After the first taste, it is hard to stop eating this savory stew! Kare Kare is one of the great traditional Filipino signature entrees. If I had a list of my choices for the top ten greatest all time recipes, Kare Kare would be on the list. That is how highly I respect this traditional Filipino stew. This recipe stews for two hours and the exotic flavor combination is very comforting, so it is worth the wait!
Oxtails are really beef tails. They are full of cartilaginous nutrients that break down when stewed. The nutrients are beneficial for stronger tendons, heart valves and cartilage growth. Stewed oxtails create a very rich tasting gelatinous broth.
Peanut butter is used to thicken stews worldwide. It adds protein and a savory flavor that goes well with oxtail. African cuisine requires peanut butter in many stews, just like South Pacific cuisine.
Eggplant also adds thickness and flavor to a stew. Stews from Africa, the middle east, India and the South Pacific commonly have eggplant in the recipe.
The ingredients of Kare Kare produce a natural craving effect. Green beans, bok choy, eggplant and oxtail have some kind of a flavor profile that causes the tummy to beg for more. After eating a bowl of this Kare Kare, I should have been full and I did feel like I ate a full meal. Not even one minute after finishing the bowl of Kare Kare, my tummy began growling and I felt hungry for more! That is a good sign that nutrients in this stew were made to be easily available and easy to digest. When the body is finally fed a slow cooked nutritious easy to digest stew like Kare Kare after days of hard to digest quickly cooked food, the body craves more and it has a way of letting the mind know that the mind did something right. After a full bowl of Kare Kare, do not feel surprised if you feel hungry and your tummy growls for more!
Kare Kare Recipe:
This recipe makes one big serving of stew! The 2 hour slow cooking method is simple, like most island recipes. The timing of when to add the ingredients must be done in stages, so items like the green beans and eggplant do not cook till they become so mushy that they disintegrate.
Place 5 to 8 oxtail pieces in a sauce pot.
Note: The total weight of oxtail should be 8 to 12 ounces per serving. Oxtail is about 50% meat and 50% cartilage. It is always a judgment call, when portioning oxtail. Smaller oxtail pieces that are 1" to 2" in diameter are best for a stew like Kare Kare
Barely cover the oxtails with water.
Add 1 1/2 cups of beef broth.
Add 2 cloves of chopped garlic.
Add 1/2 cup of coarsely chopped onion.
Bring the liquid to a boil over medium high heat.
Reduce the temperature to medium low heat.
Stew the oxtails for 30 minutes.
The excess liquid will reduce to the level of the oxtails as the stew simmers. Only add enough water as necessary keep the oxtails barely covered with liquid.
After 30 minutes, add 1 teaspoon of thin soy sauce.
Add sea salt and black pepper.
Add 1 pinch of crushed dried red pepper.
Add 1 teaspoon of minced ginger.
Add 1/4 teaspoon of ground anatto.
Simmer the stew for 30 more minutes.
After the first hour of stewing, stop adding water to keep the oxtails covered. Allow the broth to simmer and reduce in volume.
Skim the oils and grease from the top of the broth as it reduces.
Simmer the broth, till the broth reduces by 1/3.
Add 1 small Chinese eggplant that is cut into large pieces. (A 6 to 8 ounce Chinese eggplant is plenty.)
Add 1 cup of 1" long green bean pieces.
Add 1 cup of 1" wide bok choy pieces.
Simmer the vegetables in the stew for twenty minutes.
When the vegetables become cooked tender, add 3 to 4 tablespoons of organic peanut butter to the broth while stirring. (The peanut butter will thicken the broth and combine with the stew flavors.)
Simmer for five more minutes.
Ladle the Kare Kare into a large bowl.
Sprinkle some thin sliced green onion on top of the Kare Kare.
Serve with white rice on the side.
The oxtail meat literally falls off of the bones. The oxtail, peanut butter and vegetables combine to create a very interesting flavor. All I can say, is the flavor of this Philippine Kare Kare is incredibly good tasting! Yum! ... Shawna