Philippine Comfort Food
Legacy of the OIld Sultanates

To many Fillipinos, no major party or celebration is complete without Kare-Kare.

Cooking Asian dishes with fresh ginger


Kare-Kare signifies a stew made with oxtails, vegetables and peanut gravy. Sometimes, the meat may include trip,e or also goat or chicken.  Frequently it is just oxtail, as in this recipe, from a Filipina friend.

Kare-Kare is now considered a national dish of the Philippines.  It has its origins in the South of the country, and is a heritage from the period before the arrival of the Spaniards.  It does, however, hail from the old Suntanates from around Sulo, so it probably has Malay or Southeast Asian origins.

Here’s a good recipe that will serve 4 to 6 people, depending on the other dishes.

Cooking Asian dishes with broccoli


Meal suggestion: This dish might be served in a meal including dishes like transparent noodles (Sotangjon), stir-fried vegetables, say Broccoli with Pork Slices, Green Mangoes with Bagoong dip on the side and plain steamed rice.



3 pounds Oxtails, cut into 2-inch sections

Cooking Asian dishes with onions

Large White Onions

1 large Onion
1 section fresh Ginger, about 1 inch long
1 tablespoon Peanut Butter
½ cup Fish Sauce
1/3 cup Annatto Seeds
1 small bunch Yard-Long Beans
10 pieces Okra
4 Asian Eggplants


First, trim the Oxtails to 2-inch sections, or have the bucher do this.

Mince the Onion finely.

Peel the Ginger and mince finely.

Wash the Eggplants and remove the ends.

Wash the Yard-Long Beans and cut into thirds.

Cover the Oxtails, Ginger and Onions with enough water to cover and simmer until the meat is tender and almost falling off the bones.  Keep the water level just high enugh to cover the meat, and add more water as needed.

In another pan boil enough water to cover the Annatto Seeds and pour over the seeds and then set aside.

Cooking Asian dishes with fish sauce

Fish Sauce

Add the Peanut Butter and Fish Sauce to the Oxtails and simmer a few minutes. Add the water from the dish with the Annatto Seeds and the Annatto Seeds themselves.  If the water isn’t dark enough, steep Annatto Seeds in more boiling water and when it is a dark orange or reddish color add to the Oxtails.  Add the vegetables and boil another 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender but not flabby.

Serving suggestions: Serve with Rice accompanied by sliced Green Mangoes and Bagoong dip.


Annatto: The seeds of the Annatto plant, dark reddish in color.  Lend a distinctive flavor and a dark yellow or reddish color to foods.

Yard-Long Beans: A type of long Green Beans sold in Asian stores

Fish Sauce: Called Patis in the Philippines and Nuoc Mam in Vietnam; an essential seasoning for most Southeast Asian cuisines.

Bagoong: Salted Shrimp Sauce, also sold in Asian markets.

Cooking Asian dishes with Asian eggplants

Asian Eggplants

The Asian eggplants are smaller than the Western type and again, sold in stores that handle Asian ingredients.

Image of Philippine patriot M.H. Del Pilar;


2 thoughts on “Kare-Kare

  1. Pingback: How to make Bitter Melon Salad, a Filipino favorite | Pacific Rim Gourmet

  2. Pingback: Philippine cuisine | Pacific Rim Gourmet

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