Friday, January 15, 2010
Kare-kare, or peanut butter for dinner
If you've ever wondered how to get more peanut butter into your system, look no further than the Philippines. Kare-kare is a traditional Filipino stew that's usually made from oxtail and tripe (and sometimes goat) with what is often called "peanut sauce." After a short investigation, involving both oral interviews and Internet searches, I ascertained that the primary ingredient is actually peanut butter.
I liked it, and I don't usually consider myself a peanut butter person. However, I categorically dislike anyone with a peanut allergy on principle and I like peanut candy. So I guess you could call me a peanut person as opposed to a non-peanut person.
In addition to oxtails, the dish is served with eggplant, green beans and some sort of choy-vegetable. On the side it comes with bagoong alamang, or salted shrimp paste. I think the function of the bagoong alamang is to balance out what is a sort of cloying peanutty sweetness of the kare kare. Much to my embarrassment, though, I can't stand salted shrimp paste straight. In a curry is another matter, of course. So I skipped the bagoong alamang and just stuck to the peanut butter. I would say, though, that I think this dish would be a lot better as part of a larger meal than an entire meal. This amount of Jiffy can be a little much.
This wondrous meal came from Max's Restaurant, a traditional Filipino chain that is older than the country itself (ie. it opened before the colonizing Americans bastards formally left, and was originally a place for American Troops to get their fried chicken on). Max's motto is "The House that Fried Chicken Built" so I guess I know what I will be ordering next time.