Labor of love and patience, are the major ingredients of this popular dish from the Culinary Center of the Philippines, Pampanga. You will find Kare-Kare (Ox Tail in Peanut Sauce) in almost all the festivities that are being held in Pampanga. This deep orange colored stew with a thick sweet sauce, paired with bagoong alamang is a specialty of the Cabalens.
Irresistible and sumptuous, that's what it is. But not everyone is fond of preparing this dish since you need to undergo a tedious process. The roasting of peanuts and glutinous rice separately and grinding it after having it cooled, is already time consuming. The whole process of preparing for the dish and cooking it will not just take you 30-45 minutes. It will take you hours but it is definitely worth your time. Indeed this dish needs patience and love for the art of cooking.
Serves: 8-12 persons
- 1,350 grams Ox tail, cleaned and cut at about 2 inches long
- 2 heads garlic, minced
- 2 pieces onion, minced
- 1 Banana Heart, outer layer removed, cut by 2x2 inches
- 2 bunches pechay (bok choy)
- 1 bunch of string beans, cut at about 2 inches long
- 2 pieces eggplant, cut by 2x2 inches
- 1 cup roasted peanuts, ground and unsalted
- 1/4 cup roasted rice, ground
- 1/2 cup annatto seeds
- cooking oil
- salt and pepper
How to Prepare
Put ox tail in a deep pot, making sure that the ox tail is well covered. Season with salt and pepper. Let boil and remove scum on the surface of the boiling water. Cover and continue boiling for 3 hours or until the ox tail is tender but not too soft (remember you will still be cooking it). Set aside.
Boil some water in a pot with a small amount of salt and pepper. Blanch the vegetables separately.
In a large skillet, medium heat, put cooking oil and annatto seeds. When the color of the seeds is already well infused in the cooking oil, turn off the heat and strain. Discard the used annatto seeds and put the annatto oil back in the skillet. Using the annatto oil, saute garlic until fragrant (but make sure you won't burn it) then put onion and cook it until it is tender. Add the cooked ox tail and season with a small amount of salt and pepper. When the meat has already caramelized, add about 8 cups of stock (water used to pre-cook the ox tail) and let it boil. Put in the ground peanuts and rice, stirring continuously. Lower down the heat when it boils and let cook for another 30-45 minutes to make sure that the rice blooms and the nuts are well cooked while stirring continuously to prevent burning. If the sauce is too thick just add more stock. Add the pre-cooked banana heart and continue simmering until the banana heart is well cooked. Add the rest of the vegetables and remove from heat.
Serve hot with rice and bagoong alamang
- For an easier version, use peanut butter, omit the ground rice and peanuts. The peanut butter and natural gelatin of the oxtail are enough to help thicken the sauce. You may also add ox tripe and meat of beef. Different versions are, Chicken Kare-Kare, Seafoods Kare-Kare and Vegetables Kare-Kare