How to cook Kare Kare

Kare-kare is a braised oxtail and vegetable stew in peanut sauce. It is a celebration dish for special occasions. This dish is a project itself that you make for people you love in part because of the time and effort it takes, plus the meat itself is pretty expensive that you only decide to cook on extra ordinary days.
Everytime I get to eat it, they remind me of happy events from my childhood—birthdays, christmases, new years, weddings, and anniversaries etc. I love seeing my husband and kid’s faces when I try to surprise them by not telling them when I would make them. 🙂
Prep time: 20-30 minutes
Cooking Time: 3-4 hours

How to cook Kare Kare:

Ingredients:

2 pounds of oxtail (beef shanks and beef tripes optional)
12 cups of water
4 tablespoons of annatto oil (you can get the powder mix in a sachet)
1/2 cup of vegetable oil
1 large onions, diced
1 garlic heads, minced
1/4 cup ground rice (you can get rice powder mix in a sachet)
3 cups of peanut butter
4 eggplants, cut into 1-inch-thick slices
1 bundle of bok choy cut into 2-inch square pcs
1 bundle of string beans cut into 2-inch-long pcs
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp grnd pepper
1/2 cup of shrimp paste (bagoong) to be used later once everything is cooked
Directions:
1. Cut up all the veggies per instructions. Sear the oxtail in a large pot for 5 mins each side. Pour 8 cups of water and then boil for approximately 90 minutes.
2. Set aside. Sautee only half of minced garlic and cut onions. Pour the meat without the broth. Drop the smaller parts of oxtail that was set aside earlier.
3. Pour the annatto oil/mix and sautee for another 15-20 mins.
4. Pour the broth and simmer in slow fire for about 45 to 60 minutes.
5. While meat is on simmer, on the other stove, toast ground rice in a pan until golden brown. Put aside for later. If you bought the instant mix powder, no need to toast.
6. Once meat started boiling, pour the toasted rice and keep stirring. After 10-15 minutes, you can pour the peanut butter and keep stirring as well. Make sure fire is on medium low so as not to burn the bottom of the pan.
7. On the other pan, sautee half of minced garlic and cut onions that were left and once browned,  put the long beans first, then after 5 minutes, put eggplant, then after another 5 minutes, put the bokchoy last. Cook for 5 minutes. Turn off fire.  And put veggies on top of the kare-kare.
8. Serve with steamed rice and shrimp paste(bagoong) on the side.
 Tips:

1.  Searing the meat first adds extra flavor. Set aside and separate the smaller oxtail parts so as not to overcook it. The ones that are as small as lime-sized and smaller, that is. Put it together with the rest of the meat halfway when cooking.

2. You can also add beef shanks cut up in cubes. Optional as for those who doesn’t like to eat oxtail. Beef tripes are also added for those people who likes them. In Philippines, they also cooked it with large pig intestines.

3. Do not over-sautee veggies. Once you mix them with the meat, they will still keep continuing on being cooked. Up to everyone’s preference actually but I just like my veggies a little crunchy. And don’t worry about over stuffing with veggies. Since I love veggies, I just eat them in substitute to the rice sometimes!

4. This can be also cooked seafood style. Add any type of seafood you prefer – Shrimp, Mussells, Squid, Scallops, Fish, Clams etc.

5. Using the crockpot is optional and for some people, they would be really useful especially if you don’t have that much time and hate spending too much time in the kitchen. I prefer cooking it the old way method. I like slow-cooking them in a big pot since I cook them in pretty big servings, freezing half of the dish(w/o the veggies) in a big Tupperware and let my family savor them after a few weeks or so. And since I also add a pound of beef shanks and tripes, that saves me more time, plus enjoying that same dish sooner without going though the whole process of cooking them again for another 3-4 hours, right?

Voila! Enjoy!

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