Viet Beef Stew with Star Anise and Lemongrass

This recipe is similar to the one Andrea Nguyen published in her book, Vietnamese Cooking Any Day, but is meant to be cooked on the stove instead in the pressure cooker. Nguyen increased the amount of water used in the recipe for the stovetop method, noting that the stew simmers uncovered for 45 minutes, then sits uncovered for another 10 minutes, so there is a lot of evaporation. If you prefer your stew to be a bit more concentrated, she advises using three cups of water.

Frequently asked questions

How do you eat Bò Kho?

Serve this stew over boiled egg noodles or rice noodles; select pappardelle-size rice noodles. Or, we also love it served with a baguette and a green salad for a complete meal.

Notes from the Food & Wine Test Kitchen

If fresh lemongrass isn’t available where you shop, substitute 1/4 cup store-bought lemongrass paste, which is more widely available. Unlike fresh lemongrass, which is very tough and fibrous, you don’t have to remove the paste version before serving.

Crushed tomatoes are usually available in 28-ounce cans, which each contain about 3 1/2 cups. No use for the leftovers? Start from a 28-ounce can of whole peeled tomatoes; strain and save the juices for Bloody Marys, then pulse the tomatoes in a food processor, and measure out the 1 1/2 cups needed for the recipe.

Make ahead

This stew develops even more fabulous flavor when made one or two days ahead. Store it, covered, in the refrigerator.

Suggested pairing

Pour a spicy, light-bodied red, like Feudo di Santa Tresa Frappato.

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