Kare Kare

This is Oxtail Soup like you’ve never tasted! Filipinos use string beans, or sitaw, onion and garlic in just about every soup or stew. This is an authentic Tagalog dish; Kare Kare is a Filipino favorite for parties. (Tagalog is one of the first known indigenous tribes in the Philippines and also one of the official languages, the other is English.) Oxtail, tuwalya or beef tripe, and vegetables simmered in thick peanut gravy. OMG, it is to die for, honestly!

Serve your Kare kare with a bowl of hot rice and a side dish of sautéed Bagoong Alamang and squeeze in some calamansi or lime juice. Par excellence!

Traditionally, this dish is made with roasted and ground peanuts, but to make things simpler, we will use peanut butter. If you like to experiment, you can try chunky-style peanut butter to get closer to the original recipe.

kare kare

Ingredients for Kare Kare

  • 1 kg of Oxtail (cut to 2.5cm thickness)
  • ½ kg of tuwalya or beef tripe (cut into 5cm squares) optional
  • 1 kg of string beans, sliced to 5 or 6cm
  • 2 pieces of small eggplant, sliced to 5 or 6cm
  • 1 banana flower bud sliced in small strips (optional)
  • 6 bok-choy (cut into 5cm strips) or 4 cups of spinach
  • ½ cup of peanut butter, diluted with 1 cup of broth from the tripe and oxtail drippings
  • ¼ cup of rice toasted, powdered and diluted in ½ of broth
  • 5 cups of broth (total)
  • 2 tablespoons of annatto seeds or achuete (found in most Asian markets)
  • ¼ cup coconut cooking oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 medium size onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar (you can add more if you are using roasted peanuts instead of peanut butter)
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper

Shrimp paste (Bagoong Alamang)

Directions for Kare Kare

Two important notes before you start: You can cut some prep time by getting powdered Achuete (Annato) and/or toasted rice flour; these items are usually available in any Asian market. And, be careful with the anatto seeds and its oil mixture, they will stain your counter tops.

The oxtail and tripe should be cooked in a pressure cooker well before you use it, so it has time to cool. If you don’t have 5 cups of broth left after cooking, add some water and cook a little longer uncovered. Heat the oil and add the annatto seeds; cook until the mixture turns red then scoop out the seeds; sauté the onions and garlic in the annatto oil until the onions become translucent, then add beef tripe, oxtail, pepper, salt, broth, sugar, beef broth and diluted-peanut butter; bring this to a boil; add the vegetables, except the spinach or bok-choy and simmer for ten minutes; add the diluted rice powder until the mixture thickens; add the spinach or bok-choy, cover and turn off the heat. Let stand for five minutes covered. Now it’s ready!

If that seemed like too much work, you can use a Kare Kare mix. To me Mama Sita’s is the best. Actually, Mama Sita makes a mix for just about every Filipino recipe you can think of and it’s pretty good. However, I would suggest making each recipe from scratch at least once, so you will know which is best.

Serve your Kare Kare with a bowl of hot rice and a side dish of sautéed Bagoong Alamang and squeeze in some calamansi or lime juice. Par excellence!

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