Vietnamese Cinnamon-Braised Beef Stew (Thit Bo Kho)

Vietnamese Cinnamon-Braised Beef Stew (Thit Bo Kho)

Vietnamese Cinnamon-Braised Beef Stew (Thit Bo Kho)

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  • 2 pounds stew meat, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1-inch ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons high-heat oil
  • 3 whole star anise
  • 2 (4-inch) sticks cinnamon
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, smashed
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 3 to 5 cups chicken or beef broth, as needed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 4 carrots, sliced ½-inch-thick
  • Chopped green onions or cilantro, for serving
  • Toasted French baguette, for serving (optional)


Marinate beef, onions, ginger, garlic, fish sauce and sugar in a large sealable plastic in the refrigerator for 4 to 24 hours.

Heat oil over medium-high heat in a heavy, large pot or Dutch oven. Toast star anise and cinnamon until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Brown beef, onions, marinade and lemongrass in batches, 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in tomato paste to coat.

Cover with broth and add bay leaves and soy sauce. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, until beef is tender. Add carrots during the last 15 minutes of cooking time. Top with green onions or cilantro and serve alongside toasted baguette.

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