Thit bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew with basil and star-anise)

From Cookipedia

Thit bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew with basil and star-anise)
Thit bo kho (Vietnamese beef stew with basil and star-anise)
Servings:Serves 6
Calories per serving:396
Ready in:1 hour 30 minutes
Prep. time:15 minutes
Cook time:1 hour 15 minutes
Difficulty:Average difficulty
Recipe author:Chef
First published:31st October 2012
This also went well with new potatoes!

Thit bo kho (beef stew with star anise and basil) is a fragrant and spicy Vietnamese beef stew, coloured red from annatto seeds. It is a favourite breakfast dish in Vietnam.


Printable 🛒 shopping list & 👩‍🍳 method for this recipe

to garnish


  1. Heat the oil in a wok, add the shallots, garlic, chillies, annatto powder, and lemon grass and stir-fry until the onions are translucent and the spices are releasing their aromas.
  2. Add the curry powder and three quarters of the star anise powder, tip in the beef and stir fry it for a few minutes.
  3. Add the stock, soy sauce, nuoc mam and the sugar.
  4. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 40 minutes to 1 hour by which time the sauce should be reduced a little and the meat tender.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste, stir in the remaining star anise powder and the basil leaves
  6. Serve in bowls garnished with sliced onion and coriander leaves

Serving suggestions

Serve with rice or fresh French bread


Vegetables such as carrots, beans, bok choy etc can be added if desired.

Chef's notes

If you cannot obtain annatto seeds, use 2 teaspoons ground turmeric powder, it will be an acceptable alternative. Coat the beef in the turmeric 10 minutes before browning it.


This went well with new potatoes and would also work well with pasta.

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