Before the ready-mix Kare-kare came into the market, I cooked kare-kare the old fashioned way. Of course, busy homemakers prefer that method. Wikipedia notes that the kare-kare is made from Oxtail, with the skin on and cut into 2-inch lengths, and ox tripe are boiled until tender. Sometimes pieces of ox feet or shins are added. In some varieties, other types of meat are used, such as pork or (rarely) chicken (there is an instance of one version omitting the meat altogether and using vegetables). When the meat is tender, the soup becomes glutinous and to this is added ground roasted peanuts (or peanut butter), ground roasted glutinous rice to make the soup thicker. Atsuete (annatto) is added to give color. The basic vegetables for kare-kare include young banana flower bud or “heart” (puso ng saging), eggplant, string beans, and Chinese cabbage (pechay). Kare-kare is often served hot with special bagoong alamang (sauteed salted shrimp paste)..

Now for those that want the old, traditional way, here is how I do it.


1 buntot ng baka (ox tail) roughly 1 1/2 kilos
1 pata (ox leg) – Note: (You can always substitute the ox tail and ox leg with beef brisket)
6 cups water
1/4 cup cooking oil
1 head garlic, crushed
2 medium-sized onions, chopped
1/2 cup atsuete seeds for coloring
1/2 cup water (for atsuete)
4 eggplants, cut in 1/2 inch slices
1 banana heart, sliced crosswise
2 bundles stringbeans, cut in 2 inches length
1 bundle Chinese Cabbage (Pechay)
Optional vegetables (ampalaya, celery)
1/2 cup bagoong alamang
1 cup ground peanuts (if you prefer, substitute with peanut butter)
1 cup toasted to light brown, ground rice (if using peanut butter, reduce to 1/4 cup toasted ground rice)
Juice of 5 calamansi
salt and pepper


1. Clean the oxtail and ox leg and cut into 3 inch pieces. Boil once and discard water. Boil again until tender. Cut into desired pieces. Set Aside

2. Soak atsuete seeds in 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Rub to bring out color. Drain atsuete liquid and discard atsuete seeds. Set aside.

3. Boil 6 cups water. Drop sitao and parboil. Remove and set aside. Do the same with the eggplant, pechay and banana heart (puso na saging).

4. Saute garlic and onions in cooking oil.

5. Add bagoong and atsuete water. Boil for 4 minutes,

6, Blend in peanuts (or peanut butter) and ground toasted rice. Boil. Check if you have reached your desired consistency. Add more toasted rice powder till you reach desired consistency.

Note: you can have a combination of ground peanuts and peanut butter for the sauce.

7. Add the meat then the calamansi juice.

8. Just before removing from fire, add the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper to desired flavor.

9. Serve with Bagoong Guisado (See recipe below)

Bagoong Guisado

1/4 cooking oil
1 head garlic, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/4 kilo boiled pork, diced
1 1/2 cup bagoong alamang
2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 cup broth
2 pieces red sili, chopped (optional)

1. Saute garlic and onion in oil.

2. Add pork, bagoong and sugar. Mix well.

3. Add vinegar and broth. (and sili if you prefer)

4. Boil until consistency is dry to your liking.

5. Serve with Kare-kare

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