(Filipino oxtail and vegetable stew)
Kare-kare is a rich and meaty Filipino stew of oxtails, green beans and eggplant in a sauce thickened with peanut butter. Served on special occasions or as a Sunday meal, kare-kare is always accompanied by white rice and a bit of sautéed shrimp paste called bagoong alamang.
4 to 6 servings
- Oxtails -- 3 pounds
- Water -- 6 cups
- Salt -- 2 teaspoons
- Oil -- 3 tablespoons
- Onion, sliced thinly -- 1
- Garlic, minced -- 2 to 3 cloves
- Salt and pepper -- to taste
- Green beans, trimmed -- 1 pound
- Asian eggplant, cubed -- 3
- Natural peanut butter -- 1/2 cup
- Add the oxtails, water and salt to a large pot and set over medium flame. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the oxtails are tender. Skim any scum that rises to the surface. Remove the oxtails to a plate and reserve the stock.
- Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Pat the oxtails dry and brown them on all sides in the oil. Remove the oxtails and add the sliced onion and garlic. Sauté until the onion is wilted.
- Add back the browned oxtails and reserved stock. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer for about 15 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Stir in the green beans and eggplant and simmer for another 15 to 20 minutes.
- In a bowl, mix together the peanut butter and 1 cup of the stew liquid until smooth and then stir it into the stew. Simmer for another 10 minutes or so until the stew has thickened.
- Adjust seasoning and serve with white rice and some sautéed bagoong alamang on the side.
- Other meat can be added to the stew to "beef" it up a bit. Add beef stew meat, beef or pork shanks or ox tripe. You can even use chicken pieces for a lighter version. If you do, cut down the time in Step 1 to about 30 minutes.
- Add 1 tablespoon of shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) to the sautéing onions.
- Kare-kare often has a reddish color from annatto seeds. You can either use atsuete oil as your sautéing oil, or you can make atsuete water. Soak 1 tablespoon annatto seeds in 1/2 cup hot water for 30 minutes. Pulse in a blender and strain the atsuete water through a sieve into the simmering stew.
- The type of beans traditionally used in the Philippines are called sitaw. Regular green beans are fine. If you can't find Asian eggplant, use 1 medium Italian eggplant, cut into cubes. Other vegetables can be added to the stew too: cabbage, banana hearts, bok choy (pechay).
- Many cooks use toasted rice flour (Mochiko) for added thickening power. Simply stir 1/4 cup into the peanut butter and stock before you stir it back into the stew.