Saturday, November 5, 2016

Bo Kho | Vietnamese Beef Stew Recipe

I had a few Halloween potlucks lined up this year, so I decided to go all out. I wanted to go for a flavorful, hearty slow-cooked meal. My heart was set on bánh mì bò kho (bah koh). I did not realize it would take as long as it did, so be sure you dedicate a few hours to the whole process. But, it was worth the effort as my friends were all smiles and full bellies.

You can also throw on all the ingredients in a slow-cooker (crockpot), but I wanted all the flavors to develop and use the proper steps and techniques as it was my first time making this dish. 

Bánh Mì Bò Kho Recipe 

Recipe by Jane Oh Kim

Total Time: 2-4 hours
Serving: 12


1/4 cup oil 
2 pounds beef chuck, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks 
2 pounds beef flank, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks 
2 pounds beef stew cut, cut in 1 1/2 inch chunks  

12 large carrots, cut into big chunks 
3 sweet onions, cut into big chunks, divided
2 cups chopped fresh tomatoes (1 lb.), or canned
1 lb Yukon gold potatoes, optional

For meat marinade and broth (divided in two): 
6 shallots  
3 garlic heads 
1 large piece of ginger root 
3 lemongrass stalks 
For broth:
16 cups or 4 quarts of water, or beef stock or bone broth
2 bay leaf
1-2 cinnamon sticks
9 star anise, whole or broken
1 1/2 tablespoons salt
1/2 cup tablespoons fish sauce
1/3-1/2 cup tablespoons soy sauce
6 tablespoons palm sugar, grated, or granulated white sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons chili flakes, optional 
2-4 Thai bird chilies or jalapeño, optional 
Sides, optional
French baguette, toasted (recommended) 
Jasmine rice, steamed
Flat rice noodles
Limes, cut into wedges (recommended)
Fresh cilantro (recommended)
Thai basil (recommended)
White onions, thinly sliced
Green onions, sliced
Jalapeño, thinly sliced 
Pickled onions


Prep (Warning: There's lots of it)

Get your aromatics for the marinade ready. 
Shallots and garlic: Peel & mince. Split shallots and garlic in half.  You will use half of shallots and garlic for sautéing the beef and the other half to make the curry paste.
Ginger Root: Peel & mince, or cut into cut into fine strips. Make about 6 tablespoons.
Lemongrass: Cut off root and tough ends. Peel of tough outer layers. Reserve the tender core. Cut into thirds. Crushed the stalks with the flat side of a knife. meat tenderize or the flat side of a knife, cut each into 3 pieces.  
Tips: Throw all the ingredients, except the lemongrass stalks into the food processor. Pulse until roughly chopped to minced. Use a meat tenderizer to lightly bruise the lemongrass stalks. Use the back of a knife to smash the garlic gloves. The skin should peel off easily. Grate the palm sugar for better absorption. 

Marinate the Meat

In a larger bowl, combine half of the minced aromatics, lemongrass stalks, fish sauce, soy sauce, 5-spice powder, sugar and bay leaf. Add sliced beef. Mix well to evenly coat. Set aside to marinate 30 minutes to 2 hoursReserve leftover marinade for broth. 

Dry Roast the Spices, optional

In a small pan over medium low heat, add cinnamon sticks and star anise. Toast until fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Shake the pan or stir with a wooden spoon. Set aside. 

Make the Curry Paste

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a small pan over medium heat and add rest of the minced aromatics. Heat until  fragrant and slightly golden brown. Add chili flakes and stir for a few seconds until well blended. 

Lower heat to medium-low, add half of the onions and cook gently, stirring, until fragrant and soft, about 5 minutes.
Add tomatoes and salt.

Cover and cook until mixture is fragrant and has reduced to a rough paste, roughly 15 minutes. Check occasionally to make sure tomato is not sticking to bottom of pan. If it is, stir well and splash in some water.

Sear the meat

In a heavy-bottomed 5-quart Dutch oven, heat oil 1/4 cup of oil on high heat until hot but not smoking. Lightly season meat with salt. Working in batches, sear beef on all sides,  then transfer to a plate.  
Tip: As you set aside cooked meat, put some curry paste over it so the flavors can absorb into meat while you finish cooking the rest of the batches. This is optional and a step I made up on the fly. 

Throw it the Pot

In a heavy bottomed pot, like a Le Creuset, add paste, beef, and water. Give it a big stir, then cook uncovered to meld flavors, about 5 minutes. Bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat. Simmer until beef is chewy-tender (close to being done), about 1.5 hours. Add reserved marinade.

Add Veggies

Add carrots & potatoes. Return to simmer, adjusting heat, if needed. Cook, uncovered, until carrots and beef are tender, about 30 minutes.  
Tip: Cooking it uncovered will help reduce and thicken the soup. Cut the carrots into halves & thirds so they didn't become mushy.


Remove bay leaf, lemongrass and star anise. Then serve with your choice of sides and toppings.


  • You can use one or all of the cuts, or swap with beef shank  
    • Stew cut (pre-cubed) is cheaper than chuck at Costco
  • Slice the white oninons on a mandoline
  • Try Three Crabs for the fish sauce
    • If you're gluten-free or like more high-end, try Red Boat
  • If you want to take the authenticity up another level, use annatto 
  • Lemongrass can be purchased at Ranch 99, other asian markets, or speciality produce stores 
Thanks to...

Enjoy, honey!

Monday, May 19, 2014

Meal Plan | May 2014 (Part II)

Ever since I found out about my food intolerances, I have been feverishly scouring Bloglovin. I definitely sleep later at night than I should because I'm searching for bloggers who cook the way I need to eat and make it look easy.

My stream of consciousness: I discovered nutritional yeast. You can add it to nuts to make vegan cheese! I introduced my pastry chef sister to egg-less chia eggs. I finally visited the restaurant where she works. I was reminded, yet again, that the Vitamix does NOT cook soups, even though they claim it does--unless you enjoy the raw taste of warm garlic and vegetables. I saw a garlic plant in its whole form for the first time.

Hubby & I celebrated our 3rd anniversary. Hurray!
Photo Credit: Mollie Jane Photography
South Coast Farms CSA
Organic Garlic Plant
Please read on for my meal plan.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Meal Plan | May 2014 (Part I)

These days, I am trying to convince myself that my daily gluten-free cooking routine hasn't changed significantly after eliminating corn, soy, and oats. It's so hard to not have any dairy (oh, glorious cheese) and eggs.

Dinners typically follow the format of a grilled/roasted protein and vegetable-based side. I know starches are usually the third part of this trifecta, but gluten-free grains or carbs don't always have to make an appearance to make a fulfilling meal.

Organic CSA Basket 
It's the last basket of the Spring Quarter!
  • (1) bunch scallion
  • (3) bunch late Spring Walla Walla onions
  • (1) bunch cilantro
  • (1) bunch black kale
  • (2) bunch red kale
  • (1) bunch beets with tops
  • (1) bunch baby turnips with tops
  • (1) bunch rainbow chard
  • (2) bunch collard greens
  • (2) large zucchinis
  • (2) cucumbers
  • (3) apples
  • (2) tangerines
  • (1) bunch broccoli
  • (1) fennel with tops
  • (2) avocados
Video: Here's a look at all the produce I get for just $35 every other week. Produce is harvested on the same day. Now, that's fresh!

Meal Plan

Here's what I'll be making for the next two weeks:

Recipes marked with an * are from my latest book purchase called My Viring Diet Cookbook by
Rebecca Lorraine. Recipes are gluten-free, soy-free, egg-free, corn-free, peanut-free, and sugar-free.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Meal Plan | April 2014 (Part I)

(Very) Long time, no see. 

Where have I been?!

During Lent, I decided to take a step back from promoting myself (e.g., this blog and my business), particularly on social media. I wanted to focus on my full-time job, husband, our home, and mentoring younger women in my community.

On top of that, I recently discovered, in addition to gluten, that I am also intolerant to even more foods, quite significant ones. Want details? Check out the new About Me section.

With the overwhelming news, I returned to my blog to help me be more proactive about what I buy, cook, and eat. (The good news is that there are people out there like me, and their blogs have been a comfort and inspiration to me.)

Now that Spring is in full swing, I decided to expand my herb garden, attempt to grow some vegetables, and even worm compost!

I was a busy little shopper earlier this month. Read on to see all the yummy ingredients that I got and a meal plan to boot.

Friday, February 7, 2014

Meal Planning | February 2014 (Part I)

What have I been up to the last month or so? I've been making a concerted effort to keep up on chores and started yoga again. And, spending more time with my husband <3. 

This week, I decided to go back on the Repairvite gut cleansing program for quick reboot for a few days. I should probably do it for at least five to seven days, but I just don't think I can commit. I don't even know how I survived the 30 day plan last year!
The reason for my detox revisitation is because I ate a non-gluten free sandwich on Saturday due to restaurant error. Plus, I overdosed on rice last week and, with all my baking, I've been eating lot of grains and sugar lately. I feel foggy; not as sharp. My neck & back muscles are sore. In general, I'm not feeling yippity skippity.

The Repairvite program that I do consists of the following:
Repairvite herbal & amino acid supplement (1 scoop powder, 2x/day) 
Strengthia probiotis (1 pill, 2x/day) 
GI-Synergy dietary supplements (3 pills, 2x/day)
You can buy these products on Amazon, but I highly encourage you to do the regimen & diet under the care of a healthcare professional such as a holistic doctor or nutritionist. The dose, frequency, and duration is different for each individual - typically determined by results of your blood work and symptomsRefer to this brochure for details on the diet. 

Anyway, onto my very comprehensive meal plan. As you know I do CSA and Winder Farms. Last week, I gave Farm Fresh to You a shot. Suffice to say, I have a fully stocked fridge, so it's a must for me to stay on my meal plan over the next week or so.

South Coast Farms CSA Basket

1 bunch Red Chard
1 bunch Tatsoi 
1 head Cabbage
1 bunch Atomic Red Carrots 
1 bunch Cilantro
1 bunch Curly Parsley
2 bunch Beets
2 bunch Baby Turnips
2 Kohlrabi
2 Red Onion
1 Grapefruit
1 head Broccoli
3 Kiwi
2 Pears

Farm Fresh to You Box

1 bunch Amarosa Fingerling Potatoes  
1/3 bag Yukon Gold Potatoes 
2 extra large Sweet Potatoes

Monday, December 30, 2013

Meal Plan | Week of 12-29-13

This will be the last meal plan of 2013. Wow, I can't believe it!

Even with the holidays, I've been trying to stay on track with cooking at home. Since I have a couple days off this week, I'm going to go a little "all out," especially with the baking.

I bought my proteins from Sprouts. My CSA is still on break, so I'll be getting my produce from Winder Farms.

Organic Produce Box Items:
3 Apples
2 D'Anjou Pears
4 Kiwi
1 lb of French Fingerling Potatoes
1 Bulb of Fennel
1 Bunch of Carrots
1 Bunch of Broccoli I still have two heads of broccoli from last week, too. Any ideas aside from soup & roasting? Please comment below!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Pumpkin Spoonbread

Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash
Pumpkin Spoonbread - Baked
My eyes have been opened to the world of spoonbread. After I made this basic version, I decided to make a holiday version using pumpkin. 
Photo Credit: Succulent Succotash
Recipe from Bon Appetit Thanksgiving Edition
Here is my adaption for a less savory version of Bon Appetit's pumpkin spoonbread. It's a super moist cross between pumpkin pie & bread pudding. 

  • 2½ cups whole milk
  • ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter 
  • 2 tsp kosher salt 
  • 1 cup stone-ground yellow cornmeal  
  • ¼ tsp ground nutmeg I grated my fresh from the nut
  • 1 cup canned pure pumpkin purée Bon App recommends Libby's
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger  
For a sweeter version, add 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar