Kare-Kare (Oxtail and Vegetables in Peanut Sauce)

READY IN: 3hrs 30mins
YIELD: 12 cups




  • NOTE: Season as desired with salt and pepper at each stage. But season lightly: dish should be undersalted, since it will be eaten with salty bagoong.
  • Place the onion and oxtail in a large pot. Add water to cover. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2.5 to 3 hours or until tender. (Or cook for 35 minutes in the pressure cooker at high pressure.).
  • When preparing the banana blossom and eggplant, as you slice, put the pieces into water with a bit of lemon juice, to prevent them turning brown.
  • Heat a big skillet or wok and add vegetable oil. Saute the garlic. Add the eggplant, banana blossom, and long beans; cook for 10 minutes. Add baby bok choy and cook for 5 minutes more, until vegetables are crisp-tender. Reserve vegetables.
  • Remove meat from broth, keeping broth in pot. If desired, when cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones. Add meat to vegetable mixture; reserve.
  • Add a little broth to the peanut butter; stir until well blended, adding more broth if necessary. Bring the broth to a simmer. In a bowl, combine annatto powder with cold water; mix until smooth; add annatto mixture to broth. Simmer, stirring, until sauce thickens and does not taste floury.
  • Add meat and vegetables, and cook until heated through. Meat should be very tender; vegetables should be tender but not falling apart. If desired, add water to make more sauce.
  • Serve with bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). I prefer the guisado (sauteed) kind, regular flavor (not sweet or hot).
  • * NOTE * Fresh banana blossom should be large and dense, and feel tightly packed. * To clean: First take off the outer dark red bracts and accompanying tiny matchsticks (baby bananas!) -- these are inedible. Continue until you reach the pale pink/yellow inside and it's becoming difficult to peel apart. Cut off the inedible stem. Cut blossom into 1-inch slices, dropping into lemon water to prevent browning. Separate the blossoms (like you would leeks). If possible, let them soak for a little while, to remove any bitterness. * You can use the same water for the eggplant. *.