Recipe: My Mom’s Kare-Kare

Most Pinoys are fiercely loyal to their mom’s adobo. Not me, though. I can appreciate, even like, versions of adobo other than the one I grew up with.

My mom’s signature dish that remains unmatched in my opinion is her kare kare. Oh, yes! Here is where my loyalties unequivocally lie.

The irony is that when I was a kid, I didn’t even like kare kare. I found the idea of eating parts of animals other than the meat and skin unthinkable (and you should see the ingredients while they were still uncooked!). I also found the orange sauce weird, used as I was then to the brown hued sauces of adobo and mechado and the lightly-tinted broths of nilaga or tinola.

Then the time came, right around high school, when my palate began to mature and I started to develop a taste for the unusual, that I decided to give this dish a try.

Ooh, those bits of meat and cow innards so tender they melt in your mouth! That bright orange peanutty sauce that can already be considered a viand even if just accompanied by veggies (sarsa pa lang ulam na)! Put those together in a heaping spoon with steaming white rice and my mom’s home-made bagoong (shrimp paste) and I’m in heaven.

I recently made my mom give me this recipe (she had long ago given up trying to teach me to cook the more traditional or effort-laden dishes) by saying that her granddaughter, #ExhibitA, should start learning how to make it by now.


  • 1 kilo beef cheeks
  • 1/2 kilo beef tripe and intestines
  • 1/4 kilo ground peanuts (Note: you can substitute this with peanut butter but try to find one that’s sugarless)
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • achuete (annato) seeds
  • 3-5 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 2 small onions, chopped
  • 1 small bunch of pechay (Chinese cabbage)
  • 1 small bunch of sitao (string beans), cut into 2-inch slices
  • 4 eggplants, sliced
  • 1 small puso ng saging (banana flower bud), sliced
  • salt and pepper


  • Clean and boil the beef cheeks, tripe and intestines separately for 15 minutes in a pressure cooker.  Chill overnight in the refrigerator and scoop out the fat that forms on top.
  • In a small pan, lightly toast the flour, then remove from heat.
  • In a casserole, saute garlic and onion, then add meat, tripe and intestines. Add a bit of the water used to boil the meat. Add the toasted flour and crushed nuts, then stir the mixture.
  • Add in the banana flower, string beans, and egg plant.
  • Soak the annato seeds in hot water.  Strain and add to the stew.
  • Stir the mixture until thickened to your desired consistency.
  • Add the Chinese cabbage and season to taste.

Serve hot with freshly cooked white rice and bagoong.

This recipe serves 6 at 570 calories per serving.  That’s quite a lot but you don’t get to eat this everyday anyway.

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