How to Make It
Combine beef, fish sauce, brown sugar, and five-spice powder in a large bowl; toss to coat, and set aside.
Program a 6-quart programmable electric pressure cooker to sauté. Add canola oil; working in batches, sear beef on all sides, about 3 minutes, adding additional oil between batches as needed. Transfer seared beef to a plate. Reserve any leftover marinade in bowl.
Reduce heat. Add onion, ginger, and garlic to pressure cooker, and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, 3 to 4 minutes. Increase heat to sauté; add tomatoes, lemongrass, star anise, bay leaf, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture resembles a rough wet paste, 4 to 6 minutes.
Return beef and accumulated juices and any reserved marinade to cooker. Stir to combine, and add 2 1/2 cups water to cover beef. Lock lid. Program cooker to cook at high pressure 10 minutes. Turn it off or unplug it, and naturally depressurize for 18 minutes; carefully turn pressure release valve to venting position to release remaining pressure from cooker until float valve drops.
Unlock lid. Beef should be chewy-tender and should feel firm but yield when pressed. Skim off fat, if needed, and add carrots. Set cooker to sauté, and cook, uncovered, until beef and vegetables are tender and sauce has intensified, about 30 minutes. Add additional water if sauce reduces too much. Let stew rest, uncovered, 5 to 10 minutes. Add additional salt or fish sauce to intensify flavor if needed, or splash in additional water to lighten it.
Remove and discard lemongrass, bay leaf, and star anise (warn guests of potential lingering bits). Divide stew among shallow bowls, and garnish with cilantro. Serve warm.