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)
- Peel onions and garlic
- Get your pressure cooker, fill with water, ox tail, onion and garlic.
- Let it get tender in the pressure cooker for at least 90 minutes on low heat after it has whistled.
- Add in peanut butter, add little by little until you get the consistency that you want.
- 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).
- Taste and if you want it to have more flavor, add fish sauce.
- Boil vegetables.
- Mix vegetables, meat and sauce in a bowl.
- Serve with bagoong (shrimp paste).
Makes 4 servings