Kare-kare (pronounced kah-reh-kah-reh) is a stew made from peanut sauce with vegetables (string beans, aubergines and white pakchoi), stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe. Meat variants may include goat meat or (rarely) chicken. It is eaten with steamed rice and served with bagoong (shrimp paste) and patis (fish sauce). The bagoong and fish sauce is used to season it according to the diner’s taste.
I’ve been craving this for absolutely ages. My mom makes the absolute best and she does everything completely from scratch. She grinds the peanuts for the peanut sauce and pounds toasted rice (into powedered submission) to thicken the stew. She uses tripe, but since the kind of tripe she uses is a bit tricky to find, I resolved to find oxtail which Mom says will work just as well.
And, I finally managed to cook kare-kare today. It’s not quite as nice as Mom’s yet (I tried a shortcut that I read on someone’s blog and used glutinous rice flour instead of actual rice grains and used peanut butter instead of grinding my own peanuts and the texture wasn’t quite there. Next time I shall use rice instead of the flour.) but I plan to practice some more so that I can perfect it too! It was smelling exactly like my Mom’s kare-kare and that was good enough for me today.
It was warm enough at lunch today that I could imagine that I was at home (I was sitting on the couch really, watching the Wimbledon finals) eating kare-kare. I even had the prerequisite bagoong to make it really authentic (I was missing the banana heart that’s usually included but that didn’t bother me too! And let me tell you, after not having kare-kare for nearly three years, it was absolute bliss!