Kare kare

Kare kare

My Feast
Chris Chen

This dish was brought to the Philippines by Sikh soldiers in the British Army and then made into a unique and very Filipino dish. Apparently the British decided to send 500 Indian troops to the Philippines to annoy the Spaniards. Once there. the soldiers loved the place and the people, and when they were recalled they refused to go and decided to stay. The soldiers settled on the route to a pilgrimage site and each year as the pilgrims passed the soldiers offered them rice and curry. Word soon spread about these curries and in true Pinoy style the locals started making their own versions. Just like many Filipino dishes, it has morphed into the kare kare of today; a world away from the original rice and curry.


Quantity Ingredient
4 slices eggplant, about 2.5 cm thick
1 banana bud, outer leaves removed, inner core cut into 2.5 cm thick slices
1 bunch snake beans, trimmed
salt, to taste
chilli paste and steamed rice, to serve


Quantity Ingredient
1kg oxtail or beef or beef tripe or a combination, cut into 2 cm pieces
1 dried bay leaf
2 litres water

Kare kare sauce

Quantity Ingredient
125ml vegetable oil
80ml annatto oil, (see glossary)
garlic, minced
1 small onion, diced
1 tablespoon crunchy peanut butter
1 tablespoon smooth peanut butter
50g ground toasted rice


  1. To make the stock, place the oxtail, beef or tripe (or whatever meat you have chosen) in a large stockpot with the bay leaf and water, bring to the boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour or until cooked. Strain, reserve the stock and keep the meat warm.
  2. To make the kare kare sauce, heat both the oils in a large saucepan or wok over medium heat, add the garlic and onion and cook until golden. Add the peanut butters and 1 litre of the reserved stock and simmer until reduced by half. Add the toasted rice and stir until thick and gelatinous. Remove from the heat and keep warm.
  3. Grill the eggplant over an open wood fire or on a barbecue grill until the skin is charred and blackened.
  4. Cook the banana bud and string beans in separate pans of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to the bite. Drain and keep warm.
  5. To serve, season the meat and arrange on a plate with the vegetables. Pour the hot kare kare sauce over and serve with the chilli paste and rice.
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