OK, I know. Oxtail isn’t for everyone but I thought I’d share this recipe anyway. It was my favorite growing up. Oxtail isn’t as scary as it sounds. It’s a tough cut but if you cook it slowly and for a LONG time, it’s really flavorful and delicious. I cook it so long that the meat falls off the bone. If you ate my Kare Kare, you’d think you were having a slow cooked beef stew.
I was so excited to make Kare Kare this weekend because it was going to be the first time I made the sauce from scratch. Even my Mom uses a powered sauce mix. Also, I really wanted to use my new Le Creuset dish. It’s so pretty. I got it at Marshall’s for pretty cheap.
Kare Kare is a funny dish. I don’t think it’s anything like any of the other Filipino dishes I’ve had. It’s more like a West African peanut based stew. I think the thing that makes this dish very much Filipino is the use of bagoong (shrimp paste) to salt the dish. It’s got a strong smell like Patis (fish sauce). I plan to do a post about Filipino condiments and ingredients soon, so I’ll save the description until then.
- 1 medium onion sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic diced
- 3 lbs of Oxtails
- 2 cups oxtail broth (from slow cooking)
- 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil
- 1/3 cup calrose or other white rice
- 3/4 cup of peanut butter (smooth or chunky)
- 1/2 teaspoon of annatto powder
- One bunch (about 20 pieces) of long beans cut into 2 inch pieces.
- 4-5 Japanese eggplants cut into 2 pieces and quartered. I used Filipino eggplants because I could find them.
- 3 cups of bok choy cleaned with bottoms cut off
- Bagoong to taste (optional – sort of)
The night before you plan to make Kare Kare, put the oxtail in a slow cooker, cover the with water and let them cook on low heat over night. I cooked ours for 24 hours before using them because I like the meat to be so tender it falls off the bone.
On medium-high heat, roast the calrose rice.
On medium heat, sauté the onions and garlic in the oil until they are soft. Add the annatto powder and 1/4 cup of the the broth. I use a separator to get some of the fat from the liquid.
Once everything is this unnatural color, add the eggplant.
Once the eggplants are orange too, add the long beans, the bok choy and 1/2 cup of broth.
I covered the pot, reduced the heat to low and let the bok choy cook down for about 5-10 minutes. While it was cooking, I separated the meat from the bone. Actually, I just had to pick the bones out because meat separated itself.
Once the bak choy had cooked down, I mixed the remaining broth with the roasted rice powder and peanut butter then added it to the dish. I then added the meat, reduced the heat to lowest temperature and let it cook for about 10 – 15 minutes more to combine all the flavors.
I don’t have a pretty picture of the finished dish because our dinner guests started coming over. Here’s what it looked like when it was close to done on the stove.
Here’s what it would have looked like if I plated it and took a nice picture.
When you taste the dish, it clearly needs salt. This is where the bagoong comes in. You serve the Kare Kare over rice and then mix it a tiny bit of the bagoong to start. Probably an 1/8 of a teaspoon. You add more as needed. If you can’t find bagoong or shrimp paste, you can use fish sauce or even just salt. The Bagoong does give it the finishing touch though. This recipe easily serves 6-8 people.
I took the picture from Cooking with Peachy who makes Kare Kare using a the powdered sauce mix. She also uses beef brisket and tripe instead of oxtail. Traditionally, Kare Kare includes tripe but I always omit it. If you go with the mix, look for the Mama Sita brand and add a little peanut butter. I always think it needs it.
So, anyone up for trying oxtail? I promise, it’s really delicious and not scary at all.