Spicy Oxtail Stew (Bo Kho Dui Bo)

This is the spicy oxtail stew that will knock your socks off.  It's one of my favorite Vietnamese stews that is so satisfying and so easy to make with the help of the pressure cooker. What makes this stew popular is the highly fragrant spices that goes into the seasoning of the broth. No worries, the red-powder seasoning from a package labeled, "Vietnamese Bo Kho", is sold in almost all Vietnamese markets. Once you make this stew, you'll be best friends with your pressure cooker. So go grab yourself some fresh breads from the local bakery like a baguette or any bread with a nice crust and go to town with this stew! 

RECIPE for 4-6 servings

2 lbs of medium sized oxtail
1 pouch of "Pho" seasoning
1 package of "Oriental Beef Spices or Vietnamese Spicy Beef Stew" (Bo Kho) seasoning
1 bulb of garlic, minced
3-4 cups of carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
1/2 white onion, chopped
2-3 stalks of lemongrass, bruised and cut into 6-inch chunks
4 oz of tomato pasted
3 tbs of cornstarch, optional, to thicken the stew
Salt, pepper and little sugar to taste
4 cups of water, and more as needed
1 bunch of fresh basil

Dipping sauce:
Combine all these: 1 tbs of salt, 1 tsp of black pepper and wedges of lime.

Since the pressure cooker cooks the meat well but will make the carrots too soft, I am opting to cook the carrots on the stove stop separately.

1. Prepare a small pot with 4 cups of water and cook the carrots with a tsp of salt under just cooked, about 15 mins.
2. Sear each oxtail using the pressure cooker pot, for about 5 mins. Season meat with a couple pinches of salt and some fresh ground pepper.
3. Add in the seasoning pouch, the stew seasoning powder, lemon grass, water and tomato paste. Cook for 30 mins on "pressured high". Turn off heat. Wait until the steam subsided before opening the lid, which could be another 15 mins. (The time the pressure cooker gets to "pressured high" could be ~30 mins)
4. Add in the carrots and its cooking liquid to the stew. 
5. Place about 1 cup of water in a small bowl and add in 2 tbs of corn starch. Dissolve the starch and then add to the hot stew. The hot soup will "cookout" the starch taste and thicken the stew.
5. Season the stew with salt, pepper and a couple spoons of sugar to your taste. 

Enjoy with bread or rice.