make: vietnamese beef stew pie

Nothing beats the warmth and comfort factor of a beef stew on a cold day. Combine that with warm pie crust and you have a wonderful combination that just works. One day we were watching How to Cook Like Heston on Channel 4 and he made an oxtail and kidney pudding and we got inspired. How can we make this recipe our own? The word oxtail rang a bell, our fav stew is a Vietnamese beef stew. This was our unique British/Vietnamese fusion inspired dish. Hope you all enjoy it!




Shortcrust pastry for pie tops
1 lb beef stew meat
1 lb oxtails, or short ribs, or any other beef bones
1 tblsp annatto seeds
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 stalks lemongrass, bruised
2-inch knob ginger, cut into big slices
1 stick of cinnamon
3 star anise
2 bay leaves
2 tsp Chinese 5-spice powder
2 tsp curry powder
100 ml Vietnamese Fish sauce
2 tsp salt
6-oz can tomato paste
2 carrots, cut into 1 cm chunks
3 potatoes or more, cut into 1 cm chunks
1 cup pearl onions, or 1 large onion, cut into 1 cm chunks

Adapted from Wandering Chopstick’s recipe Crock Pot Bo Kho

Changes from the recipe

  1. Cut the vegetables into smaller chunks because we are putting this into a pie at the end
  2. Save some of the stew to make a gravy, this will make the pie even more rich and savoury
Steps to make pies
  1. Prep the dough for the shortcrust pastry.
  2. Cook the beef stew as per instructions.
  3. Once done, separate the meat from the bones and soup and place into individual ramekins.
  4. Save 250ml of the stew to make a gravy. Just flour to thicken
  5. Place gravy into ramekins.
  6. Cover the ramekins with pastry as lids.
  7. Place into the oven at 190C for 20-25 minutes. Remember all you are doing here is cooking the pie part because the meat has already been cooked.
  1. If time is against you just put the annatto seeds into the microwave to bring the colour out.
  2. Remember to sear the oxtail and stewing beef prior to placing into the crock pot.
  3. Remember to score the pastry to let air escape during cooking process.

Put the annatto seeds in the microwave for 30-40 secs to bring out the colour


Even if you are putting the beef into the crock pot, don't forget to sear the meat before putting it into the pot


Everything in the pot! Let this simmer for 4-6 hours at a high level


Shred the meat and place into ramekins


Convert some of the stew into a gravy


Finishing touches prior to placing pies into the oven


Wrap it up in some towels to eat directly from the ramekins, share with friends!

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