Pork Belly Kare-Kare with tender meat in creamy peanut sauce with vegetables. A delicious, hearty and thick stew that will warm your belly from the inside out!
What is Kare-Kare?
Kare-Kare is a Filipino comfort food that has been enjoyed for generations. The name “Kare-Kare” is derived from the Filipino word “kari,” which means curry, and “re” for “relish.” The stew is always served with shrimp paste. It’s unimaginable to have this dish without bagoong.
This dish is characterized by its rich, thick peanut sauce and is traditionally made with oxtail, tripes, and vegetables. It is often served during special occasions and family gatherings, making it a true Filipino culinary treasure.
Kare-Kare Sauce: A Nutty Delight
Peanut butter is not just good as a spread for bread but also plays a critical part in this dish. The type of peanut butter that you use will make or break the dish. The signature sauce is made from ground roasted peanuts or peanut butter, combined with rice, annatto seeds (achuete), garlic, and sometimes shrimp paste (bagoong). This unique combination creates a creamy, nutty, and slightly sweet sauce that coats the ingredients, infusing them with a complex flavor profile.
What Does Kare-Kare Taste Like?
Pork belly kare-kare is an explosion of flavors. The creamy peanut sauce provides a satisfying richness and nuttiness to the dish. It’s complemented by the tender, slow-cooked meat, and a medley of vegetables like eggplant, string beans, and bok-choy. Combining these elements results in a harmonious blend of savory and slightly sweet flavors, with a hint of umami from the shrimp paste.
Substitute for Oxtail
While oxtail is the traditional choice for the dish, you can certainly substitute it with other meats if desired. One excellent option for those who prefer pork is using pork hock or pork belly. These cuts of pork can provide a similar tenderness and depth of flavor when cooked properly. Additionally, you can explore plant-based alternatives like tofu or tempeh for a vegetarian version of this beloved dish.
How to Serve and Store
Frequently Asked Questions
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- 1 kilo pork belly (washed and cut in cubes approx. 2 inches)
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 1½ tbsp annatto powder
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 3 cloves garlic (crushed)
- 1 medium onion (sliced)
- 1 cup string beans
- 1 aubergine/eggplant
- 1 bunch bok choy
- 4 cups water (add more if needed)
- 1 tbsp salt
- In a pot, boil water with salt and add the cut pork bellies until half-way tender. Remove meat from water and set aside.1 kilo pork belly, 4 cups water, 1 tbsp salt
- Save the stock where the meat was boiled and set aside.
- Separately boil the string beans and aubergine until soft then remove from the water and set aside.1 cup string beans, 1 aubergine/eggplant
- In the same pot where the vegetables were cooked, blanch the bok choy until it turns bright green and slightly tender, approx. 40 seconds.1 bunch bok choy
- In another cooking pot. Saute garlic and onion until translucent. Lower heat and add peanut butter stir for 5 seconds then add the annatto powder and stir until incorporated.½ cup peanut butter, 2 tbsp cooking oil, 3 cloves garlic, 1 medium onion, 1½ tbsp annatto powder
- Add the pork belly cubes and mix until the meat absorbs the sauce. Pour in the stock and cover the pot. After 10 minutes check that the meat if fully cooked.
- Add the vegetables and mix until coated with sauce. Serve with shrimp paste as condiment and rice. Bon Appetit!