Thursday 21 June 2012


As a Filipino, I naturally love Filipino food. It is the food my tastebuds have been honed on. Although it is one of the lesser known Asian cuisine, those who have tasted it, rave about it. Not much herbs and spices are used but the flavour comes from the natural taste of the best ingredients. A lot of our food are simple and probably doesn't have an edge in terms of presentation. I think for our food to have a wider multicultural fan base, we have to present them in a way which is more universally appealing.

Our Kulinarya Cooking Club theme for this month of June, courtesy of our gracious hosts Tina of Pinay in Texas Cooking Corner and Cherrie of  Sweet Cherrie Pie is native Filipino cuisine. A recent revival of Filipino heritage dishes has brought to the fore old recipes that through the years have been eclipsed by modern and foreign cuisine. Although a lot of Filipino dishes has Spanish or Chinese influence, there are also a lot of indigenous Filipino dishes that truly originated from the Philippines. 

Kari kari, also called kare kare, is one of the all time favourite native dishes. It is a stew, usually made with oxtail or tripe or a variety of meat cuts (I used oxtail and shin of beef with marrow bone), with a rich peanut gravy that derives its characteristic yellow color from annatto seeds. Ground fried or roasted peanuts and ground toasted rice grains provide richness to the sauce. Although modern cooks use peanut butter, ground peanuts is the traditional and correct ingredient for making the traditional recipe. Kari kari is not complete if not served with a side dish of ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste). 

Kari kari apparently originates from the Southern part of the Philippines. It was brought to Manila by the Moros (the Southern natives) where it was embraced as a national dish. The flavour is very characteristically Malay, owing to the Southern tip of the Philippines' proximity to the other Southeast Asian countries. Although there has been mention of the name being derived from the word curry, I think the more logical explanation is that the Malay term for dishes with sauce is kari which simply means sauce.

I have interpreted this dish in a way that can be better appreciated by Filipinos and non-Filipinos alike. It is one of those Filipino stews that becomes uniform in colour when cooked. Filipinos say that our food is unappealing because it is usually brown. In this case, it is yellow. I have cooked the vegetables separately and just added them to the dish in the end. This way, the sauce remains pure and rich, undiluted by the juices of the vegetables. The vegetables have retained their original colour too because they were not cooked in the yellow sauce. 


1 1/2 kg. oxtail and shin of beef meat
3 large onions, sliced
cooking oil
3 tbsps. of annato (achuete) oil
1 1/2 tbsps. crushed garlic
1/4 c. ginisang bagoong (sauteed shrimp paste)
3 tbsps. toasted store bought ground rice
2/3 c. ground fried or roasted peanuts
8 snake beans (sitaw)
6 eggplants or 10 baby eggplants
1 fresh banana heart, split into 6 wedges and soaked in salted water (or use tinned cooked banana heart like I did here)
ginisang bagoong to serve


Cut the shin meat into big chunks, similar to the size of the oxtail pieces. 

Pan fry all the meat pieces, a few pieces at a time in the cooking oil until well browned all over. 

Transfer the browned meat and 1/3 of the onion slices into a big pot and cover with water. 

Bring to a boil and simmer until tender (about 2 hours). This can also be done in a pressure cooker for 20 minutes.

Take the meat out of the stock and set aside. Strain the stock and skim off the fat from the surface.

Toasted rice and ground peanuts.
Heat up a big pan or wok and add the annato oil. Sauté the garlic on low heat until fragrant and starting to crisp. 

Add the onions and sauté until very soft. Add the peanuts and bagoong and stir for about 2 minutes. 

Add 5 cups of the stock and bring to a boil. 

Add the ground rice. Bring to a boil and simmer for 3 minutes. 

At this stage, I pureed the sauce with a hand blender because I like my sauce smooth. 

Return the meat to the sauce and simmer on low heat for 10 minutes.

Store bought ginisang bagoong.
Split the eggplants into halves, lengthwise, and fry until cooked. 

Boil the snake beans and banana heart separately.

Add the vegetables to the kari kari and simmer for 3 minutes. Serve with ginisang bagoong.

For the annato (achuete) oil:

Heat up 1/2 cup of cooking oil. When hot add 2 tbsps. of annato (achuete) seeds. Take off the heat and leave to steep and cool. Strain the seeds off. Use the oil in recipes.

All rights reserved ©Adora's Box Copyright 2011.  

                        See the other posts for this month's theme:

Palitaw  from Day of Chef by Day 
Avocado Shake from Malou of Skip To Malou
Pinais na Isda from Iska of
Tapsilog from Cherrie of Sweet Cherrie Pie
Kulawong Talong from Elizabeth of Asian In America
Kalamay na Pinipig from Jun of Jun-blog

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You might also like
Sweet and Spicy Beef Tapa

                                          Lechon Manok (Filipino Roast Chicken)

Pork Menudo
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  1. This is one of my all-time favorite dishes and you photographed it so beautifully. I love your knotted string beans. I've just had a huge dinner but I'd be a happy glutton were this offered to me right now.

  2. Kari kari is my favorite dish of all time. Yours look great.

  3. Always a favorite of mine too! Great post!

  4. just love kare kare ♥♥♥

  5. Hello! Comustaka? The photos look very good, and so does the post!

  6. I already left a comment, but I also want to nominate you for the versatile blogger award.

  7. At first I thought kari kari is the name for some kind of dessert, how interesting!

  8. Very beautiful presentation of kare-kare, Adora! Simply looking at it makes me hungry!

  9. Kare kare is a favorite and your presentation is simply fabulous! Just like the rest, it makes me hungry I want to grab ingredients to cook ASAP.

  10. great photos. Makes me want to dive right in.

  11. Thank you for that tidbit of info. I didn't know much about its origin until now. This is an all time favorite. Hubs has always requested for this but his Lola made it so good that I'm afraid to dampen his expectations
    with my version. hahah. NOw please pass the rice Adora, I'm ready to eat! :)
    happy monday,

  12. I love Kare Kare and would eat it everyday if I could ! Love your photos and presentation esp. of the green beans ~ so cute! Thanks for the detailed info. Bookmarking this post and your other delish recipes. Always a pleasure to come visit your blog, Adora ! Mabuhay!

  13. Beautiful karekare. Yum! I agree, our karekare came from the Malays and Indonesians, not the Indian curry. The link is the peanuts sauce.

  14. Oh gosh, this is one of my favorite pinoy dishes paired sweet-spicy bagoong!

    Here's my late entry: Pancit Habhab

  15. That's a great photo, makes me want to reach out and spoon some. If only I could eat the screen ;-)

  16. I saw oxtail in the supermarket yesterday and wondered what I could do with it, this dish sounds amazing, will be making it very soon. Can I sub with regular fresh ripe banana?

    1. Hi Debs. Sorry bananas are not suitable for this dish. You can omit the banana hearts though and it would not make a difference.


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