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Beef Stew with Carrots & Paprika from Little Vietnam by Nhut Huynh

2010 May 18

Snakebean is a funky little diner on Oxford Street in Darlinghurst. right in my hood, and one of our favourite places to eat. It’s reasonably priced, healthy “fast food” churned out of a teeny little kitchen by Nhut Huynh and his team. Formerly of RQ on Crown Street, Huynh and partner Jeremy McNamara closed RQ to focus on the book Huynh was writing, Little Vietnam. Being a local favourite, when the book was released I just had to buy it.

This lovely autobiographical book has probably suffered in being released in proximity to Secrets from the Red Lantern by Pauline Nguyen, with which is shares a similar story: refugees come to Australia, work hard, make in impact in their chosen field and then write a book. It’s a lovely book and I decided to try my boyfriends’ favourite dish from the restaurant Beef stew with carrots and paprika.

Beef Stew With Carrots and Paprika
Bò Kho

1.5kg Stewing Beef, cubed into 4cm pieces

1 litre chicken stock

2 large carrots, cut into bite size pieces

1 tbs sugar

100ml tomato paste

rice to serve


1 tbs cumin seeds

1 teaspoon coriander seeds

2 tbs salt

1 onion finely chopped

2 tbs finely chopped galangal (I had none so just increased the ginger)

2 tbs finely chopped ginger

2 tbs lemongrass finely chopped (about 2 stalks, white part only)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/4 cup sweet paprika

1/2 tsp five-spice powder

1/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup soy sauce


Dry fry cumin and coriander seeds over low heat for 30 seconds or until fragrant.

Remove and grind into fine powder with a pestle and mortar.

Mix with remaining ingredients until well combined (I used a small food processer attachment on my stick blender, and type of bladed food processor would be useful).


Coat meat in marinade, cover with gladwrap and leave to marinate for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Place meat and marinade in heavy based saucepan and add chicken stock. Bring to the boil over high heat then cook for 30 minutes.

Reduce heat to low and simmer for another 2 hours.

Add carrots, sugar and tomato paste then stir well to combine.

Cook for another 30 minutes or until carrots are tender.

Serve with rice.

My only criticism of this dish is the insane amount of paprika it calls for. Ridiculous for something so expensive. Boyfriend actually prefers this recipe which is still packed with flavour and doesn’t require making the marinade/paste: Vietnamese Beef and Star Anise Stew

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16 Responses leave one →
  1. May 18, 2010

    This looks like a really tasty stew. Great for the incoming inclement weather.
    .-= Mark @ Cafe Campana´s last blog ..International Incident Party – Butterscotch Apple Dumplings =-.

  2. May 18, 2010

    Nhut and Jeremy are great guys and the food is amazing at Snakebean. Have a good look at the “thank you” pages in the last sections of the book..
    .-= Peter G @ Souvlaki For The Soul´s last blog ..Walnut Skordalia =-.

  3. May 19, 2010

    Pretty perfect for the weather that we’re having now!
    .-= Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella´s last blog ..Art Gallery of NSW Restaurant, Sydney =-.

  4. May 19, 2010

    YUM! I have always wanted to go to Snakebean (when I return to Sydney one of my goals will be to overcome my aversion to going east of Hyde Park 😉 I was delighted by Secrets of the Red Lantern because I didn’t realise that it was more than just a cookbook but a beautiful story. I’ll definitely check this book out!
    .-= felixexplody´s last blog ..North, South, Eat and Whet =-.

  5. May 19, 2010

    Bo Kho is great! Mum makes one with a slightly more runnier stew, we eat it with fresh thick rice noodles or crusty bread. I don’t think it has paprika in it though!
    .-= Howard´s last blog ..How to cook a suckling pig on a spit roast =-.

  6. May 19, 2010

    @Howard I would LOVE your mum’s recipe to compare…

  7. May 19, 2010

    @PeterG I looked! You styled the book! Well done you!

  8. May 19, 2010

    That is an insane amount of sweet paprika! Oh my! I really love Bo Kho and I consider it comfort food. I must give this recipe a go. Thank you for sharing
    .-= Amy @ cookbookmaniac´s last blog ..Pho – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup =-.

  9. May 20, 2010

    oh what a great winter dish…LOVE IT!!!
    .-= Lisa´s last blog ..Back to the cold…. =-.

  10. May 20, 2010

    I just love these hearty winter dishes, but agree about the paprika.
    Can you actually taste the 1/2 teaspoon of five-spice underneath all that?
    .-= Amanda´s last blog ..“Fresh” food and tragic teens! =-.

  11. May 20, 2010

    I have tried on not 1 not 2 but 3 trips home to get to Snakebean and every time something has come up! Love the recipe and you are right it does seem like a crazy amount of paprika.
    .-= Melissa´s last blog ..Carrot, Walnut & Orange Blossom Honey Cake. =-.

  12. May 21, 2010

    @Amanda nup, the five-spice doesn’t come through at all. Try the other recipe I linked to. Easier, less paprika, still super tasty

  13. May 23, 2010

    OMNOMNOM. I know what I’m making the next time I buy beef.

    .-= Kitty´s last blog ..Winter Greens Pie =-.

  14. June 3, 2010

    This sounds and looks so delicious. 1/4 cup of paprika sounds massive and potentially bitter from so much? I’m surprised to hear you say paprika is expensive, you need to get to the Fiji Market & stock up.!
    .-= john@heneedsfood´s last blog ..Pastabella, Glebe =-.

  15. June 10, 2012

    This is my favourite dish at my local Vietnamese joint, so I figured I’d look for a recipe, since the owner isn’t giving up his.
    I was hooked as soon as I saw your photos of this dish.

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