My last recipe was a French take on a traditional stew. Just one of the dishes we will serve on our Normandy and Provence riverboat cruises next year

This week I am giving the Vietnamese take. This you can taste on our Mekong cruise, also next year.

Bo kho is a delicious Vietnamese pot-roasted beef stew, fragrant with lemongrass, star anise and cinnamon. When the meat is fork tender, carrots are added to complete the dish. If you wish, include turnips or daikon radish or potatoes. Serve it with rice, rice noodles or a freshly baked baguette.

Bo Kho Recipe



  • 1 tablespoon, Worcestershire Sauce OUp not OU Fish
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Chinese 5-spice powder
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper


  • 3 pounds beef chuck, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 6 large shallots thinly sliced
  • 1 cup chopped tomato, fresh or canned
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped lemongrass
  • ½ Teaspoon of salt
  • 4 star anise pods
  • 1 (2-inch) cinnamon stick
  • 1 chile, stem on, split lengthwise
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 1 ½ pounds medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks or baby carrots.
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
  • 1 cup cilantro sprigs, for garnish
  • ½ cup mint leaves, for garnish
  • ½ cup small basil leaves, for garnish


  1. Make the marinade: Stir together Worcestershire sauce (OUp), sugar, ginger, 5-spice powder and pepper.
  2. Put beef in a large bowl, add marinade and stir into meat. Leave the marinate for a minimum of 15 minutes, (may be wrapped and refrigerated overnight if desired).
  3. Put oil in a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, sauté the beef cubes in small batches, until nicely browned. When all beef is browned, return chunks to pot. Add shallots, stir to combine and continue cooking for 4 to 5 minutes, or until softened.
  4. Add tomato, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, salt and pepper, stir well to coat, then add star anise, cinnamon and chile. Cover with 4 cups water and bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover with lid ajar and cook for about 2 hours, or until fork-tender.
  6. Add carrots to pot and cook 15 minutes more. Skim fat from surface of broth as necessary (or refrigerate overnight and remove any fat before reheating).
  7. Serve into individual bowls. Garnish with scallions, cilantro, mint and basil.