Finally, my recipe for kare-kare!

Though I improvised a bit as I cooked this dish, it’s based largely on the recipe shared by my sister Cora and the one I picked up from Memories of Philippine Kitchens. Since the kare-kare was well-received at “my open kitchen” last Friday, I guess I’m sticking with this:

Ingredients:

Oxtail, about 3 pounds, cut into 2-inch pieces

8 garlic cloves, smashed

1/2 cup roughly chopped onions

3-4 dried bay leaves

3 tbsp of oxtail fat

2 tbsp garlic, minced

1/2 cup onions, chopped

1/2 cup tomatoes, diced

2 tbsp peanut butter

5 cups oxtail broth

1/3 cup rice, toasted then ground

1 cup unsalted roasted peanuts, ground

2 tbsp salt

3 tbsp achuete oil (recipe here)

1 bunch sitaw or longbeans (about 20 pieces)

2 eggplants, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1 bunch bok choy (about 10-15 pieces)

1 cup bagoong or shrimp paste (sauteéd in garlic, onions and tomatoes)

Preparation:

1. Wash oxtail pieces thoroughly and place in a pot with 6 cups of water or enough to cover. Add the smashed garlic cloves, dried bay leaves and the roughly chopped onions. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer, until meat is fork-tender, about 1 1/2 – 2 hours.

2. Remove from fire and drain when cool enough. Discard the bay leaves, onions and garlic pieces; remove the oxtail and set aside in a bowl or ziplock bag. Transfer broth into a bowl or pot, cover and refrigerate overnight to separate the fat. Refrigerate the oxtail pieces, as well.

Cooking Process:

1. Skim the separated fat from the oxtail broth and reserve 3 tbsp. Discard the rest.

2. In a casserole over medium heat, sauté the minced garlic and onions in the oxtail fat until onions are softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Stir in the peanut butter until creamy and well-blended.

3. Add the reserved broth and cook for 15 minutes, then add the oxtail, ground rice, peanuts and achuete oil.

4. Season with salt and continue to cook until the broth has reduced partially, about 20 minutes. Keep in mind that vegetables will be added later and therefore the stew must not be too thick. Add some water if needed.

5. As the oxtail simmers, prepare the vegetables. Blanch the bokchoy, eggplant and long beans in a pot of salted boiling water and immediately transfer to iced water  in order to stop the cooking process and let the vegetable retain their color and crunch. Drain, then arrange in a platter.

6. Just before serving, mix the vegetables with the oxtail, or serve separately.

7. Serve with bagoong on the side.

With apologies for my hideous lighting and non-existent camera skills, here are photos of Purple Yam’s Kare-Kare (top) and my version (bottom). I know, I know, I still have a long way to go before I come close to the genius that is Romy Dorotan. For one, I forgot the salt! And I used some peanut butter. What a cop-out! Oh well…

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