tonight's dinner, i prepared a "traditional vietnamese beef stew or Bò (beef) Kho (stew)" for any viet gaffers out here. Like various asian dishes, the preparation & cooking time for these meals can take a lot of time and patience.
okay first, i have roughly 2kg worth of "gravy beef" (im sure most other cuts of beef should be okay), which has been sliced fairly thick, just under 1cm width.
beef needs to have it own basic marinade, so i added roughly 2-3 tbspns of salt, about 3-4 tbspns of good ol' fish sauce (because most meat dishes prepared by us asians can not be done without fish sauce ). about 3 tspns of garlic paste, & 1 finely chopped onion.
A paste I made is added to the stew to give its unique flavour (Or you can find this in a jar or even powdered form from a chinese grocery store). (i'm roughly making these ratios, because i do not have a set ratio of how much spices to use).
4-5 big tbspns of paprika
1 big tbspn of ground cloves
3-4 big tbspns of 5 spice powder (it consists of fennel, star anise, ginger, cinnamon & garlic all grounded).
4-5 dried chillis soaked in water (the number can alternate, depending on taste).
Add all the spices into a blender or a blitzer with some of the water from the soaked chilli and blend until a paste has formed. I also added in a little olive oil to maintain the form of the paste.
Before starting, I finely chopped another onion and "sweated it" in the pot before adding the paste stirring it for a couple of minutes before I added in the meat.
After 20-30 mins of adding the meat, some water has been drawn due to the juices from the meat coming out given it has been cooking for quite some time & also I added about 800g worth of tomato puree to give it a bit of extra flavour. Please note, I have not added any boiling water to the stew yet.
After 50 mins passed, I added about 2 litres of boiling water and carrots. During various stages, some scum will form presumably from the meat. Its important to remove it as it would ruin the taste of the stew. Bring the soupy stew to taste by adding about roughly 3 tbspns of fish sauce and salt (depends on taste) to the stew, adding 2 tbspns of chicken powder also helps improve the taste. For now, the stew is not finished mainly because the pieces of beef are rather stiff/hard and has not absorbed the flavours of the stew. This is where some patience is required, bring the pot to a low simmering heat for about 45-60 mins. This will allow the beef to slowly mingle with the soupy stew whilst softening as time goes by.
Once completed, I just served the stew with rice with some chopped coriander on top as some sort of garnish, unfortunately it looks so poor on the photo. Enjoy!