Banh Mi Bo Kho Recipe

Banh Mi Bo Kho


Makes 4-5 servings.

  • ¼ cup of canola oil
  • 3 tbl of annatto seeds
  • ½ of a white onion, diced
  • 1 whole garlic, minced
  • 2.5 lbs beef chuck roast (cut into cubes)
  • 3 tbl tomato paste
  • 1 tbl curry powder
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3 star anise
  • 3 lemon grass stalks
  • 3-4 cups water
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 4 tbl fish sauce
  • 10-12 shallots, minced
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 lime
  • 4-5 baguettes
  • cilantro, for garnish

How to make Banh Mi Bo Kho

If you liked this recipe, please visit:

As a friend of mine so brilliantly put it, "People don't eat pho anymore because of this," and this meaning banh mi bo kho.

This was the first time I attempted to make banh mi bo kho.  I looked up various recipes, and opted to use a combination of two of my favorites. It was a success!

The stew turned out very hearty, and had the perfect consistency.  The spices blended very well, and beef had a melt in your mouth texture (please excuse my choice of words, as I am new to this food description stuff). 

For me, this dish is definitely one of those comfort foods that make you want to stay home on a cold, rainy day.  My boyfriend loved it so much he asked for another pot the next day!  I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.  It's certainly one of my favorites.

Cooking Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a non-reactive frying pan.  When the oil is hot enough, add your annatto seeds.  Cook the seeds until they have bled most their color, then discard the seeds and save the oil.
  2. In a large bowl, throw in onions, 4-5 minced garlic cloves, and beef.  Stir in ~3 tbl of the annatto seed oil mix, and marinate for 1-1.5 hours in the fridge.
  3. After marinating is complete, sear the beef (onions and all) in a frying pan. Try to do this in batches to avoid steaming. 
  4. In a stock pot, throw in the rest of the annatto seed oil mix, the rest of the minced garlic, and tomato paste.  Cook for about 1 minute on medium heat.
  5. Combine the seared beef, curry powder, cinnamon stick, star anise, and lemon grass into the stock pot.  Mix well.
  6. Add in 3-4 cups of water.  Just enough to cover the top of the beef.
  7. Mix in bay leaf, fish sauce, sugar, ginger, chili, and salt.
  8. Bring to a gentle boil and braise for 1-1.5 hours.
  9. Add in carrots and shallots, and stew on low for another hour, or until carrots have softened.
  10. Before serving, garnish with cilantro, and give each bowl a squeeze of lime.

Serve with freshly baked baguettes and.. Enjoy!

**A word of advice: Although you might be tempted, try your best not to add anything to adjust the taste of the bo kho until 15 minutes before serving.  This gives the spices time to fully release their flavors.  And also, although the stew may seem watery at first, it will thicken by the time you are ready to eat, so try your best not to worry.

Question from the Chef

“What's your favorite way to cook with beef?”

  • camellia
    camellia says

    I love "Bánh mì bò kho"! Yummy....

  • yongfook
    yongfook says

    how funny... I just got a craving for these after watching Anthony Bourdain wolf one down on his show... and here's a recipe!

  • bluecheese
    bluecheese says

    How much ginger do you add?

  • j6tran
    j6tran says

    opps! i didn't realize its not in the ingredients list. sorry. you add about 1 inch (or a little less) of ginger. that's how i did it...

  • missluluu
    missluluu says

    Awesome recipe! I tried it and love it!

  • missluluu
    missluluu says

    Also, Registered with Nibbledish just to add a comment for this awesome recipe! =D thanks!

  • ProuDad
    ProuDad says

    Chili is listed in directions but not ingredients, can anyone clarify this? Also, JB - what is an "inch" of ginger? thanks for the recipe, btw, I'm making it right now.

  • j6tran
    j6tran says

    hey! i'm so glad you guys commented! it brought be back here. it's been quite some time... i actually don't think there's any chili. that might have been a typo/oversight on my part. i'd add approximately 1 tbsp of ginger..

Register or login to add a comment!