I'm sure that underneath that mysterious medley, there were individual scents that I would recognize if given the opportunity, but by the time we walked through the doors, they were already in the midst of their heady marriage and my chance to take a peek had vanished. I was always mesmerized by those unfamiliar smells that came from Christine's kitchen. And yet, looking back, I cannot remember ever eating a meal in her Filipino kitchen. Not once. I mean, how does two years of being close friends with a 100% Filipino somebody pass by without ever sitting down to an authentic Filipino meal? We ordered a lot of pizza. That I remember. Could it be that thing that first generation children go through? Trying to "forget" their ethnic identities and just blend in with their friends? I'm thinking it probably was...although I wish that my thirteen year old self had just once thought to ask her friend if she could eat a home cooked, authentic-Filipino meal that her grandma had made. Typical kid.
Back to the present day...in my very own kitchen...the smells of friends home some twenty years ago...are bubbling away in the pot in front of me. Who would have thought that fermented shrimp, tail, peanut butter, vegetables, and stomach lining could all go into a pot together and come out with a taste so silky, deep, and delicious? Not me. Now I know different.
Kare Kare was my first venture into the world of Filipino cooking. I arrived at it in a somewhat roundabout manner, though. When faced with the challenge of picking a classic dish from a cuisine I was unfamiliar with...one that would challenge me...I was at a loss. My brain was blank. Nada. Nothing. Sh*t. What in the world literally could I make? Bypassing French and Italian was a recommendation...so of course my brain kept going back to French things. And Italian things. Oh, and you bet your sweet cheeks it kept focusing on Mexican, too. But, those of you who know me would scoff at my choice of making Mexican cuisine...since it is not unfamiliar to me. In the least.
Sooooo, back to the web of confusion. I scoured the net...and my bookshelves...and the library bookshelves...and the brains of anybody who dared cross my path. My notebook had
two recipes to make my final dish. One contained both the tripe and the oxtails, but no veggies. One contained oxtail and veggies, but no tripe. So, I altered them a bit (without changing anything, just enhancing, so as to stay true) and came up with this....
Filipino Oxtail & Tripe Stew
yield: ~4 svgs.
2 Tbs. Annatto (achiote) Oil (recipe follows)
1 1/3 lbs. Oxtails, patted dry
1¼ lbs. Beef Tripe
2 small onions, sliced
4 garlic cloves, peeled & smashed
1 heaping Tbs. Bagoong Alamang (shrimp paste...recipe follows)
1 medium tomato, grated
3 c. homemade Beef Stock
3 c. water
1 medium eggplant, cubed
2 big handfuls fresh green beans, trimmed
8 big leaves bok choy, sliced
~½ c. roasted peanuts, to make ~¼ c. peanut butter
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Heat the annatto oil in a Dutch Oven over medium high heat. Brown the oxtails on all sides. Reducing heat to about medium after it starts to feel and look like it's getting too hot.
In the meantime, bring a large pot of water to a boil. Drop the tripe in and bring back to a boil. Cook for ~5 minutes. This will help to get rid of any impurities. Drain. Chop tripe into squares. Set aside.
Once the oxtails are browned on all sides, add the onions and garlic to pan. Sauté for a couple of minutes, then stir in the Bagoong Alamang. Stir it around for ~30 seconds or so, it will burn quickly if you don't watch it. Add the prepared tripe to the pot along with the grated tomato, followed by the beef stock and water. Season with a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil. Cover partially, reduce to a simmer and cook for 90 minutes.
At this point you want to process the peanuts into a smooth-ish peanut butter. Add a bit of the hot soup to it and whisk to combine.
Whisk it all back into the soup and drizzle in a bit of Sriracha. Add the veggies to the pot, return to a simmer and allow to cook until the veggies are just tender, ~10-15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt & Sriracha as needed.Wiki's 2005 stats). I choose to believe, in my mind, that that is still true. And I searched the whole town...seriously, no joke...the whole town (and the two towns over) for some San Miguel beer, which is produced in the Philippines, only to come up empty handed. People remember it, but haven't seen it in a couple of years. So, I substituted one of my favorites to drink with my Kare Kare.
Annatto (achiote) Oil
1 c. olive oil/veg oil
Combine both in a small pot and heat over medium flame until you see the oil just begin to "fizzle" up from the seeds. You do not want it to boil, or it will turn bitter and off-colored. Let sit on stove top to cool, then strain out the seeds. Store in an airtight container in refrigerator.
fermented shrimp paste
~1 Tbs. Annatto Oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, sliced
1 small tomato, sliced
4 Tbs. alamang (fermented shrimp, crushed/powdered)
Sauté the garlic, onion, and tomato in the oil until soft. Add the alamang and salt and saute for another minute. Pureé everything in a food processor. Refrigerate.Kare Kare is my entry into the PFB (Project Food Blog) Challenge #2. Voting for this round opens tomorrow (9/27) and if you like my entry, I'd be forever grateful if you'd head over and give me a vote! I'll be sure to add a link back once voting opens, but you can always click on my "official contestant" badge at the top of my page..when it says "vote for me" in the orange bar, that means voting is officially open!! Thank you ☺. *UPDATE (9/27)...voting is NOW OPEN! Click HERE to vote for me!*
|The full KARE KARE spread...white rice, bagoong alamang, sriracha, beer|
Update 1/2/11: I am sharing this w/ the 12 Days of Bloggie-mas!