetite. Isn’t that the biggest irony for a food enthusiast? Coupled with my busy schedule in May, I have actually lost a bit of weight too because of this. But I did have a few dishes I have to prepare to AFF, and thanks to that, I found a dish that can guarantee the return of my appetite: Bo Kho.
I do remember having beef stew once every so often during colder days, but I have never tried the Vietnamese version until now (why?!). The spices and the balance of flavours make this a perfect comfort meal to soothe my GI discomfort. And best still, it’s nutritious and contains plenty of antioxidants.
I believe Bo Kho is inspired by the French and in fact, it is often enjoyed with Baguettes over breakfast. However, it’s also commonly served with Rice noodles. Generally, a large batch is cooked and then enjoyed over the next few meals. Though as for me, I prefer not to cook too much as I’m the only person at home eating this. I’ve used my trusty Philips Pressure Cooker to achieve wonderfully tender meat pieces and it only took about an hour in total. Not much effort at all.
Recipe adapted from TheRavernousCouple
500g Beef Brisket, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch chunks
1 large stalk of Lemongrass, cut into 3 inch lengths, bruised
1 Bay Leaf
2 tablespoon Coconut Oil
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 canned Whole Peeled Tomatoes, crushed by hand
2 Star Anise
4 Carrots, peeled and chopped into large chunks
Fish sauce or Salt to taste
Coriander to Garnish
1 tablespoon Fish Sauce
1 tablespoon Red Chili Powder
1 tablespoon diced shallots
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 tablespoon minced lemongrass
1 teaspoon 5 Spice Powder
1 teaspoon Curry Powder
2 tablespoon Grated Ginger
In a bowl, combine the ingredients for marinade and add the beef. Set aside for at least 2 hours (though there’s probably no need to go overnight as we are stewing, plenty of time for flavours to develop).
In a pan, first cook the onions until slightly caramelised (so we have natural sweetness without having to add sugar). Then brown the beef properly in some coconut oil. Then transfer everything into the pressure cooker. Add star anise, bay leaf, lemongrass, tomatoes and enough water to cover the beef. Set to pressure cooking (beef) for 30 minutes, then release pressure. Add the chunks of carrot and set to pressure cooking again for 30 minutes. Season to taste.
(If using slow cooker, then leave for at least 8 hours. Stewing on stove top will take about 2 hours)
Serve with some coriander garnish on top and enjoy with either baguette or rice noodles.
The depth of flavour is incredible, along with the tang from tomatoes, sweetness from carrots and onions, backed by the kick from chili and the aroma from the spices. I finish mine over 5 meals. And then I wanted more. Maybe I could do a larger batch after all. If you love beef stew, then you must try this recipe!