Making Kare-Kare for dinner was a huge risk because chances were I would be the only one to eat it. Ever since I met MR, he has always been vocal about not liking Kare-Kare. He never said why, but I'm thinking he must have had a bad batch sometime during his childhood. I didn't grow up eating Kare-Kare at home either nor was it a dish we ordered at restaurants. I must have tried it once or twice, but the dish really never stood out. But as the days came closer to my date of departure 2 years ago, I found myself often thinking of Kare-Kare and wondering to myself if I was missing out on something great. Leaving a country does that to you I guess. Luckily for me, MR arranged a surprise goodbye party before I left and Kare-Kare was one of the dishes on the menu. This was in Kaona Grill in Cebu, Philippines and anyone who knows the place knows that Kaona Grill is famously known for their Crispy Kare-Kare (click here for the post). This was the perfect Kare-Kare initiation for me and MR. Unfortunately, this had me craving for it, which was bearable until last Friday when I finally put my foot down and went shopping at the Asian store to get as many available products as possible to make my recipe. I was gonna make it that evening, but there was no time, then we were invited on Saturday night, and I didn't have enough time again on Sunday. It's a vicious circle. So finally I said, rain or shine, I'm making it for dinner on Monday!
I had about 1 kilo of beef oxtail and beef soup bones. Transfer to a pot, cover with water, and let it simmer slowly until the meat is tender (about 3-4 hours). Make sure to remove the impurities that rise to the top once in a while.
In another pan, heat some oil. Saute 4 diced garlic and 1 diced onion until translucent.
In the meantime, remove the beef from the broth and set aside. Do not throw the broth, you will need it later.
Transfer the beef pieces to the garlic and onion. Add 1 tablespoon of fish sauce. Stir and let it simmer for 5 minutes.
Next, add 750 ml of the beef broth, 6 tablespoons of peanut butter, 1 teaspoon of achuete powder, salt, and black pepper. Stir everything well and let it simmer.
Add a sliced eggplant to the pot. Simmer for 5-8 minutes.
Finally add bokchoy. I would have loved to add long beans, but I couldn't find any. Stir and continue to simmer until the vegetables are cooked.
At this point, the sauce thickens wonderfully. I thought the peanut butter would overpower in flavor, but it doesn't at all. Instead, you have a wonderful almost gravy-like sauce. It's really interesting and delicious! And good news, I wasn't the only one to feast on this tonight. Not only did SO enjoy, but MR as well! I'm a happy wife / mother!
Dinner is served: Kare Kare, Shrimp Paste, and White Rice