Kari kari, also called kare kare, is one of the all time favourite native dishes. It is a stew, usually made with oxtail or tripe or a variety of meat cuts (I used oxtail and shin of beef with marrow bone), with a rich peanut gravy that derives its characteristic yellow color from annatto seeds. Ground fried or roasted peanuts and ground toasted rice grains provide richness to the sauce. Although modern cooks use peanut butter, ground peanuts is the traditional and correct ingredient for making the traditional recipe. Kari kari is not complete if not served with a side dish of ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste).
Kari kari apparently originates from the Southern part of the Philippines. It was brought to Manila by the Moros (the Southern natives) where it was embraced as a national dish. The flavour is very characteristically Malay, owing to the Southern tip of the Philippines’ proximity to the other Southeast Asian countries. Although there has been mention of the name being derived from the word curry, I think the more logical explanation is that the Malay term for dishes with sauce is kari which simply means sauce.
I have interpreted this dish in a way that can be better appreciated by Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It is one of those Filipino stews that becomes uniform in colour when cooked. Filipinos say that our food is unappealing because it is usually brown. In this case, it is yellow. I have cooked the vegetables separately and just added them to the dish in the end. This way, the sauce remains pure and rich, undiluted by the juices of the vegetables. The vegetables have retained their original colour too because they were not cooked in the yellow sauce.
- 1 1/2 kg. oxtail and shin of beef with bones (bulalo)
- 3 large onions, sliced
- cooking oil
- 3 tbsps. of annato (achuete) oil
- 1 1/2 tbsps. crushed garlic
- 1/4 c. ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste)
- 3 tbsps. toasted store bought ground rice
- 2/3 c. ground fried or roasted peanuts
- 8 snake beans (sitaw)
- 6 eggplants or 10 baby eggplants
- 1 fresh banana heart, split into 6 wedges and soaked in salted water (or use tinned cooked banana heart like I did here)
- ginisang bagoong to serve
- Cut the shin meat into big chunks, similar to the size of the oxtail pieces.
- Pan fry all the meat pieces, a few pieces at a time in the cooking oil until well browned all over.
- Transfer the browned meat and 1/3 of the onion slices into a big pot and cover with water.
- Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (about 2 hours). This can also be done in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.
- Take the meat out of the stock and set aside. Strain the stock and skim off the fat from the surface.
- Heat up a big pan or wok and add the annato oil.
- Sauté the garlic on low heat until fragrant and starting to crisp.
- Add the onions and sauté until very soft.
- Add the peanuts and bagoong and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Add 5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil.
- Add the ground rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes.
- At this stage, I pureed the sauce with a hand blender because I like my sauce smooth.
- Return the meat to the sauce and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.
- Split the eggplants into halves, lengthwise, and fry until cooked.
- Boil the snake beans and banana heart separately.
- Add the vegetables to the kari kari and simmer for 3 minutes.
- Serve with ginisang bagoong.
- For the annato (achuete) oil: Heat up 1/2 cup of cooking oil. When hot add 2 tbsps. of annato (achuete) seeds. Take off the heat and leave to steep and cool. Strain the seeds off. Use the oil in recipes.
© 2012 – 2013, Adora’s Box. All rights reserved.