Any Filipino fiesta or party would be incomplete without kare-kare, a stew that consists of ox tripe, ox tail, or both — cooked in rich, thick peanut sauce and served with tasty bagoong (shrimp paste). It is a traditional dish often served by Filipino restaurants, though with the right ingredients and clear instructions, any aspiring chef can make it, too!
Aside from ox tripe, other ingredients can be used, such as beef shank, pork leg, or even seafood like mussels, prawns, and squid. You can even make vegetable kare-kare (without any meat or seafood), which is perfect for the vegetarians and the health conscious out there!
How to Cook Filipino Kare-Kare
There are actually three theories about the origins of Filipino kare-kare. First, some say it hailed from Pampanga province, which is also known as “the culinary capital of the Philippines.” Secondly, it may have come from the Moro elite who settled in Manila before the Spanish colonial period. Third, Indian conscripts who settled in the country during the British occupation of Manila may have improvised their “curry” using local ingredients, and came up with “kari-kaari,” which eventually became kare-kare.
Regardless of where it may have originated, we do know that kare-kare is here to stay as a favourite dish in Filipino fiestas and gatherings. This dish can take around 2 hours and 40 minutes to prepare, unless you have a pressure cooker to help shorten the cooking time!
- 3 lbs ox tripe or ox tail cut into 2-inch pieces
- 4 pieces eggplant (sliced)
- 1 piece banana flower (sliced)
- 1 bundle string beans cut into 2-inch slices
- 1 bundle pechay
- 1 cup ground peanuts
- 1 liter water
- 1/2 cup peanut butter
- 1/2 cup shrimp paste
- 1/2 cup annatto seeds soaked in 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup toasted ground rice
- 1 tbsp garlic (minced)
- 1 piece onion (chopped)
- salt and pepper (to taste)
- Bring the water to boil in a large pot.
- Put in the ox tripe (or ox tail) and simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours or until tender. If you are using a pressure cooker, you can shorten this to just 35 minutes.
- When the meat is tender, add the ground peanuts, peanut butter, and water from the annatto seed mixture as coloring. Let simmer for 5 to 7 minutes.
- Add the toasted ground rice and let simmer for 5 minutes.
- In a separate pan, saute the garlic before adding the eggplant, banana flower, and string beans. Cook these for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the cooked vegetables to the large pot, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- The kare-kare is now ready! Serve with bagoong.
Please note that this recipe is good for about 6 servings. Kare-kare is best served with plain white rice and a dash of bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). Yum!
Different Versions of Kare-Kare
As mentioned earlier, you can replace the main ingredient in your kare-kare to come up with different versions. You can make beef kare-kare using beef shank, beef chuck, or other cuts of beef. Pork kare-kare using pork leg or pata is also a popular version, along with seafood kare-kare (with shrimp, mussels, crabs, prawns, and squid) and vegetable kare-kare.
All this talk about kare-kare has certainly made us hungry! If you are craving for this traditional Filipino dish, see if you can find the ingredients and start preparing it for you and your loved ones. And speaking of Pinoy food, check out our chicken adobo recipe for another culinary dish that the whole family will definitely enjoy!