Bowl of Kare-Kare stew
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Beef Stew with Peanut Sauce
  -   Kare-Kare
8 w/rice  
3-2/4 hr  
A beef stew of Malay origin, enjoyed all over the Philippines. It is usually as a "special occasion" dish or restaurant specialty. For historical notes, adaptions and variations, see Comments. Also see Serving. Serve with Bagoong (must) and plenty of steamed Jasmine rice.


Beef Shank (1)
-- Vegies
Long Beans (2)
Bok Choy, or (3)  
Eggplants (4)
-- Sauce
Peanut Butter (5)
Toasted Rice (6)
Annatto Water (7)
Fish Sauce (8)
Lime Juice
-- Serve With
Bagoong (9)
Lime Wedges
Prep   -   (2-1/2 hours   -   1-1/4 hrs work)
  1. Trim BEEF SHANKS of any excess fat. Place in a Pot and and bring to a boil for 2 minutes. Pour into a clean skink to drain. Rinse off crud and return to the cleaned pot. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 hours or until meat is tender. Reserving the broth, strain out the meat, de-bone it and cut into chunks about 1 inch on a side. De-fat the broth using your gravy separator. This can all be done a day or more ahead. You will need 3 cups of broth for this recipe.
  2. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice thin crosswise. Crush GARLIC and chop small. Mix.
  3. Cut BOK CHOY into lengths. Start at 1/2 inch at the big stem end, increasing to 2 inches at the leaf end. Cut LONG BEANS into 2 inch lengths. Mix.
  4. If using Philippine or Chinese EGGPLANTS, quarter lengthwise and into 1-1/2 inch lengths. Cut others to come out to a similar size. Immediately immerse in water acidulated with citric acid or lemon juice to prevent browning.
  5. Mix together all Sauce items.
  6. Squeeze LIME JUICE. Cut LIME WEDGES as needed.
Run   -   (40 min)
  1. In a 5 quart pot, heat Oil and fry Onion mix, stirring until onions are translucent and garlic shows a touch of golden.
  2. Stir in Beef and 3 cups Broth. Bring to a boil and simmer 5 minutes.
  3. Stir in Sauce mix, breaking up all lumps. Bring back to a boil and simmer covered another 5 minutes.
  4. Drain Eggplant and stir in along with Bok Choy mix. Bring back to a boil and simmer 10 minutes or until vegetables are tender. This recipe finishes a little light on salt, because very salty Bagoong will be added.
  5. Stir in Lime Juice and take off the heat.
  6. Serve hot with Bagoong and Lime Wedges on the side (if a sitdown dinner), or stir in Bagoong and serve Lime Wedges on the side (if buffet service) - see Note-10.
  1. Beef Shanks:   I use meaty center cut beef shanks, bone in. Of course you could also use Ox Tail as many recipes call for, but it'll cost ya! See also Comments
  2. Long Beans:   These are now widely available in North America, and any market serving a Southeast Asian community should have them. Green Beans are an imperfect substitute because their flavor is different and they don't stand up to cooking as well. For details see our Long Beans page.
  3. Bok Choy or:   This is one place where recipes differ. Bok Choy, Kangkong (Ong Choy, Water Spinach), Napa Cabbage, regular Cabbage, Banana Blossom and Daikon Radish all appear in recipes in any combination. Spinach, called for by a few English language recipes is an adaption, as Spinach is a cool climate vegetable.
  4. Eggplants:   Philippine eggplants (like Chinese, except green and purple) would be most appropriate, but Chinese, Japanese or Indian eggplants can be used. If all you have is big Globe eggplants, they must be peeled. For details see our Eggplants page.
  5. Peanut Butter:   Some people grind up unsalted roasted peanuts, but Peanut Butter is considered a very acceptable way to go. Use an "All Natural" peanut butter with no sweeteners.
  6. Toasted Rice:   This is an important ingredient all over Southeast Asia and should be kept on hand. To make it, see our Toasted Sweet Rice Powder recipe.
  7. Annatto Water:   Soak 2 T Annatto seeds in warm water for 30 minutes. You can crush the seeds after 20 minutes to get more color. Strain. For details see our page Achiote / Annatto page.
  8. Fish Sauce:   This clear liquid is as essential to Southeast Asian cuisine as it was to Imperial Rome. If you are unfamiliar with it, see our Fish Sauce - Introduction page.
  9. Bagoong:   Essential for this recipe. Preferably this will be "Ginisang Bagoong" (Sauteed Shrimp Paste), available in just about any Philippine market. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  10. Serving:   The Bagoong is essential to round out the flavors of this recipe - do not omit. In the Philippines, the Bagoong is always served separately, to be stirred in by individuals as desired. Knowing to do this can not be expected of party guests in North America, so I strongly suggest stirring it in before setting the stew out for buffet service. The Bagoong is sometimes combined with Calamansi or Lime Juice, or Vinegar, or a combination.
  11. Comments:   This recipe derives its name from the Indian Tamil word "kari" (sauce) and the Malay penchant for doubling words. Originally it was made with calf feet, producing a rather gelatinous sauce. Today, most recipes call for Oxtail, which was once food for the poor. It is now so expensive in North America we are using Beef Shank instead. In the Philippines, several cuts of beef are now used singly or in combination, and some recipes call for Pork Hocks. The recipe above was compiled by me from recipes in 5 Philippine cookbooks.
  12. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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