Kare Kare has meat so tender, you can eat it with just a spoon if you wanted to. Everything’s bathed with a thick peanut sauce that makes Filipinos proud to say that we have a dish that’s cooked with peanut butter. It sounds like one of those kitchen hacks you hashtag because you use a different pantry ingredient that’s usually reserved for sandwiches and desserts. But Filipinos have been cooking this dish for many years, grinding peanuts into a paste and scraping it into the pot of simmering meat.
I was surprised when a friend told me how long it took him to cook Kare Kare for the first time. “Three hours?! WTF?”
I was confused. My mom could get home from work at 6pm and have Kare Kare on the table from start to finish by 7:30pm tops. What was her secret?
Turns out there was a reason why she used those hissing pots that competed with the volume on my TV. They tenderize the meat faster and cut cooking time by more than half. Nowadays we have electric pressure cookers that are quieter, leaving everyone in the house to watch Netflix undisturbed.
Personally, I like to mix in the fermented shrimp paste before serving so that I already have a perfectly seasoned sauce, especially for people unfamiliar or simply turned off by it. But a lot of people, my wife included, are use to keeping the bagoong on the side of their plate, scraping just a pinch with each bite to liven up the sauce. Happy wife, happy life.
KARE KARE w/ an Electric Pressure Cooker (Filipino Braised Oxtail in Peanut Sauce)
Cooking Time: ~1 Hour 15 Minutes
3 Lbs Oxtail
6 Cloves Garlic (Minced)
1 Onion (Julienned)
1 Tablespoon Ginger (Minced)
1 Chinese Eggplant
2 Bok Choy
4 Ounces Green Beans
4 Cups Low Sodium Chicken Stock (or water)
1 Cup Unsalted Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons Patis (Fish Sauce)
2 Teaspoons Annato Powder
Bagoong (Fermented Shrimp Paste) To Taste
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Set the pressure cooker on high sauté mode, pour about a tablespoon of cooking oil. Once the pot is hot, sear the oxtail, turning after 1-2 minutes to brown all sides. About 10 Minutes total.
- Remove the oxtail and set on a plate.
- Throw the onions in the pot and sauté until soft. About 2 minutes.
- Toss in the garlic and ginger and continue to sauté until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Deglaze the pot by pouring in 1 cup of the chicken broth and scraping the bottoms of the pan with a wooden spoon, being sure to release all of the brown bits stuck to the bottoms of the pot.
- Return the oxtail to the pot and pour in the remaining 3 cups of chicken stock. Close the lid, ensure the release valve is set to “seal.” Set the pressure cooker to high pressure and pressure cook for 45 minutes.
- Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. If you don’t have a steamer basket, arrange a sheet of aluminum foil over the wired trivet that came with your pressure cooker. Poke several holes in the foil with a fork. Cut the eggplant in half crosswise then into slices that are about 4 inches long and 1 inch thick. Trim the ends of the green beans. Slice the bottoms of the baby bok choy. Place the vegetables in the steamer basket or on the foil lined trivet.
- Once the oxtail is done, turn the pressure release valve with a wooden spoon to avoid injury. Open the lid and remove the oxtail and set in a big bowl or pot.
- Using kitchen mits or towels, carefully remove the pot from the cooker and strain the broth into a separate bowl, then return the pot to the cooker. Press on the strained bits of onions and garlic to release any remaining broth. Discard the strained bits.
- Pour 1 cup of the oxtail broth back into the pot, then place the trivet of vegetables into the pot.
- Close the lid and ensure the release valve is set back to seal. Pressure cook on low pressure for 2 minutes.
- Once the vegetables are done, turn the pressure release valve with a wooden spoon to avoid injury. Open the lid. Using kitchen mits or towels, carefully remove the basket or trivet of vegetables from the cooker and set on a plate. Season with a few punches of salt and pepper to your liking, then transfer the vegetables to the bowl of oxtail.
- Set the cooker on sauté mode. Whisk in the patis (fish sauce), peanut butter, and annato powder. Then pour in the remaining oxtail broth and whisk to thoroughly combine.
- Season the sauce to your liking with salt, pepper, and Bagoong (fermented shrimp paste). Leave plenty room for seasoning if serving with Bagoong on the side.
- Pour the sauce over the oxtail and vegetables.