Kare-kare is a popular Filipino dish consisting of ox tail or goat meat, vegetables, peanut sauce and ground rice grains. Bagoong is the partner of kare-kare and it is hard eating one without the other. It is usually served during fiestas and other occasions. Kare-kare is believed to originate from Pampanga, a Philippine province where most yummy Pinoy foods come from. In another story, kare-kare came from the Moros and was served to the elite only. When the Moros came to Manila, they were able to share the food to the region.
Kare-kare is served hot with bagoong on the side and best with rice, Filipinos' staple food. It is a main course and tastes creamy with the peanut creating an overpowering flavor. It has a texture and will taste even better with the bagoong (shrimp paste). Without bagoong, kare-kare tastes a little bland. Some people use peanut butter in place of the ground peanut, but this will make the kare-kare taste sweet. Some people like it that way while some others prefer the traditional taste of the viand.
For a family serving, buying the ingredients will cost up to P300. If the cook will add more servings, then the price will go up as more portions of the ingredients will be added. On the other hand, for people who want to try kare-kare but do not want to cook, there are restaurants in the Philippines that serve the recipe. Max's Restaurant, Cabalen, Kalde-Kaldero Kawa-Kawali, and other Filipino restaurants have kare-kare on the menu that ranges from P200-300 per serving. If you will buy it from a neighborhood carinderia, serving is from P30-50 per serving.
Preparing the kare-kare takes a long time. The ox tail and ox tripe are cut into medium-sized pieces and are brought to a boil. Sometimes, ox tripe and meat are used. When the meat is tender, the ground peanut or peanut sauce and the ground rice is added to the mixture, making the soup thicker. The vegetables are then added, such as banana heart locally known as puso ng saging, egpplant, string beans, and Chinese cabbage. Lastly, atsuete water (annatto) is added to give kare-kare its distinct color and make it look more appetizing.
There are other types of kare-kare that are as delicious as the traditional one, too. There's the seafood kare-kare where shrimps and crabs are used in place of ox tails and tripe and is perfect during Holy Week when many people avoid eating meat. Kare-kare surely intensifies the diverse and distinct taste of the Filipino cuisine.
Oxtail or other meat, banana heart, peanuts, vegetables