Hủ Tiếu Bò Kho Instant Pot is a swift approach to cooking Bò Kho, a traditional Vietnamese beef stew, by utilizing the convenience of an Instant Pot.
This dish entails a rich and hearty soup, featuring succulent beef shank, carrots, and onions, all floating in a fragrant broth infused with mild citrus hints of lemongrass.
In this post, I will guide you on how to cook Bò Kho using both the Instant Pot and the stovetop methods. This recipe doesn’t call for specific “Bò Kho” seasoning, providing you with greater flexibility in your cooking.
🙋♀️ What is Bò Kho?
Bò kho (Vietnamese beef stew) is a delectable dish in which chunks of beef shank are seared and tenderly braised in a tantalizing broth of coconut water, lemongrass, ginger, cinnamon and star anise.
Originating from South Vietnam, this popular delicacy may have been influenced by the Chinese immigrant communitymduring the 1950s.
By infusing Chinese spices with local ingredients such as lemongrass and coconut water, the Vietnamese people have created a flavorsome and comforting soup which could brighten up even the dreariest of days.
This Bò Kho can be enjoyed with Vietnamese baguette (Bánh Mì Bò Kho), egg noodles (Mì Bò Kho), or hu tieu noodles (Hủ Tiếu Bò Kho).
Interestingly, Bò Kho in the Northern Vietnam differs significantly. Northern Bò Kho refers to a caramelized braised beef dish served with steamed rice.
Actually, the northern version’s counterpart to Bo Kho is Bò Sốt Vang (Vietnamese red-wine beef stew), which was inspired from the French dish Beef Bourguignon during the period of colonization.
❤️ Why you will love this recipe
- Rich and Flavorful: The combination of seared beef shank, coconut water, lemongrass, ginger, and star anise creates a delightful and hearty soup, especially to warm up on a cool day.
- Versatile Accompaniments: While I personally enjoy Bo Kho with hu tieu noodles, you just feel free to pair it with Vietnamese baguette (Banh Mi) or egg noodles.
- Easy and Quick: Thanks to the convenience of the Instant Pot, this recipe significantly reduces the cooking time. I will show you how to cook this stew on Stovetop also.
- No “Bo Kho” Seasoning Required: suitable for those who can’t find this ingredient at their local Asian Markets.
The ideal beef cuts for Bò Kho?
When preparing Bo Kho or any beef stews, I recommend to use the beef cuts that contain a generous amount of connective tissues since they could become tender and juicy when cooked for a longer period of time.
It is best to include some beef bones, as they help enhance the flavor of the broth. Lean cuts like tenderloin or short loin are not suitable for this dish. Instead, you can opt for beef shank, beef chuck, beef brisket, oxtail, and bone-in short ribs.
Lemongrass, garlic, shallot, ginger, cinnamon, and star anise: These ingredients create the distinctive and irresistible aroma of the stew.
Vietnamese five-spice powder and Vietnamese curry powder: These can be used as substitutes for Bo Kho seasoning, or you can use Bo Kho seasoning also.
Both Vietnamese five spice powder and Vietnamese curry powder have a milder aroma compared to Chinese five-spice powder and Indian curry powder. You can also use Thai Yellow Curry Paste as a substitute for Vietnamese curry powder.
Other Ingredients to Enhance Flavor and Color: Annatto oil, ketchup, coconut water, chicken powder, salt, fish sauce, cooking wine, and rock sugar or granulated sugar (if you don’t use coconut water)
Vegetables: Carrots and onions. (no potatoes in traditional Bò Kho).
Serving Options: enjoy Bo Kho with Hu Tieu Noodles, Egg Noodles, or Vietnamese Baguette. Don’t forget to complement the soup with fresh herbs like Thai basil, sawtooth coriander and mung bean sprouts.
📝 Instructions with Instant Pot
Marinating the beef:
- Cut the beef into 4cm (1½ inch) cubes.
- In a small saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of cooking oil. Add minced garlic and stir-fry until fragrant. Add Bo Kho seasoning, or the combination of five spice powder and Vietnamese curry powder (or Thai Yellow Curry paste). Stir-fry the seasonings with garlic until fragrant. This step elevates the flavor of your Bo Kho, but you can skip it by simply mixing all the seasonings with the beef for marinating.
- Allow the seasonings to cool slightly, then marinate the beef with the seasonings, chicken powder, fish sauce, cooking wine, salt and annatto oil. Let it rest for at least 30 minutes in the fridge, or overnight for the best flavor.
Preparing the vegetables:
- Cut the lemongrass into 10cm (4 inches) sticks, reserving the leafy tops for later use. Use a mallet to lightly smash the meaty stalks to release their aroma and flavor.
- Slice the ginger into thin slices. Finely mince the shallots.
- Cut the carrots into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks and thinly slice the onions.
Cooking Bo Kho with Instant Pot:
- Press the “Saute” button on the Instant Pot and select high heat mode. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil to the pot, followed by star anise and cinnamon. Stir-fry until fragrant. Next, add ginger, minced shallots and lemongrass, and continue stir-frying until they release their fragrant aromas.
- Add all the marinated beef to the pot along with ketchup. Pan fry until the beef develops a nice color and caramelization. If you have beef bones, you can add them now. Pour in one liter of coconut water (or water).
- Season the stew with ½ tsp of chicken powder, 1 tsp of salt, and 1-2 tbsp of sugar (if not using coconut water).
- Press the “Cancel” button to reset the cooking program. Lock the lid and select “Pressure Cook” at high pressure for 14 minutes. Let the pressure naturally releases until the float valve drops.
- When the time is done, unlock the lid. The beef may still be slightly chewy at this stage. Discard the star anise and cinnamon. If needed, skim off any excess fat and scums, then add the carrots.
- Press the “Cancel” button again to reset the cooking program. Press the “Saute” button on high heat mode. Cook the stew until the beef and carrots are tender to your liking (about 15 minutes). This allows better control over the tenderness of the beef and vegetables.
- Add the sliced onions and cook for 2-3 minutes. The cooked onions add sweetness to the broth and thicken it without using cornstarch slurry.
- Adjust the seasoning of the stew with salt, chicken powder, and annatto oil for color enhancement. If the soup is too salty, you can add a little water to reduce the saltiness.
- Cook Hu Tieu noodles or egg noodles according to the instructions on the package. Drain the noodles and rinse with cold water.
- To serve, place Hu Tieu noodles in a bowl and ladle the beef stew over the noodles.
- Garnish with Thai basil leaves and serve with lime, mung bean sprouts, and sawtooth coriander. Bo Kho can also be enjoyed with Vietnamese Baguette or toasted bread.
🌟 How to cook Hu Tieu Bo Kho without Instant Pot
If you don’t have an Instant Pot, don’t worry! You can still cook Hu Tieu Bo Kho on the stovetop.
After stir-frying the marinated beef with aromatics and adding coconut water, simmer the stew for 1 hour over medium-low heat. Then, add carrots and continue cooking for another 15 minutes.
The remaining steps are similar to the Instant Pot method.
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Hủ Tiếu Bò Kho Instant Pot (Vietnamese Beef Stew)
- 6-quart Instant Pot
- 1 mixing bowl
Marinating the beef
- 1.7 lb Beef shank (Beef chuck, beef brisket, oxtail) (750g(
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Vietnamese 5-spice powder (you can substitue all 5-spice powder and Vietnamese curry powder with 1½ tsp Bo Kho Seasoning)
- ½ tsp Vietnamese Curry Powder (or 1 tsp Thai Yellow Cury Paste)
- 1 tbsp chicken powder
- 1 tbsp fish sauce
- ½ tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp cooking wine (optional)
- 1 tbsp annatto oil
Aromatics, Vegetables, and Seasonings
- 4 stalks lemongrass
- 1 tbsp minced shallots (optional)
- ½ thumb-sized piece ginger
- 1 tbsp ketchup (optional)
- 2 small sticks cinnamon
- 1 star anise
- ½ large onion
- 2 medium-sized carrots
- 1 liter coconut water
- Chicken Powder, Salt, Sugar (adjust to taste)
- Hu Tieu Noodles or Egg Noodles or Vietnamese Baguette
- Thai Basils, sawtooth coriander, Mung Bean Sprouts, Lime wedges
Marinating the beef
- Dice the beef into 4cm (1½ inch) cubes.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a small saucepan. Sauté garlic until it becomes fragrant. Add Bo Kho seasoning or a blend of five spice powder and Vietnamese curry powder (or Thai Yellow Curry paste). Stir-fry the seasonings with garlic until they release their aromatic flavors. This step intensifies the taste of your Bo Kho; however, you can skip it by directly mixing all the seasonings with the beef for marination.
- Allow the seasoned mixture to cool down slightly, then use it to marinate the beef along with chicken powder, fish sauce, cooking wine, salt, annatto oil, and paprika powder.
- Let the beef marinate for at least 30 minutes in the refrigerator, or for optimal flavor, marinate it overnight.
Preparing the vegetables
- Trim the lemongrass into 10cm (4 inches) sticks, keeping the leafy tops aside for later. Gently pound the meaty stalks with a mallet to unlock their fragrance and flavor.
- Thinly slice the ginger.
- Dice the carrots into 2.5cm (1 inch) chunks and thinly slice the onions.
Cooking Bo Kho with Instant Pot
- Press the "Saute" button on the Instant Pot and set it to high heat mode. Add 1 tbsp of cooking oil to the pot, then add star anise and cinnamon. Sauté until they become fragrant. Next, add ginger, minced shallots, and lemongrass, and continue sauteing until their delightful aromas are released.
- Add all the marinated beef to the pot, along with ketchup. Pan fry the beef until it achieves a desirable color and caramelization. If you have beef bones, you can add them at this stage. Pour in one liter of coconut water (or water) to the pot.
- To season the stew, add ½ tsp of chicken powder, 1 tsp of salt, and 1-2 tbsp of sugar (if you're not using coconut water).
- To reset the cooking program, press the "Cancel" button on the Instant Pot. Ensure the lid is securely locked, and then select the "Pressure Cook" setting at high pressure for a duration of 14 minutes. Allow the pressure to release naturally until the float valve drops.
- After unlocking the lid, you may notice that the beef is still slightly chewy. Remove the star anise and cinnamon from the pot, and if needed, skim off any excess fat or scum. Then, add the carrots to the pot.
- Reset the cooking program by pressing the "Cancel" button once more. Activate the "Saute" mode on high heat. Allow the stew to simmer until the beef and carrots have reached the desired level of tenderness (approximately 15 minutes). This method provides better control over the texture of the beef and vegetables.
- Add the sliced onions to the stew and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes. The cooked onions infuse the broth with sweetness and naturally thicken it (no need to use cornstarch slurry).
- Adjust the seasoning of the stew by adding salt, chicken powder, and annatto oil for color enhancement. If the soup tastes too salty, you can dilute it with a small amount of water.
- Prepare Hu Tieu noodles or egg noodles by following the instructions on the package. Cook the noodles then drain and rinse with cold water.
- To serve, place a portion of Hu Tieu noodles in a bowl and generously ladle the flavorful beef stew over the noodles.
- Garnish with fresh Thai basil leaves and serve alongside lime wedges, mung bean sprouts, and sawtooth coriander. You also could enjoy Bo Kho with Vietnamese Baguette or toasted bread.
- Start by stir-frying the marinated beef with aromatics and adding coconut water.
- Allow the stew to simmer on medium-low heat for 1 hour.
- Then, add the carrots and continue cooking for an additional 15 minutes.
- The remaining steps closely mirror the Instant Pot method.