Thursday, November 3, 2011

Kare Kare: My favorite Filipino food memory...and recipe of course

Hello all. I've been pretty busy lately, working on a few projects with my foodie friends, and I have been meaning to finish around 10 blog post drafts dating back to June. Anyway, I decided to share a recipe with you, but more of a memory from my childhood. Growing up, both my parents worked full-time jobs and my grandparents took care of me during the day. Food wise, grandma always gave me pandesal with a little ham and cheese or champorado and tuyo for breakfast. Sometimes, I even had garlic fried rice, spam fried egg...I was down with spamsilog 30 years ago! Grandma always cooked delicious Filipino food and I could tell that she loved what she was doing. The smells and aromas coming from the kitchen around 3:30 everyday made me float like I was in heaven. I couldn't help but peak at what was going on in her lair. My grandpa, lovingly,  would be helping open and shave coconuts or peeling slicing mangoes, while grandma was chopping vegetables and getting all her ingredients together. What had to be my favorite sound,  would be the hissing coming from the pressure cooker. I knew what was going down for dinner that night when I heard that whistling. "Grandma, are we having kuree kuree? YAY!". I couldn't wait for dinner to come. The tender fall off the bone oxtail meat, peanut sauce, veggies brought together by fermented shrimp paste (bagaoong), would have me back for seconds and definitely straight to bed afterwards. Ever since I was a kid, grandmas kare - kare was the best anywhere. I really never tried the dish at a restaurant until recently.
So my goal was to try to recreate that magic that came from my grandmas kitchen so I could share it with my family.
OX Tail
The supporting cast
 Ingredients for Kare Kare ni Fred

1 lb beef sirloin cut into cubes (add the sirloin for more servings...oxtail is expensive)
2 lbs oxtail, cut 2 inch long (1 package pre-cut is fine)
3 cups of peanut butter
1 large onion, diced
2 heads of garlic, minced
1 tsp achiote  powder
1/2 lb eggplant, sliced 1 inch thick
1 bundle (Bok choy)
1 bundle of sitaw (string beans) cut these to your liking
1/4 cup oil
8 cups of water
Salt to taste
1/2 cup cooked bagoong

  1. I will be using my electric pressure cooker that I picked up from HSN. This nifty appliance is great for great home cooked meals that usually take hours to prepare. 
  2. Place your meats in your pressure cooker and add 2 cups of water with 1 beef bullion cube, dissolved of course. Put the cover on and seal. My WGP (Wolfgang Puck) pressure cooker takes about 30 minutes for the oxtail. If you don't have a pressure cooker, use a large enough pot, bring to a boil and simmer for about 2 hours.
  3. Next remove your beef from your broth and set aside. If you are using a traditional stove top pressure cooker, you can continue to cook your kare-kare in the same pot.If you are using an electric one, transfer the broth to a large pot. 
  4. Now in a pan, saute your garlic and onions in the peanut oil. I actually brown my oxtails a bit at this point. 
  5. Transfer your oxtail, onions and garlic to you large pot. Add your peanut butter and achiote powder and simmer for 5 minutes. Throw in your veggies and simmer for an additional 7 minutes while you continue to mix your pot of gold while you wait. 
Not quite ready
Ready to enjoy. 

You'll know when its done. I wait for the sauce to gain a thicker consistency before I take it off the heat.

So that's my Kare Kare! Not exactly my grandmas recipe and probably not like your recipe either. All I know is that when my little 5 year old hears the pressure cooker going and smells the food simmering together on the stove she screams...."Dad, are we having kuree kuree?YAY!" just like her daddy used to say. Enjoy

For a Low Carb option, try using brown rice or Quinoa.

Kare Kare ni Fred
Me and Grandma


  1. Oooh, man... "Curry curry!!" LOL That's such a bowl of comfort food for me but I've always found it so hard to explain to non-Filipinos. I brought some home to my Vietnamese husband once and he was just like, "Um. Euw." (Oh well, more for me!!) Love the story of your grandparents cooking for you when you were young -- so sweet.

  2. He doesn't know what he's missing! Glad you like the post and my childhood memory. I will try to share more family recipes and stories before the holiday. Thanks for reading.