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Vietnamese Beef Stew with Green Peppercorns (Bo Ham Tieu Xanh)

Vietnamese beef stew with green peppercorns ("Bo Ham Tieu Xanh") features tender beef cubes, potatoes and carrots in a flavorful sauce with mild heat and zestiness from fresh green peppercorns. Serve it with crusty bread for a comforting meal.
Prep Time20 mins
Cook Time1 hr 40 mins
Total Time2 hrs
Course: Main Dish
Cuisine: Vietnamese
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 384kcal
Author: Sophie

Ingredients

For the beef

  • 1.5 lb beef cubes, about 1.5-inch thick (see Notes for choosing beef cuts)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil (and more for cooking)
  • black pepper

Other ingredients

  • 1 small onion, cut into wedges (about 1/2-2/3 cup)
  • 3 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 oz green peppercorns
  • 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon tomato paste
  • 2 cups fresh coconut juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt (or more to taste)
  • 1 lb potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 2 carrots, peeled and rolled-cut

Instructions

  • Cut beef into 1.5-inch thick cubes and mix with 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon soy sauce, 1 teaspoon olive oil and black pepper. Set aside. If you have time, you can marinate for 1-2 hours for tastier results.
  • Cut onion into wedges, slice shallots and mince garlic. Also use a pestle and mortar to slighly crack 1 teaspoon of green peppercorns (or roughly chop with a knife).
  • In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium to medium-high heat, add olive oil. Once the oil is hot, add beef cubes and sear until brown. Transfer to a bowl.
  • Lower heat to medium. Add onion wedges to the pot and sauté until onion is fragrant. Add shallots, garlic and cracked green peppercorns and sauté briefly until fragrant.
  • Add beef cubes back together with 2 teaspoons of flour, stir well. Then add tomato paste and also stir well.
  • Add coconut juice and water and once it starts to boil, reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and bay leaves. With the lid slightly askew (to leave a small space between the lid and the rim of the pot), gently simmer until beef is almost tender to your liking. I simmer mine for about 70-80 minutes.
  • Add carrots and potatoes to the pot and cook until beef, potatoes and carrots are tender to your liking (which is about 20 minutes for me).
  • Taste and adjust seasoning to your taste. You may also adjust the consistency of the sauce with additional water (to thin it out) or flour (to thicken it).
  • Transfer to serving bowls and garnish with some fresh uncooked green peppercorns (optional). Serve hot with banh mi or your favorite crusty bread.

Notes

My favorite cut to make beef stew is beef shank. If you cannot find it, you can use beef chuck.
If you want the sauce to look slightly red as in my photos, you will need a teaspoon of annatto seeds. Heat oil over medium heat and sauté the annatto seeds in oil briefly until the oil looks red. Discard the seeds and then use the oil to sear the beef cubes. This step is optional and purely for aesthetic look. It has no impact on the flavor of the dish. Annatto seeds can be found at Asian grocery stores or on Amazon.
At the end, if you like the sauce to be thicker, dissolve some flour (or cornstarch) in water and use it to thicken the sauce.

Nutrition

Calories: 384kcal | Carbohydrates: 30g | Protein: 43g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 105mg | Sodium: 1115mg | Potassium: 1569mg | Fiber: 6g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 5112IU | Vitamin C: 22mg | Calcium: 123mg | Iron: 8mg