Filipino Kare Kare Recipe

Kare Kare is a Filipino beef oxtail stew based on peanut sauce. It is a very traditional dish and often served at parties, festivals, holiday meals, get-togethers with family and friends, and other special occasions. Traditionally, a beef oxtail is stewed to tenderness before creating a savory peanut sauce. Variations include adding other beef's parts like tripe, sirloin, and round. For extreme variation, you can even use the meat of pork, goat, lamb, or chicken.

There are different historical stories as to the origins of kare kare dish. Some say that this unusual yet distinctly traditional Filipino dish was developed by the influences of other dishes from neighboring countries like Indonesia and India. Others say that it was cook up by the PampangueƱos in Pampanga using their culinary skills. Another say that once upon a time, this dish was served as a noble dish to the Moro elite who once settled in Manila during the pre-colonial era. But the most convincing historical perspective is that, this dish was fully developed during the Spanish era because it was the Spaniards who introduced the peanut crop.

These various stories about the origins of kare kare only show the diversity of the cultural heritage of the Filipino people. Most likely, this dish evolved through the passage of time. At first, it was only a stewed beef oxtail with salt and pepper until someone added a grounded peanut during the Spanish era and it turns out that the taste is good. It became popular in the place where it originates, and then the popularity of the dish spread out in the whole country.

Kare Kare Image

Kare Kare Ingredients

  • 2 lbs oxtail; cut into chunks 2" length
  • 1 onion; chopped
  • 1 small banana heart; sliced
  • 1 bundle pechay or bok choy; cut in two pieces
  • 1 bundle of string beans; cut into 3-inch length
  • 1 piece eggplant; sliced
  • 1 cup grounded peanuts
  • 1/2 cup grounded toasted rice
  • 5-6 cups of water
  • 1/2 cup annato seeds soaked in 1/2 cup warm water
  • Fish sauce

Kare Kare Cooking Instructions

Using a Pressure Cooker

  1. In a pressure cooker, cook the oxtail with onion and enough water to cover for about 30 minutes or until oxtail is tender.
  2. Carefully uncover pressure cooker, then add the grounded toasted rice, grounded peanuts, and annatto water.
  3. Stew, stirring occasionally, until sauce becomes gelatinous.
  4. Add the vegetables one at a time respective to their tenderness (usually pechay or bok choy is added last).
  5. Season with fish sauce and cook until done. Serve with shrimp paste and steamed rice.

Using a Crokpot

  1. In a crokpot, cook the oxtail in low heat with onion and enough water to cover for about 5 to 6 hours or until oxtail is tender.
  2. Transfer the stew to a saucepan then add the grounded toasted rice, grounded peanuts, and annatto water.
  3. Stew, stirring occasionally, until sauce becomes gelatinous.
  4. Add the vegetables one at a time respective to their tenderness (usually pechay or bok choy is added last).
  5. Season with fish sauce and cook until done. Serve with shrimp paste and steamed rice.

Cooking Tip

  • Make sure to read the pressure cooker manual when opening the pressure cooker to ensure safety.
  • To make annatto water, soak 1/2 cup annatto seeds in 1/2 cup warm water then squeeze the seeds with your fingers. Drain the annatto seeds, and keep the annatto water for cooking.