Bo Kho: Spicy Vietnamese Beef Stew with Noodles

Bo Kho is a spicy and flavorful Vietnamese beef stew that makes a pretty epic bowl of noodle soup. Bho Kho is a nice change to the usual bowl of pho noodles

For the beef:
2 to 2 ½ pounds boneless beef chuck or brisket cut into 1½-inch chunks
2 cloves minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced ginger
5 tablespoons fish sauce
2½ teaspoons five-spice powder
1½ teaspoons brown sugar
For the rest of the stew:
3 tablespoons oil
1 stalk lemongrass, cut into 3-inch lengths (after removing any tough woody parts)
2 stalks lemongrass, minced (after removing any tough woody parts)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, sliced thinly
4 tablespoons tomato paste
8 cups of water
2 cups of pure coconut water/juice
2 whole star anise
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon ground annatto (optional)
1 tablespoon paprika
8 large carrots, peeled and cut on the bias into 1½ -inch chunks
1 teaspoon of salt
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons homemade chili oil, or to taste
Rice or egg noodles
¼ cup coarsely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Thai basil leaves
Thinly sliced raw onion
Lime wedges

First marinate the beef. Combine the beef with the garlic, ginger, fish sauce, five-spice powder, and brown sugar until each piece is evenly coated. Marinate for 30 minutes.
Next, heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large stock pot or Dutch oven over high heat. Add the stalks of lemongrass and allow them to infuse the oil for 1 minute. Next, add the minced lemongrass and garlic. Cook for 2 minutes.
Add the onions and cook until translucent. Then add all of the beef to the pot, and brown evenly on all sides. Add the tomato paste.
Stir and cook uncovered for 5 minutes. Add the water, coconut water, star anise, ground black pepper, chili powder, annatto, and paprika. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer for 1 hour.