Today has been a cold, grey, drizzly day which would have been perfect as a duvet day. Unfortunately, I had appointments and errands to run so I had to go out several times and get rained on. Luckily, I had the perfect warming comfort food bubbling away in my slow cooker, making the whole downstairs of my house smell wonderful and putting a smile firmly back on my face ! I'd decided to adapt the Bo Kho (Vietnamese Beef Stew) recipe from my Kitchen Nomad box so that it would work in the slow cooker.
The fresh ingredients looked pretty much the same as my normal beef stew - potatoes, carrots, onions, beef, stock. The only two things to look slightly out of place compared to my regular dish were ginger and sugar.
Things got a lot more exotic when I added the ingredients from the Kitchen Nomad box. I've already experimented with Fish Sauce and Lemongrass.
Kho Spice was a new one for me though. It smells absolutely heavenly and it looks like a lucky dip, because it has huge whole spices in it - leaves (bay leaves?), star anise, cinnamon and goodness knows what else ! I'll definitely have no trouble using up the rest of the pot - I think it would go with all meats and possibly even fish.
I also discovered the slightly weird looking Annatto Seeds. After opening the pack, I had a sniff and couldn't define the fragrance - at first I thought I could detect a citrus hint, then it morphed into something more like peppermint. I told Sophie to have a sniff and she said aniseed !
The original Bo Kho recipe can be found on the Kitchen Nomad website. The only thing I changed was the cooking times, leaving it to stew for 5 hours in the slow cooker.
I started off browning the beef.
After removing the beef, I heated the Annatto Seeds in oil to release their flavour and colour. Now this part should come with a warning - they started pinging all over the kitchen like popcorn ! After discarding the seeds, the oil was fragranced and coloured red.
Perfect for frying off the ginger and garlic.
Time to dig into that wonderful Kho spice mix.
I gave a generous sprinkle all over the meat then poured the whole lot into the slow cooker and added some stock. (I omitted the cider because you always need less liquid when slow cooking.)
I soaked the lemongrass stalks in the cooking juices before adding them to the slow cooker.
I sliced the carrots and potatoes and added those too. Then took a leap of faith and threw in the salt, sugar and fish sauce (which really sound like they shouldn't be mixed !).
I stirred it all up every couple of hours to make sure the spices covered all the ingredients.
Here's the final dish, which we decided to serve with rice. The flavours worked well together and it made a lovely exotic and beautifully flavoured twist on my usual slow cooker beef stew.
Disclosure : I received a discounted Kitchen Nomad subscription in order to keep you up to date with their latest boxes.
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