WATCH: This Is How To Cook Filipino Kare-Kare

Learn how to cook kare-kare the classic way!

The traditional way of making a classic kare-kare recipe involved a lot of preparation. Back then, there were no electric food processors or speedy choppers or blenders to do the work for us! To cook kare-kare, you needed a pandikdik or a mortar and pestle. Particularly, an almires or stone mortar was used to grind kare-kare ingredients like rice and peanuts. It may take a lot of time and effort, but grinding toasted rice and peanuts is an essential step that gives the kare-kare its unique flavor.

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.

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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.

Feel free to change the meat and even vegetables as you like! The most traditional meat for kare-kare is beef; in this recipe, we used beef shank but you can replace it with oxtail for a more classic version. Another quintessential beef kare-kare ingredient is tuwalya or beef tripe, which you can buy at your local meat shop. If you're not a fan of beef, you can also make kare-kare with pork, seafood, or even just vegetables.

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

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Filipino Kare-Kare Recipe  

  • Takes 3 hours  
  • Makes 6 servings 

Filipino Kare-Kare Ingredients

  • 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

How To Make Filipino Kare-Kare 

  • 1 In a pot over medium heat, add tripe, vinegar, and enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Boil 10 minutes, discard the 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.
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  • 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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