“Part of the secret of success in life is to eat what you like and let the food fight it out inside.” - Mark Twain
This is one of my all time favourite Filipino dishes. It's not a regular dish in most Filipino households, but it is a regular on special occasions. Birthdays, having guests from overseas, anniversaries, etc. I guess because the preparation takes time. When one decides on preparing kare-kare, it has to be a massive production. Really. It needs a big pot, about 1-2k meat plus vegetables. So its not really practical for those weekday lunches or dinners. Plus, the ox tripe takes a bit of time cooking. Kare-kare which is classified as stew, is originally cooked with ox tail and sometimes also includes ox tripe. But with today's lifestyles and variety of meat cuts, the Filipino ingenuity strives to make this dish with any meat cut available and sometimes even with seafood. Besides the laborious hours of tenderising the ox tripe, real kare-kare makes use of ground peanuts. The home maker who has time will buy roast nuts from the market and have this grounded. So that's additional time. So it is in fact, a massive production.
|Kare-kare mix - sold in most Filipino and Asian shops|
But not in our home. We prepare this on a whim. Usually on a weekend. To feed the adults' craving for kare-kare. And because of the availability of special mixes, this is not a hard task to take on. And the best part, the side which is ready-made shrimp paste. The thought of eating a beef dish with shrimp paste may sound appalling. but hey! This is one of many dishes in the Philippines which is truly and uniquely Filipino. Although there are some attributes that compare this dish to Indian curry and sometimes the Indonesian gado-gado.
|Veggies for the kare-kare: Aubergines, snake beans, bok choy|
To parepare this kare kare, we used:
1.5k beef ribs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, quartered
1 bunch snake bins, tips removed, cut into 6-7cm
1 aubergine or large eggplant, cut into wedges or 2cm thick discs
1 - 57g Mama Sita Kare Kare Mix
2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
Using a large pot (to fit the meat and veggies), braise the beef in enough to. Bring to a boil, skimming every few minutes, and simmer until tender. May take 1-2hours in low simmer.
In another sauce pan or pot, saute the garlic and onion until soft. Sear the beef until brown. Add 2-3 cups of the stock and the kare-kare mix and peanut butter. Turn heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add the aubergine/eggplant and snake beans and continue to simmer for another 10 minutes until the vegetables are cooked. Add the bok choy, cover and turn off heat.
|Kare-kare! Served and eaten with rice and the sauteed shrimp paste|
|Served on the side - sauteed shrimp paste|