Kare Kare is a distinctly Filipino stew that is flavoured and thickened with peanuts. Pronounced “ka-reh ka-reh”, it is thought to have its roots in south east Asian curries. Its combination of flavour and texture is deliciously unusual to the North American palate. I developed this recipe because I needed a way to make this stew with commonly available ingredients. I believe it’s true to the original taste, with a few simplifications for time’s sake (e.g., I decided to use peanut butter rather than a combination of ground peanuts and rice, as well as achuete powder instead of squeezing out annatto seeds in water). Also, I’m not usually a fan of slow cookers, but I didn’t have time to stand over a pot of simmering stew for a few hours. So voila! Here is a version of Kare Kare that can be mostly made in a slow cooker and then finished off on the stove. Enjoy with rice and bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) on the side!
Serves 8 people
- 2 kg oxtail (or 0.5 kg beef bones and 1.5 kg stewing beef cubes)
- 2 cups natural peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons acheute powder
- oil for frying
- 1 onion, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1-2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 package string beans (about 20 strands), cut into 1 inch pieces
- 3 skinny, medium eggplants
- 4 heads of bok choy, separated from the stem
- bagoong (fermented shrimp paste) to serve
- Put the oxtail or beef bones and cubes in the crock pot. Fill with enough water to just cover the beef. Cook for 4 hours on high.
- Turn off the crock pot. I like to remove the meat from the bones if I’m using oxtail. I remove the beef bones if not.
- Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Fry the garlic and onion until soft. Season with fish sauce. Ladle in about two cups of the broth from the crock pot. Mix in the peanut butter until well-incorporated.
- Dissolve achuete powder in about ¼ cup broth or water. Add to the pot on the stove and mix well. Add the rest of the broth and then the meat. While simmering on medium low, prepare the string beans, eggplant and bok choy. Add the string beans and eggplant. Cook until desired tenderness is reached. Add the bok choy and cook until wilted.
- To serve, I like to arrange the vegetables and meat on a platter and pour over a little sauce, while serving extra sauce on the side. Don’t forget some steamed rice and bagoong!