If you’ve just happened to stumble in to this blog you’re wondering what in the world is Kare Kare, well today is you lucky day! Kare-kare is a Philippine stew it is generally peanut based similar to something like Massamum Curry of Thailand but this contains a variey of vegetables not found in the curry. To be honest I have no idea where the dish actually originated from, all I know is that is one of my favorite dishes and it takes a hell of a long time to cook. I realised that since Donna and I are living together, I somewhat needed to expand my limited cooking skills and acquire more recipes.
So today’s the day, I’ve got most of my ingredients from a recipe which I got online from Connie Veneracion. This is my very first attempt at this so I’m not expecting the best but hopefully once I’m done, I can work out what I’ve missed and what I can add to make it better.
2:50 PM – I’ve got the tripe and about 500 grams of ox tail currently in a large casserole simmering away from the last two hours. Connie’s instructions says I may need to cook it for about 4-6 hours. Depending on how this turns out, I may need to invest in a pressure cooker to tenderise the meat faster.
More updates shortly…
So i didn’t get to update this blog with play by play accounts on what I was doing but I will summarise as much as I can and provide some feedback on what I’ve learned while cooking my first Kare Kare. From where I’ve left off I didn’t take the oxtail and the tripe from the pot until about 4:45pm which meant I had the meat on the stove for about four and a half hours. What I did find is that the tripe was very very tender almost falling apart by the time I was chopping it up into smaller pieces. The oxtail however was just right, not too hard and not too soft but I think this would depend on how you like it. The set of instructions that followed this part was quite easy but requires tweaking to get the best results out of your stew.
I now understand where the Annato seeds came into it, I heated up a couple of tablespoons of oil into the pan and poured in about a quarter of a cup Annato seeds. After a couple of minutes you do see the colour mix with the oil and once this happens you can start to pick the seeds out. It is quite tedious to spoon the seeds out as you don’t want people biting into the seeds while eating so it has to be done.
The diced onions and garlic is them mixed with the Annato infused oil and you should get a golden brown mix as you sautee them together. The meat and the tripe is then added to ensure that it also absorbs the colour. While I was doing this, I had a smaller pan in which I roasted the Rice flour until it started to turn brown but not too much otherwise I think you may get a burnt taste to go with it.
I used 4 cups of the stock from the meat which I then poured it into the casserole to bring it to boil and from this point I started to see how my Kare Kare was taking shape. I turned down the heat and began to add my vegetables in increments, first the string beans, egg plant and then the pak bok choy. Be generous with the amount of vegetables that you put in because I later found out that I didn’t quite have enough.
By this stage you should have about 1 cup of stock left which will be used to mix with the Peanut butter and the roasted rice flour. Mix half a cup of stock with 1 cup of Peanut butter and mix the other half a cup with the rice flour. I actually made a mistake here and used two cups of stock which made a lot of difference to the meat and vegetable ratio. I poured in this mix after I added the pak bok choy and slowly mix it through and let it simmer on low heat. The colour looked fantastic and it definitely looked the authentic but I’ve yet to taste test.
By this stage I can see that there was a little too much sauce and not enough veggies, I could have added extra meat as well. The taste was very peanuty that’s for sure and still needed to be seasoned with salt & pepper but not too much this dish I think needs to be a little bland because it is accompanied with Bagoong (shrimp paste). The sauce thickened nicely and I think the Rice Flour had a lot to do with that, I’ll just have to make sure I get the right amount of stock so that I don’t end up with too much sauce.
Overall I was quite satisfied with my first attempt, it wasn’t perfect and I think it’s highly unrealistic to get this right the first time as far more experienced cooks have been brought undone with this dish. I’ll definitely cook it again and apply the tweaks that I think would make it better.