Kare-Kare (Easy version)

Kare-Kare has got to be one of the dishes that your grandmother or mother have made for special occasions and/or weekends. My mom makes this the traditional way, she toasts glutinous rice and peanuts then grinds them up to make the sauce sticky. She makes the best Kare-Kare (in my opinion!).

I first made Kare-Kare in March 2010 when we had a big jar of tasteless peanut butter at home, my peanut-butter-lover-husband-to-be couldn’t finish it so I had an “aha” moment — which is also the light bulb moment in cartoons (just in case you don’t know what an aha moment is…). I was afraid it wouldn’t taste anything close to what my mom makes! Fortunately, it was very close to my mom’s version. 🙂 So ever since I made it this way, I didn’t try the more tedious method (but one day, I intend to!). That tasteless peanut butter never graced our home again, so I would use my husband’s Skippy Super Chunky (Yes, it is his — I don’t like the american peanut butter, I like Ludy’s! Hahaha!)! Please do not use the sweet variants of peanut butter. For me, Ludy’s is just for bread, never ever ever for Kare-Kare.

For this, you would need a pressure cooker — or a lot of time to kill. 🙂 Here in Hong Kong, I would use ox-tail because as much as I love the ox-tripe more, I am unable to find any “clean” one here. I am not yet superwoman. 🙂 My mom would buy that and clean it — and it takes her so long to finish cleaning it so I just stayed away. 😛 In the Philippines, I am able to buy ox-tripe in packs (We usually go to Landmark, Makati).

I started to peel 3 shallots (or you could use 1 medium onion) and 2 garlic cloves.

Next, I got my pressure cooker and added 3 cups of water, added the onions, garlic cloves and 6 pieces of ox-tail. I cooked it for 90 minutes. *My husband and I like the sauce, that explains the 3 cups of water.

When that’s done, I added 16 tablespoons of peanut butter. I know, you what you’re thinking — “WOAH! That’s A LOT!”. Yes, that is a lot, but you’re not going to dump in all 16 tablespoons of it. I started with 6 then another 6 then 4 tablespoons. Make sure that the peanut butter is dissolved – I got my cooking spoon, scooped the peanut butter and dipped it in the simmering broth a lot of times. You can opt to put less peanut butter but I put a lot because I want the sauce to be sticky.

In between the addition of peanut butter to the broth, I added 4 teaspoons of annatto powder (atsuete). I got a couple of tablespoons of “sauce”/”broth” from the pot and placed it in a bowl then mixed the powder with it. I then poured the mixture into the pot and stirred.

Taste the sauce, it needs to be a bit bland because bagoong (shrimp paste) would be the one to give it that salty taste. To this pot, I only added 1 teaspoon of fish sauce.

That’s done! 🙂 Next, I boiled vegetables (yard long beans (sitaw) and chinese cabbage (pechay)) and when that was done, placed it in a separate container. You see, my mom would only combine Kare-Kare and the veggies when it’s about to be served, that’s because it tends to get bad easily when it’s mixed then refrigerated for a couple of days (for those who cook a lot of this!).

Prepare a bowl of Kare-Kare with veggies, a serving that’s just enough for that meal and serve with bagoong (I prefer Barrio Fiesta’s spicy bagoong). Enjoy! 🙂


(Preparation Time: less than 5 minutes | Cooking Time: at least 1hr 30min )

  • 6pcs Ox-tail, medium size
  • 3 small onions
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 3 cups of water
  • 16 Tbsp peanut butter (not the sweet variant)
  • 4 tsp annatto powder (Mama Sita’s atsuete powder)
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • Chinese cabbage
  • Yard long beans
  • Eggplant (if you like this in your Kare-Kare)
  • Puso ng saging (the long and slimmer variant)
  1. Peel onions and garlic
  2. Get your pressure cooker, fill with water, ox tail, onion and garlic.
  3. Let it get tender in the pressure cooker for at least 90 minutes on low heat after it has whistled.
  4. Add in peanut butter, add little by little until you get the consistency that you want.
  5. In between your addition of peanut butter into the pot, get broth from the pot and mix it with atsuete then pour it back into the pot. (Repeat if needed, I like it orange – not like the yellow curry).
  6. Taste and if you want it to have more flavor, add fish sauce.
  7. Boil vegetables.
  8. Mix vegetables, meat and sauce in a bowl.
  9. Serve with bagoong (shrimp paste).

Makes 4 servings


8 responses to “Kare-Kare (Easy version)

  1. Were lucky tripe here are clean and par boiled so no more smelly stuff, but I miss the Ox tail in the Philippines where they still got its skin on, love the texture of that once its cooked.

    • Ohhhh! sarap! Yes, my friend’s father would always go to Blumentritt to buy that for Kare-kare and I love it! 🙂 Ibang iba ang texture! They’d also put intestines (na chinichicharon bulaklak) in Kare-kare and it IS really good — and bad for you haha! 🙂

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