Kare-kare | casaveneracion.com

Kare-kare

A rich stew of ox tail, face, leg, tripe or all of them together, and a variety of vegetables in a sauce flavored and thickened with roasted ground peanuts (peanut butter is just as good!) and toasted rice flour.

Another way to prepare kare-kare is to cook the vegetables separately in the stock in which the meat has cooked. The cooked vegetables are arranged in the serving bowl with the meat and the peanut sauce is poured in. This is my preferred method because I have better control over the texture of the vegetables to prevent overcooking them.

Traditionally, as in during my grandparents’ time, kare-kare was cooked with freshly ground roasted peanuts and rice. Well, there’s nothing like cooking it that way, but I find the procedure too much for today’s busy lifestyle. The easiest option is, of course, to get one of those ready mixes that are abundant in supermarkets. I’ve tried a couple brands. The problem was I didn’t have much control over the taste of the cooked kare-kare. The mix determined the final thickness, flavor and color of the dish. If you’re as particular as I am, well, you look for another option.

So, one time I bought “peanut butter” from the wet market. This “peanut butter” is coarser than the bottled variety and unsweetened. It is not made for sandwiches but is sold particularly for cooking kare-kare. Well, the grains were pretty obvious in the sauce and I didn’t like that either.

It was so frustrating that I actually stopped cooking kare-kare for more than a year. Until one day when my mother-in-law asked if we wanted a huge jar of peanut butter that she didn’t know what to do with. My husband, who’s a real peanut butter fan, gladly accepted. The jar was so huge (2 k.) that after a few weeks, it was just sitting, forgotten, way inside the refrigerator. Now this was sandwich peanut butter. Sweet and smooth. I debated for a while then decided to use it for kare-kare. Guess what? I finally found the perfect peanut butter for my kare-kare. The slightly sweet flavor of the sauce was reaallllyyy great especially because I season my kare-kare sufficiently. Kare-kare is usually under-seasoned because it is traditionally served with bagoong (shrimp paste) and the necessary saltiness comes from the bagoong. But I am allergic to it along with other crustaceans — shrimps, lobsters, crabs, prawns… So, I don’t touch the stuff. That’s why I always season my kare-kare well. And that’s why sweetened peanut butter is so perfect.

As to the ground roasted rice, well, I don’t particularly feel like grinding rice with a mortar and pestle. I have a supply of rice flour in the pantry. I toasted half a quarter of a cup in the skillet, mixed it with stock and it did the trick — color, thickness, flavor. I’ve been using this little trick for a long time now.

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Recipe: Kare-kare

Ingredients

  • about 1.25 kg. of ox tail, tripe, leg or face (or a combination of two or more of these)
  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 1 whole onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • salt
  • 1/8 c. of annato seeds (or 1 tbsp. of annatto powder)
    1/2 head of white cabbage
    1 bunch of pechay (pei tsai or bok choy)
    1 bunch of sitaw (yard-long beans)
    2 eggplant
    1 smallĀ puso ng saging (heart of banana plant)
    1/2 c. of peanut butter
    1/4 c. of rice flour
    6-8 c. of stock

Instructions

  1. Rinse the ox tripe, face, tail or leg well. Place in a large casserole and cover with plenty of water. Bring to a boil, removing scum as it rises. Season with salt. Add the bay leaves, garlic and onion. Cover and simmer until tender, about 4 to 6 hours. Alternatively, use a pressure cooker or a slow cooker. If using a different parts of the animal, chances are they won’t cook to the desired tenderness at the same time (the tripe will cook faster than the rest). Inspect the progress of the meat, scoop out the parts that are done, continue cooking the rest, and so on. When all meat is done, scoop out and transfer to a covered bowl. Set aside and keep hot.
  2. Strain stock and measure 6 cups (you may need less but it’s better to be prepared).
  3. If using annatto seeds, add them to the stock while still hot. Leave to allow the seeds to expel its beautiful color. Skip this step is using annatto powder.
  4. Cut the cabbage half into 2 and remove core. Cut off the roots and 1/2 inch of stalks of pechay and discard. Cut of the roots of sitaw and cut into 2″ lengths. Discard the tough outer layers of puso ng sagingĀ and cut inner layers into 2″ x 2″ pieces (see banana heart: how to trim and prepare). Cut the eggplants into 2″ x 2″ cubes.
  5. Place the rice flour in a skillet and toast over medium-high heat until lightly browned and nutty in aroma. Set aside.
  6. Strain the stock and discard the annatto seeds. Bring to the boil (if using annatto powder, add it now) and add the vegetables in the following order with a 2-minute interval : sitaw, eggplant, puso ng saging, white cabbage and pechay. Scoop out the vegetables and arrange in the serving bowl alongside the meat.
  7. Meanwhile, mix roasted rice flour with 1/2 c. of stock. Mix the peanut butter with another 1/2 c. of stock.
  8. Reheat the stock in the pan. Pour in the rice flour mixture, stirring as your pour. Cook until a bit thickened, about three minutes. Stir in the diluted peanut butter. Simmer for about five minutes. Adjust the seasonings, if you like.
  9. Pour the sauce over the meat and vegetables. Stir. Serve hot with bagoong alamang, if you like.

Preparation time: 30 minute(s)

Cooking time: about 6 hours and 30 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4 to 6

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*Updated on January 29, 2014

Comments

    • mrs myers says

      Hey i wanna thank you for your website and now i can be able to try to cook for my husband something different.Thanks and more power…God bless

      • kat says

        finally, a filipino recipe website that is well thought of. thanks, connie :) most pinoy websites are poorly worded, displaying typical pinoy mediocrity…i hate to be another pinoy saying it but it’s true. so yup, i had to let you know that your site is really good, showing concern for the readers by giving exact measurements, time intervals, etc. oh, and the recipes are good and innovative too. all the best to you!

      • Ana says

        hi connie, to be honest, i have been ur avid fan for almost 3 yrs now. I started searching for recipe when i was in Iraq, yes I was in Iraq for 3 yrs and presently in Qatar for over a year now. I was an assistant camp manager in Iraq before and taking care of the restaurant and the accommodation for our 91 clients. Mostly americans, british, irish and Indians. we were just 3 Filipinos there. Every weekend we were having a special night like mexican night, hawaiian bbq night, arabian night and lot more. One day, they asked me to prepare filipino dishes for Filipino night and I couldnt find a recipe though I can cook. I went to my computer and email my mom but seems its hard to estimate the quantity of spices and meat for 91 guests. so i browsed in the internet and i found your website. I cooked kare kare, chicken adobo and pansit. it was a hit and was surprised that they all love our food. I got an applause from them after the dinner. Since then, i regularly check ur web and tried most of your recipe. the only sad thing in middle east is that we dont have pork. but i really like your article about your food hunting as it gives me idea where to go when i go home for vacation soon. thanks a lot and keep up the good work. more good places and good food to look forward to.

  1. jes h. says

    thanks for this delicious kare kare recipe, my wife just went crazy about it telling friends.more power!

  2. ana says

    yah, i was touched and was happy that they like our food. after that, i tried the siopao and i got it right first time i tried it. and when we had our karaoke night in our bar in time for the farewell party of one of our colleagues who were relocated to another country, i made a mini siopao with the italian sausage as the filling. it was a hit again and the spring roll.

    Im proud of our food bec even here in Qatar, im so amazed how foreigners knows our adobo, pansit and even the sinigang na baka at hipon. and they love it.

    • Rjfortyfive says

      Great recipe! I tried cooking this one, and all they can say is – DELICIOUS! Matagal na akong nag hahanap ng recipe ng kare-kare na kugn saan pareho talga sya sa mga natikaman ko sa mga restaurants, only Ms. Connie’s recipe pala can answer…thanks!

  3. eireen says

    hi connie,
    i just want to ask, have you ever tried seafood kare-kare? i know how to cook the traditional kare-kare and my husband loves it! but it’s lenten season now and he is requesting for the seafood version. how is it different from the usual? do i need to use ginger or something? thanks. would love to hear from you soon.
    oh by the way, it’s my first time to visit your site and i find it very interesting for you did not only feature traditional filipino recipes but have added some twist on it as well. will be trying some of it real soon.

    • Renato says

      regarding sea food kare-kare:

      I have tried several different versions of sea food kare-kare, all versions require that some if not all the sea foods be cooked separately.

      One simple version uses tilapia or boneless bangus fillet both of which are pre-fried before adding to the traditional peanut sauce just before serving.

      One of my favorite versions uses squid, fish fillet shrimp and mussles. All the sea foods except for the mussles were first pre-fried with a thin coating of batter before adding to the sauce.

      May everybody have a blessed lenten season!!!

    • Katrina says

      Hi Connie,
      Everytime i crave for filipino food and want to cook it with some guidance (ratio and proportion of ingredients), i always visit your website. You are very thorough, you know what you’re talking about and you are innovative. My husband is american, he likes most filipino food like sinigang (he always mispronounces it and calls it chinigang), bistek, mechado, adobo, kinda…but believe it or not, he loooooves BAGOONG! He eats it with almost anything, even Doritos. And he likes them home cooked, not the bottled ones you buy in stores. I love your recipes and the different takes you come up with to make use of what is available and using substitutes if one ingredient is not very desirable to you. PLUS, and this is a BIG PLUS…i think you are the only Filipino with a food website that is very detailed and thorough. Most filipino food websites are either incomplete, and copied from each other, are not well-thought out and sorry to say, i am proud of my heritage, but typical filipino, they are made half-ass (sorry for the crude term), just like some producst we make, there is no quality control. All i can say is you stand out and so, more power to you, your family and keep up the good work.