Kare-Kare: Filipino ox tail stew

Picture of Kare-Kare: Filipino ox tail stew
Kare-kare is a traditional Filipino ox tail stew in a peanut-based sauce. Because the recipe varies from family to family and person to person, what follows is a version of how this dish is made in my family.

NOTE: This recipe is time intensive. If you need it for a party, function, or family gathering, it would be wise to cook it (or begin cooking it) a day in advance.

Also, if your Nanay or Lola or Tita Gi make it better, feel free to contribute, comment, or, you know...criticize. You know you want to.

This instructible, the first in a series on Filipino food, is dedicated to my sweet mother (and unofficial collaborator), Rosvida, who took the time to teach her cooking-impaired, multi-culti, half-breed baby how to make this delicacy. Those matronly Filipina hands that you see in most of the photographs and video files belong to her. Maraming salamat po!
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Step 1: Gather Ingredients.

Picture of Gather Ingredients.
You will need the following:

-3 packages ox tail (2 lbs.) - 6lbs. total
-4 Asian ('Oriental') purple eggplant (the Chinese Ma-Zu and Ping Tung varieties work well)
-one fistful (aprox. 14 pieces) of long string beans (sitaw)
-4 small bok choy
-1 large onion
-(approx.) 1/4 cup (or less) uncooked rice
-1 package Mama Sita's Stew Base Mix (Pang Kare-Kare)
-1 jar peanut butter
-salt (2 tsp. or to taste)
-pepper (2 tsp. or to taste)

-1 8 qt. pot (if you have an extra one, plan on using it. if not, don't worry.)
-1 collander or strainer big enough to hold 6lbs. of ox tail, and, later, your vegetables
-1 pan

This recipe yields a family-size portion.

Also, this recipe contains more vegetables than usually used in the stew. If you prefer it with less, reduce the number of eggplant and bok choy.

Step 2: Trim and rinse the meat.

Picture of Trim and rinse the meat.
This stew tends to be on the fatty side if you don't trim the ox tail; if fat is an issue to you, trim the excess fat. After you trim each piece, rinse it under running water and put it in your 8 quart pot. If you do not wish to trim your ox tail pieces, simply rinse them and place them in the pot.

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techieagent3 years ago
wow. I love kare kare. My ex always cook this for me. Geez I remember I'll make tagalog pick up lines just to convince to cook that dish. :)
bowow08073 years ago
who here has heard of the infamous street food "betamax"?
Goodhart4 years ago
Ah thank you, this looks a little different then some I had some time ago and am anxious to give this a try. Looks great.
tanyaregala4 years ago
Hi Donna! Your kare kare looks really delicious! I'm collecting a list of the best kare kare recipes in my blog, and I included your kare kare recipe (just a link though, hope you don't mind). You can see it at Keep in touch!
ShotPain5 years ago
well, it does not neccesarily have to be ox tail... i myself is a proud pinoy, looks can be deceiving this is actually delicious. try it with "bagoong" or shrimp paste, or fish sauce if you wish. it is a must have for this traditional dish.
kwini20056 years ago
i have made kare kare before but it wasnt like this. it turned out really thick coz the fam recipe called for the whole jar of peanut butter! my boyfriend loves filipino food and when i took him to manila this past jan, he asked if i can recreate the food that we had... this recipe is the easiest that i found, he actually helped me make it. he loved it!
igor7 years ago
Been reading instructables for some time now and it took this to make me sign up. Yes, Kare-Kare is yummy especially with salty bagoong. :D This version is similar to how it is also cooked in our house. I believe traditionally it was cooked in clay pots over a slow wood fire.
donnauwanna (author)  igor7 years ago
Glad to hear it! Perhaps the creation of a "Filipino Cuisine" or, uh, "Food of the Philippines" group is in order? Maybe that way more of us can share recipes with each other...
me being fillipino i love the food they should make phillpino food fast food that would b cool
jongscx gunmanx7 years ago
Well, filipino food is neither "quick" nor "easy"... with the possibly exception of Adobo, Sio-Pao, and Lumpia (and of course our famous white-rice) you really couldn't have anything that someone can order and get cooked within 3-5 minutes. plus the main people who would eat there... Filipinos... would all go "Oy kaya ko din yan EH!" Roughly translated to: Why the hell would I buy that here?!? I can cook it at home.
I make siopao, but the process is quite time consuming. It takes several hours if I don't make the filling the night before I make the dough.

The only thing quick about siopao is eating it! Yummy!!!
Really? Try using those Pilsbury biscuits in a tube, and in a pinch, ready-made Chinese barbeque Pork (the sickly red-looking stuff) for filling. The most time-consuming part here would be the wrapping. It's hard to explain, but I'll try. Flatten the "biscuit dough" into a disk, put the meat in the middle. Now, think of the disk as a clock. Pinch 12 o'clock and 1 o'clock together, then add 2 o'clock, 3 o'clock, etc. until you go all the way around the circle and you end up with this onion-looking thing. That's the best way we've found to make it look pretty and stay together. Then, put it in a steamer and expect it to double in volume (leave lots of room around it to expand so they don't stick together.) Left-over adobo, menudo, caldereta, or anything made from canned corned-beef will work as filling too. good luck
donnauwanna (author)  gunmanx7 years ago
I don't know where in California you're based, but there are a few Filipino fast food places that have franchises throughout the state. There's always Goldilocks (you can grab anything from adobo to pinakbet to sotanghon, as well as halo halo and yummy sweet drinks, and tons of Filipino deserts and pastries), or Jollibee, which offers, well, Fil-Am fast food (variations on "American" staples: hamburgers, hotdogs, fried chicken, etc, plus fast food versions of more traditional Filipino dishes like palabok, lumpia shanghai, longsilog, topsilog, and some dishes that are very much a product of serious cross-cultural synthesis--"sweet" spaghetti, Burger Steak (a burger prepared like bifsteak), etc...).

In the Bay Area, there are food court-y places like Manila Bay Cuisine, as well as other places like Manila Express Gourmet Fast Foods. Personally, if I had to go for take-out (meal-wise) from any of these (which, admittedly, is a rare occurrence; most of the dishes at these places are prep'ed waaaay too unhealthy for me), my bet is on Golidlocks (though I have no qualms about picking up their desert--it's awesome).
o yeahh... lol i forgot and im from mira mesa so lol i shud have known
Do it! I'll be the first to join. Excellent Instructable. Ever heard of Bicol Express, and Gulay na Kalabasa? They're my specialty. So much so they're usually what family members ask me to bring to Pot Luck parties. My favorite spice - Sili'ng Labuyo Baybeeeee(AKA Boonie Peppers). Can't beat it. Hindi naman ako Pinoy, pero 100% Bicolano.(Not a Filipino, but still 100% Bicolano.
isn't kalabasa (squash) a gulay (vegetable) already?
It's always been referred to as that as far as I can remember. Every vegetable dish made with coconut milk I've ever known is always preceded by the word Gulay, then clarified by the actual vegetable it's made from. i.e. gulay na langka (nangka for tagalogs - aka jackfruit), gulay na talong (eggplant), gulay na amargoso (bitter melon) etc. Maybe it's a regional thing. (?) The only variant to this that I know of is pinangat (laing - taro leaf, also known as elephant ear, or gabi). It's all good!!!
i get it, in tagalog we call it "ginataan" (from gata = coconut milk), like ginataang kalabasa, ginataang langka.. yay gulay!
Please do!
I'll just be trying out what you guys put up, but I love Filipino food! Please teach me how to make it!
gunmanx canida7 years ago
try lumpia it taste realy good or try cheiken adobo with bay leaves its all awsome!!
canida gunmanx7 years ago
I've had it, and it's awesome. Want to tell me how to make it?
gunmanx canida7 years ago
ok this is a basic recipe for lumpia: -go to a store and pick up some flour rap (like the ones you use in egg roles) -grab some ground beef -take some ground beef and roll it up as long as you want -take your flour rap and rap it around the meat a few times then fry it and your good... remeber this is the basic style for more better stuff ask the guy who posted this
lol bagoong, Once I put a plateful of bagoong in the middle of the table, my sister saw it and thought it was corned beef, so she grabbed a spoon, and well.... ended up geting a spoonfull of SALTY bagoong in her mouth. She screamed so loudly. LOL
"feel free to contribute, comment, or, you know...criticize. You know you want to."


I can't believe I found an instructable on kare-kare. Cool! When I was a kid, I thought that ox tail really came from an ox. *giggle* does. Well, Cows at least, which are close enough to oxen or even Kalabao (Water buffalo)
toninoname6 years ago
Count me in! i'm Filipino too. Kare kare tastes so good that makes me eat more rice. I saw another tasty Filipino food recipes on Enjoy!
JakeTobak7 years ago
That looks REALLY good, but the whole "ox tail" thing kind of creeps me out. I'd definitely eat it in a sec if no one told me what it was before hand.
donnauwanna (author)  JakeTobak7 years ago
Yeah, I grew up around Filipino food my entire life, and I'd say, to this day, that's still a frequent rule of thumb with some least those I'd like to enjoy. Dinuguan, for instance, is a dish commonly referred to as "chocolate meat." Finding out as a child that that wasn't chocolate giving the sauce its color kinda ruined it for me. So did someone telling me what the "tasty suprise" inside [http://balut balut] was. Kare kare, though, I happen to love. What can I say? Ox tail is tasty.
Oh wow, balut is gross. I can barely eat "normal" eggs... I mean, it might taste good, but I don't think I could ever put it in my mouth.
I used to love eating balut, I remeber biting their little heads off >:~) but for some reason, I don't like eating it as much anymore.
I live in the Philippines but I only eat the yellow part in the balut. The duckling is scary!
chocolate meat LOL dinuguan is a must for humanitarian vampires
I guess that's why Campbell's changed the name of their Oxtail Soup (one of the original 4) to Vegetable Beef Soup. :)
donnauwanna (author)  LasVegas7 years ago
That's funny...I've always wondered why I was partial to Campbell's Vegetable Beef.
canida7 years ago
We're making this for dinner tonight! Updates as events warrant.
canida canida7 years ago
It was tasty!
However, I couldn't find my shrimp paste- someone apparently threw it out in the last clean-up without telling me. The sauce is pretty bland/mild, and really needs the kick. I added sriracha on the side instead.

Also, while I love gnawing oxtail, Eric found them weird and annoying. Next time he gets chicken or tofu in his bowl.
Wow, someone made a kare-kare Instructable! :D I love kare-kare, too bad my boyfriend's allergic to peanuts, though. I never eat it when I know I'm gonna see him because I wanna avoid giving him the kiss of death. >.< But yeah, I dunno my mom's recipie but from what I can tell, the only thing different that I know of is my mom uses chunky peanut butter so there's pieces of peanut in it. :)
littlemog927 years ago
im filipino when i make kare kare my japanese friend always says add some msg and then pulls out a dead cat from her freezer horf!! i always seem to feed my american friends choclate meat they dont know what it is they eat it and they are happy lol
jongscx7 years ago
Nice... I love this stuff. MASARAP!!! Can anyone say Knorr? at least the beef-stock cubes for this one. I don't think we know how to cook anything that Doesn't use it. Now all we need is an Instructable on "chocolate soup" and we'll be set.
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