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.


  1. I dislike people with peanut allergies too! Oh, I miss you...

  2. I love that you categorically dislike people with peanut allergies. :)

  3. A lot of people with peanut allergies -often Asian--are only allergic to roasted peanuts and roasted peanut products. They are not allergic to boiled peanuts which is what is done with them in China.

    It is something that is formed in the roasting process.