The last time I tried cooking kare-kare was decades ago but let’s not start counting please. That was back in HS with the help of my dad and sis. It wasn’t even successful as the beef tripe was tough and chewy my teeth still hurts just thinking about it. Fate never led me to cook it again ever since. This stew in peanut sauce isn’t really one of my favorites and anyhoo, I had my regular dose occasionally. But not anymore. Bagoong alamang (fermented shrimp paste) isn’t something that a pinoy in Beijing can easily get and I have no idea where to find atsuete (annatto seeds). So our cravings for kare-kare get intense each day until I asked A if he’d go as far as touch it even without the condiment. He said yes and I almost dance with joy! I googled recipes online; settled with those from Connie and the Marketman. I was particularly inspired by Connie’s as she doesn’t use bagoong at all. Not that I don’t like the stuff but because I don’t have it and I just can’t wait for the next bottle to reach me from Manila or Hongkong.
So here is my version of kare-kare sans annatto seeds, banana heart and bagoong alamang – our lunch one weekend more than a month ago. I like kare-kare with pork rind that literally melts in your mouth so I used pork hocks instead of beef tripe to go with oxtail. I used mortar and pestle to pound rice and peanuts and yeah I am not good at it. Oh well, I struggled for weeks with the idea of whether to blog it or not. Thought about making it an entry for Lasang Pinoy – Barrio Fiesta but no, I’d think of another one for that event. As you can see in the photos, the color doesn’t seem right but by the way A ate plate after plate with gusto, I take it as really good! Or just another case of “absence makes the heart grows fonder”.