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a bowl of Vietnamese beef stew
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5 from 26 votes

Instant Pot Vietnamese Beef Stew (Bò kho)

My Instant Pot Vietnamese beef stew (bo kho) is loaded with tender pieces of beef shank and tendon, sweet chunks of carrots, and an aromatic broth with notes of lemongrass and star anise.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time35 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 8 servings
Author: Vy Tran

Ingredients

Marinade

  • 2 pounds beef shank, cut into 1.5 inch cubes
  • 1 pound beef tendon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tbsps fish sauce
  • ½ tablespoon Chinese five spice
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • ¼ tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 3 lemongrass stalks, coarse outer layers removed, top and bottom trimmed, and cut into 3 inch batons and smashed

For the soup

  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 large shallots or 1 medium red onion, roughly chopped
  • 1 tablespoon garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 star anise
  • 2 1-inch ginger knobs, smashed
  • 2 tbsps tomato paste
  • ½ cup Hoisin sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tbsps brown sugar
  • 6 cups water
  • 1 pound medium carrots, peeled, cut into 2-inch chunks

For serving

  • 1 loaf of French baguette or sourdough, toasted and sliced
  • 1 handful of Thai basil
  • ¼ cup Vietnamese sawtooth herbs, cut into small pieces

Dipping sauce

  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 bird eye's chili, thinly sliced

Instructions

  • For the marinade, stir together fish sauce, garlic, 5-spice powder, lemongrass, and pepper.
  • Put beef shank and tendons in a large bowl, add marinade and toss to coat. Let marinate for at least 60 minutes, or longer if time permits. 
  • Program an 8-quart programmable IP to Sauté. Add oil making sure to coat the bottom. Sear the beef in two batches until all sides are brown, about 5 minutes, adding more oil between batches as needed. Transfer seared beef to a plate. Reserve any leftover marinade in bowl.
  • Add shallot, ginger, garlic, lemongrass, and star anise to pressure cooker. Cook stirring often, until fragrant, about 3 minutes.
  • Add tomato paste, sugar, Hoisin sauce, and salt. 
  • Return seared beef, tendons, accumulated juices and any reserved marinade to cooker. Stir to combine, and add 6 cups of water to cover the solids. 
  • Press Cancel button to reset cooking program. Lock lid. Select Pressure Cook at high pressure for 20 minutes. Manually release the pressure from cooker until float valve drops.
  • Unlock lid. Beef and tendon should be chewy-tender but still have some bite. Skim off fat, if needed, and add carrots. 
  • Lock lid. Select Pressure Cook at high pressure for 3 minutes. Manually release the pressure from cooker until float valve drops.
  • Taste and season with additional fish sauce or sugar to your taste. If it's too salty, add water to lighten it.
  • To make the dipping sauce, in a small bowl mix all the ingredients together.
  • To serve, ladle beef stew into individual bowls. Garnish basil, sawtooth, and a sprinkle of freshly ground pepper. Serve with salt/lime/chili mixture and toasted baguette.

Notes

  • Marinate the beef for at least 1 hour for the best flavor. You can also marinate it the night before.
  • Have all your ingredients prepped and ready to go. 
  • Brown the beef in batches because you don’t want to overcrowd them in the pressure cooker. 
  • Depending on what cuts of beef you use, the cooking time will slightly vary. I used a combination of beef shank and tendons and both needed to be cooked on HIGH pressure to become tender but still have some bite.
  • If you’re using a softer cut of beef like beef chuck, start with 15 minutes on HIGH pressure and check for firmness. Cook for an additional 2-5 minutes if it’s not to your liking. You can always add more time rather than starting with 20 minutes and ending up with mushy beef. 
  • The carrots need about 3-5 minutes to become tender depending on how big you cut them.  
  • Skim off the fat at the surface if it’s too oily for your taste.
  • Taste and adjust your seasoning at the end with additional fish sauce, sugar, or water.