|Place of origin||Philippines|
|Main ingredients||Oxtail, peanut sauce, vegetables|
|Variations||Goat meat kare-kare|
Kare-kare is a Philippine stew complemented with a thick savory peanut sauce. It is made from a variation base of stewed oxtail, pork hocks, calves feet, pig feet, beef stew meat, and occasionally offal or tripe. Kare-kare can also be made with seafood (prawns, squid, and mussels) or vegetables. Vegetables, which include eggplant, Chinese cabbage, or other greens, daikon, green beans, okra, and asparagus beans are added—usually equaling or exceeding the amount of meat. The stew is flavored with ground roasted peanuts or peanut butter, onions, and garlic. It is colored with annatto and can be thickened with toasted or plain ground rice.
Other flavorings may be added, but the dish is usually quite plain, compared to other Filipino dishes. Other seasonings are added at the table. Variants may include goat meat or (rarely) chicken. It is often eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste), sometimes spiced with chili, bagoong guisado (spiced and sautéed shrimp paste), and sprinkled with calamansi juice.
There are several stories as to the origins of kare-kare. The first one is that it came from Pampanga. Another has it coming from the regal dishes of the Moro elite who settled in Manila before the Spanish arrival (in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, kare-kare remains a popular dish). Another is from Sepoy conscripts from Southern India that settled in Philippines during the British occupation of Manila. Homesick, they improvised their own cuisine with available materials. They called it kari-kaari, curry, and now, kare-kare.
Kare-kare is a well-known dish in Pampanga, which is often hailed as the culinary capital of the Philippines. Its name derived from the word "kari" from the word "curry". However, kare-kare is far different from Indian curry. Kare-kare has a similar flavor to satay because of the peanuts in the sauce.
Oxtail, with the skin on and cut into 2-inch lengths, and ox tripe are boiled until tender. Sometimes pieces of ox feet or shins are added. When the meat is tender, the soup becomes gelatinous. Ground roasted peanuts (or peanut butter), ground roasted glutinous rice is added to make the soup thicker. Annatto is added to give color. The basic vegetables for kare-kare include young banana flower bud or "heart" (puso ng saging), eggplant, string beans, and Chinese cabbage (pechay).
Kare-kare is often served hot with special bagoong alamang (sauteed salted shrimp paste).
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