Special occasions necessitate the preparation of one-of-a-kind and festive dishes.
This featured recipe represents a dish that symbolizes abundance and joy, a cuisine that shouts festive not only by its appearance but also by the ingredients used to make it.
And Filipinos have a diverse range of culinary offerings that represent celebrations, foods that make our eyes sparkle and our bellies growl in anticipation.
Filipino cuisine is so diverse that it has dishes for every occasion: some foods are served specifically for weddings, others for feasts, and even treats for funeral wakes.
WHAT IS BEEF KARE-KARE
Sunday Filipino lunches, particularly in the past, have always felt like a small reunion. Family members gather, often bringing their specialty dishes with them.
Many of us grew up in this type of environment, and it has made us fall in love with our cuisines ever since.
One of these dishes is our featured recipe, Beef Kare-kare: a traditional oxtail or tripe stew with a creamy peanut sauce made of roasted and ground peanuts.
Others use unsweetened peanut butter to achieve the sauce’s creamy texture.
This dish is frequently served with Bagoong alamang, a fermented condiment made from small shrimps that is often sautéed with garlic and vinegar, making it a perfect complement to the slightly overall flavor of Beef Kare-kare.
Blanched vegetables, such as eggplant and pechay, are frequently used to complement and balance the richness of the Kare-kare sauce.
WHICH MEAT DO I USE FOR KARE-KARE?
We had no intention of deviating from the traditional kare-kare mix of oxtail and tripe.
While this combination is delicious, we discovered that adding beef shank balances out the meat and adds another layer of richness to the soup.
- OXTAIL: There isn’t a lot of meat in oxtail. It is instead high in collagen, bone marrow, and fat. This makes it valuable for its silky, gelatinous texture, which it imparts to anything it’s added to. When used in kare-kare, oxtail adds a richness that makes doctors want to be on speed dial.
- TRIPE: Tripe is the edible lining of a cow’s stomach. It adds a chewy texture to kare-kare and has a mild flavor that doesn’t overpower the sauce. It even enhances the flavor of the peanut butter sauce because it adheres to it so well.
- BEEF SHANK: Beef shank is not commonly used in kare-kare. However, we’ve discovered that adding it helps to compensate for the lack of meat in both the oxtail and the tripe. Plus, if you make this recipe without the tripe, you’ll have plenty of laman to go around.
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IS KARE KARE A CURRY?
Technically, I would not call kare kare a curry, but it does have curry influences in its perplexing history.
Many people believe that kare kare originated with Indian soldiers from a Southern Indian British colony who traveled to the Philippines prior to Spanish colonization.
WHAT MAKES THE BEST KARE-KARE?
Kare-kare is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Each ingredient contributes something unique to the dish, tying it all together.
So, in our tests, we focused on the two most important components of kare-kare: peanut butter and meat. We evaluated each one separately, then in relation to how it interacts with the other parts.
WHAT’S THE BEST PEANUT BUTTER FOR KARE-KARE?
Kare-kare is all about the peanut butter—the it’s base that flavors the sauce and distinguishes it from all other curries.
As a result, there is some disagreement about which type of peanut butter works best. Some people swear by certain brands, while others avoid supermarket spreads.
WAYS TO COOK
Beef Kare-kare is traditionally cooked in a palayok or clay pot, which is a cooking pot made of earthenware and porous ceramic material.
Palayok retains the heat of the food for a longer period of time while having no effect on the overall flavor of the dish.
- THE INSTANT POT. The instant pot, the upgraded cousin of our mother’s ever-dependable pressure cooker: their partner when cooking tough pieces of meat that would require hours and hours of cooking without the trusty pressure cooker.
- USING THE SLOW COOKER. People who enjoy simmered foods will appreciate the slow cooker. The slow cooker uses low but consistent heat that moves from the bottom of the pot to the top of the cooker and then around the cookware.
- PRESSURE COOKER. This trusted cooking partner of our mothers and grandmothers never fails to accomplish its purpose of tenderizing, which takes time when cooked in a regular cooking pot. The pressure cooker does exactly what its name implies: it uses pressure to shorten the cooking time of food.
- STOVETOP. The majority of Filipino households prepare their meals on a stovetop. In comparison to other cooking methods, stovetop cooking is significantly less expensive and more widely available.
OTHER DELICIOUS VARIANTS
KARE-KARE WITH GARLIC RICE RECIPE
- The best way to start your day is with a savory and hearty breakfast that both fuels you and awakens your senses. Nothing beats the aroma of freshly cooked garlic rice in the morning, followed by a bowl of very creamy and savory Beef Kare-kare; each spoonful is like a bite of heaven.
RECIPE FOR KARE-KARE WITH COCONUT MILK
- Beef Kare-kare is already creamy on its own, thanks to the peanut butter and ground, roasted peanuts that thicken the sauce. This is what gives the Kare-kare its distinctive thick, full-bodied sauce.
CRISPY BEEF KARE KARE RECIPE
- The possibilities for innovation and variation, particularly in the food industry, are limitless. From time to time, new variations of well-known and well-loved dishes make their way to the culinary spotlight. In recent years, savory and sauce-based dishes have been served deconstructed, which means they have been prepared differently than usual.
Did you know that the first protein used in Kare-kare is neither beef or pork?
According to historical claims, the Kapampangan (natives of the province of Pampanga) version of Kare-kare uses mudfish, and the aromatics and ingredients are completely different.
Instead of annatto seeds, they used turmeric to color the fish and lemongrass to remove the odor.
Beef, the protein used in our Kare-kare, is high in protein, which aids in muscle mass development. It is also high in antioxidants, particularly glutathione.
Knowing kitchen-tested tips can be very helpful, especially if you’re new to cooking, which is why we’ve compiled a list of tips to help you become a better home cook.
- When purchasing coconut milk, always choose freshly grated and pressed over powdered or canned. This is done to ensure that the product you’re using is fresh.
- Always look at the color of the beef: go for the bright red cuts. Picking pale-colored cuts is not a good idea because they indicate freshness.
- Instead of boiling your vegetables, blanch them. This keeps the nutrients and color of your vegetables intact.
If you make a mistake while cooking Beef Kare-kare, don’t let it ruin your day. We’ve also included troubleshooting steps to help you solve your kitchen problem.
- If the sauce is too runny, you can thicken it with finely ground peanuts.
- If you don’t have any peanuts, you can make a slurry by combining two parts water and one part cornstarch.
- If the sauce lacks flavor, add a tablespoon of fish sauce to boost the flavor.
Frequently Asked Questions
Kare-kare is a slow-cooked Filipino beef stew with a thick, savory peanut butter sauce. It can also be considered a curry to some extent.
Kare-kare is a Philippine stew with a thick, savory peanut sauce (kare derives from “curry”). It is typically made with stewed oxtail, beef tripe, pork hocks, calves feet, pig’s feet or trotters, various cuts of pork, beef stew meat, and occasionally offal as a base.
The addition of bok choy, egg plants, and string beans makes up a large portion of Kare Kare, which provides a lot of fibers. Kare Kare is often served with rice because its strong flavors pair well with a neutral ingredient that can soak up the flavor.
The combination of roasted peanuts and toasted rice gives kare kare its distinct flavor. It’s earthy, slightly sweet, rich, but not overpowering. The sauce is purposefully underseasoned. It’s similar to African peanut stew and satay peanut sauce, but it’s mellower because it doesn’t contain any spices.