Vietnamese Beef Stew or Thit Bo Kho is a type of dish in Vietnamese cuisine that is braised in a thick, mildly sweet reddish-brown-colored sauce. It is usually served with steamed white rice or toasted and warm French baguette bread.
3 cups beef stock
2 lb beef, cut into bite size cubes
1 tbsp Annatto seeds
4 tbsp cooking oil
2 tbsp shallots, chopped
1 tbsp garlic, chopped
3 star anise
2 lemongrass stalks, lightly bruised and cut into 2 inch pieces
2 tbsp fish sauce
1 tbsp light soy sauce
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp curry powder
2 tsp fresh or dried red chillies
4 carrots, cut into preferred size, blanched in water for 2 minutes and drained
1/2 cup Thai Basil leaves
1/4 cup small yellow onion, thinly sliced
8 sprigs cilantro, cut into 2 inch lengths
Heat oil in a small saucepan over low heat and add the annatto seeds. Stir a few times and remove immediately from the heat. The seeds will foam on contact with the heat but you don’t want them to burn. Let stand for 10 minutes and then drain off the oil and discard seeds.
Heat half the annatto oil in a large pot on a moderate heat. Add half the shallots, half the garlic, the lemongrass and stir until fragrant.
Add the beef and sauté until the meat is lightly seared. Add the beef stock, fish sauce, soy sauce, sugar and bring to a boil.Then simmer for about 1 hour or until beef is tender.
While the beef is cooking, lightly toast the star anise in a dry pan over a low heat until fragrant (about 3 minutes). Pound into a fine powder.
Heat the remaining annatto oil in a small saucepan over moderate heat. Add the remaining shallots and garlic, star anise powder, curry powder and chillies and sauté until fragrant. Set aside until ready to serve.
About 20 minutes before the beef is done, add carrots and cook until tender. Add spice mixture and mix in well.
Stir in half the basil and transfer to serving bowl and garnish with yellow onion, remaining basil, and cilantro.