WATCH: This Is How You Make Filipino Kare Kare

Freshly ground ingredients make a difference.

The traditional way of making a classic kare kare recipe involved a lot of preparation. Back then, there was no electric food processor or speedy chopper or blender to do the work for us! There was however the pandikdik or the mortar and pestle. Also known as the almires or a stone mortar, this was the main piece of equipment needed to make this recipe. 

The best way to use the mortar and pestle is to make sure that whatever you're grinding in it is either toasted well if it isn't going to be made into a paste. To do this, use a dry frying pan over low heat to toast your ingredients first. Rice toasted in this way is much easier to grind to a powder than rice that wasn't toasted first. Peanuts, roasted or toasted first, are likewise easier to crush then made into a paste. 

Another trick to using the mortar and pestle efficiently is to not only pound the ingredients in it but to grind it as well. To grind, you use a circular motion. This is more effective once the ingredients have been softened and in combination with pounding, you'll not only create your paste or powder faster and easier, you won't be as tired either if all you did was pound away. 

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Feel free to change the meat and even vegetables as you like! We used beef shank, beef tripe, eggplants and sitaw (string beans) in this recipe but you can also use and add pechay, the banana heart and its blossoms, or even chunks of kalabasa, Order oxtail and use it instead of the shank for a really classic version! 

Ready to make this yourself? Here's the recipe: 

Filipino Kare Kare Recipe  

  • Takes 3 hours  
  • Makes 6 servings 
  • 1 kilo beef tripe, or tuwalya, rinsed, scrubbed well with salt, cut into squares
  • 1 tablespoon vinegar
  • 1/2 cup rice, uncooked
  • 1 cup roasted peanuts
  • 1/4 cup cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon annatto seeds (atsuete seeds)
  • 1 medium red onion, peeled, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, chopped
  • 1 kilo beef shanks, cut into 1-inch thick pieces
  • 1 bunch string beans, cut into 3-inch lengths
  • 2 eggplants, sliced
  • bagoong, to serve
  • water, as needed
  • 1 In a pot over medium heat, add tripe, vinegar, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, discard water, and refill. Boil again, cover, and lock lid. Simmer until tripe is tender, about 1 hour 30 minutes. Discard water, and set tenderized tripe aside.
  • 2 Meanwhile, toast rice in a dry frying pan over medium heat, stirring frequently. Remove from the pan and transfer to a mortar. Use the pestle to grind the toasted rice into a powder. Remove from the mortar. Add roasted peanuts and grind into a paste. Set aside.
  • 3 In a pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add atsuete seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, to release its color. Use a spoon to remove and discard seeds. Add onion; cook until softened. Add garlic; cook until fragrant.
  • 4 Add beef shanks and tripe. Pour in enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, then simmer. Remove and discard any scum that rises to the surface. Cover. Cook until softened, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • 5 Remove the lid. Add string beans and eggplants. Add peanut paste and toasted rice powder to the pot, and stir in. Simmer, and let thicken. Serve with bagoong on the side.

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