Holiday Eats: Kare-Kare

Kare-Kare peanut-beef stew

Kare-kare – a scrumptious beef-peanut stew © symplex on flickr

Kare-kare is another favorite dish in most Filipino households. It is considered an everyday dish but it is so well-loved that it also merited a place on the esteemed Christmas table. Kare-kare is an oxtail peanut stew often eaten with shrimp paste as a condiment. There are many ways to cook this dish but for easier preparation, this recipe will make use of a ready mix which can be found in most supermarkets.

Ingredients for Kare-Kare

Stew:

1 kilo oxtail, chopped into serving pieces
1 bunch pechay (baby bokchoy)
2 small eggplants, sliced
1 inch thick then fried
¼ kilo long string beans, cut 2 inches in length
3 tbsp annatto/achuete seeds soaked in ¼ cup water, mix cornstarch with the water (w/o) the seeds after 30 mins
1 tbsp salt
1 pack Kare-kare powder mix (Mama Sita’s, Del Monte or McCormick)
¾ cup peanut butter (unsweetened)

Shrimp Paste:

1 bottle of Bagoong Alamang
5 cloves of garlic, minced
1 small onion, minced
1 small tomato, diced
3 tbsp oil
4 tbsp sugar
4 tbsp vinegar

Directions

For the kare-kare stew:

1. Boil the oxtail in water over high heat. As it comes to a boil, remove the scum that floats.
2. Lower the heat and simmer until the oxtail is tender. You may quicken the process by using a pressure cooker.
3. Add the peanut butter. Mix well.
4. Get two cups of broth from the pot and place in a bowl. Use the broth to dissolve the powdered kare-kare mix. Put it back into the pot after.
5. Add the annatto water/cornstarch mixture.
6. Stir well until the mixture is incorporated to the broth.
7. Add the long string beans and fried eggplant. Simmer for 4 minutes.
8. Put in the bokchoy and season with salt.
9. Turn off the heat and cover the pot. Allow the remaining heat to cook the bokchoy.

For the shrimp paste:

1. Heat oil in a pan and sauté garlic and onion.
2. Add the tomatoes and sauté until it achieves a mashed consistency.
3. Add the bagoong alamang, vinegar and sugar.
4. Lower the heat and stir constantly for 8 to 10 minutes.
5. Serve shrimp paste as a condiment alongside the Kare-kare stew and hot steamed rice.

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