Filipino Kare Kare!

Maligayang Pasko! (AKA, Tagalog for Merry Christmas!)

OOOOOOH baby! Christmas has come early with this recipe!!


As you may have learned from my last post on Monday, I am dating the most wonderful Filipino man! I have been having so much fun learning about Filipino culture, most deliciously….the food!!

I tried my hand at Filipino Sinigang back over the summer, and it was a real treat! Holy cow, was it ever tasty! (It was a sour/savory soup made from tamarind…a tree pod with super sour, sticky flesh that melts into a stew-all-day soup! So that was an exciting culinary adventure.

But this one absolutely takes the cake…quite literally! (I made it for him for his birthday earlier in December.)

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

What is Kare Kare? Well — it is a peanut stew that is traditionally made with Oxtail meat, or other types of protein!

I went to three different stores looking for oxtail, but alas, it is not a big seller in the West Village, so I had to go with beef shanks, but it was just as delicious.

And I made a shrimp version for myself that was also Specific Carbohydrate Diet friendly.

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

Now, you may be scratching your head…peanut stew. And yes – we’re talking peanut butter. Lots of it. And it makes it so dang creamy, luxurious, and delicious. And paired with the fall-off-the-bone meat…my, oh, my. Something you’ve just got to taste to believe! A “special occasion” meal for sure!

And my seafood version was outrageous too! Since peanuts are not SCD legal, I used almond butter, and goodness gracious, I think I literally licked the bowl. Talk about yummy!

So, believe it or not, this meal is actually gluten free!!

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

And when you use my substitutions, it’s Specific Carb Diet friendly, too!

Here’s What You Need: (Serves 4)
2 Tbsp Olive oil
3 lbs oxtail, or beef shanks
1 piece of small banana flower bud (I could not find this, so I omitted it)
4 baby bok choy, sliced
2 handfuls of string beans, (about 1 1/2 cups) chopped
2 Japanese eggplant (the small ones), chopped into 1 inch pieces
1 cup ground peanuts
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
1 Tbsp fish sauce
1 liter of water
1/2 cup annatto seeds soaked in a cup of water — or red chili oil (I could not find annatto seeds)
1/2 cup toasted rice, ground
5 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, chopped
salt and pepper

1/2 cup shrimp paste

Shrimp/SCD version Substitutions: (Serves 2)
Sub: 1/2 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail off (for the beef)
Sub: 1 cup ground almonds (for the peanuts)
Sub: 1/2 cup smooth almond butter (for the peanut butter)
Omit: toasted rice
Omit: Shrimp paste

Large stock pot
Good Chef’s Knife
Measuring cups and spoons

In a large stock pot over medium-high heat, add the oil, and sear the hunks on meat until each side has a nice, brown crust. Sear in batches so as not to crowd the pan.

Put on a plate and set aside.

Then, add your onion and garlic to the pan. Saute for 2-3 minutes, and then add back in the meat and the water. Bring to a boil, and then lower heat to a simmer, cover the pot, and braise for 2.5-3 hours until the meat is super tender and falls off the bone.

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

Meanwhile, toast the rice in a dry pan until it is golden brown. Let cool, and then transfer to a food processor, and let it run for a few minutes, until the rice has pulverized to a fine power.

Transfer the rice powder to a bowl, and then add the peanuts to the food processor and grind into the consistency of sand. (Just be careful not to let it turn into peanut butter!)

Also, on a separate pan, saute 2 cloves of garlic in 2 Tbsp EVOO, and then add the eggplant bok choy, and string beans and cook for 5-9 minutes.

Once the meat is tender, add the ground peanuts, peanut butter and chili oil and simmer for 5 minutes. Then, add the toasted rice powder, and simmer for five more minutes.

Then, transfer the cooked vegetable to the large pot (where the rest of the ingredients are), nad add salt and pepper to taste.

Serve over rice with shrimp paste.

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

((For the shrimp substitutions, use shrimp in place of the meat, but you don’t need to braise it for 2-3 hours! Once it is cooked, you can move right onto adding in the vegetables and almond powder.

Also. -quick note on the shrimp paste…IT IS A NOSE-FULL! My boyfriend opened it and stuck it under my nose, and it nearly knocked me off my feet! It is *pungent!* But apparently, it is what makes the dish. So – don’t be put off by the smell – and just go for the glory!

OK. Let’s talk about this stew. Because it was AMAZING. The nutty richness from the peanut or almond butter, paired with the deeply savory flavors of the garlicky, oniony meat. It is divine!

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

I think the reason it is so delicious is the high (*trigger warning*) fat content! The nut butter, the ground nuts, the fatty cuts of meat – they all come together and form this beautiful synergy of flavors, that is perfectly cut by the tangy shrimp paste!

And the rice is the PERFECT “go-with” because it just sops up all those flavors and becomes nice and saturated in the peanutty goodness.

One thing about the Filipino culture that I love is how communal it is. Family is everything. Loved ones and friends are everything. And any excuse to come together and eat delicious food: they’ll find it! And this meal is a staple at those gatherings: because it is such a crowd pleaser, and will leave everyone full and happy!

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

And if you’re apprehensive about the peanut butter/meat combo: just remember: Elvis was famous for his Peanut butter/BACON/banana sandwich. So if it’s good enough for “the king,” it’s good enough for me!

Definitely the most out of the box meal I’ve ever cooked, but I can’t wait to cook it again!

In fact, I might make it for my family over the holidays! It was that delicious! (Plus, I miss my man, and it will remind me of him! 🙂 )

Filipino Kare Kare by BeautyBeyondBones #edrecovery #food #healthyfood #glutenfree #yummy #filipinofood

So anyway — have a wonderful night! And a Merry Christmas!

I’ll talk to you tomorrow for a brief Christmas Eve post!!

Happy cooking!

“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5


A big thank you to my foundational sponsor, BetterHelp Online Therapy. I cannot begin to express how beneficial therapy was for my recovery from anorexia.  Speak with an online therapist. Or check out content about eating disorders from BetterHelp.


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63 responses to “Filipino Kare Kare!”

    • Thank you so much John! Oh this was especially delicious! Hope you’re having a great Christmas week! Hugs and love xox

    • Hi Ian! I have certainly tried! I speak it with a wicked American accent! Haha you too! Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you Brian! Oh my gosh it was! This was a delight and a half haha have a a great night! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks so much! Oh that’s awesome!! Sounds like a great place! Yes! The peanut butter offers such a unique and delicious flavor! Hugs and love xox

      • Congratulations on starting a new relationship. 🙂 Happy for you. 🙂 So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. And yes peanut sauce makes many meats taste better, like Indonesian satay

      • aw thank you so much!!! i appreciate you sharing in the joy with me! hah yes it really does! oh yeah, great example! hope you have a wonderful wonderful Christmas! Hugs and love xox

    • heyyyy!! you speak Tagalog!!! awesome! hope you have a wonderful Christmas! thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

      • Hope you have a wonderful Christmas! Seems like you are off to a good start. I don’t know much Tagalog any more. Spent some time in port in Subic Bay when I was in the NAVY. Oh, 42years ago! (Yikes! Can it be that long?) One of my favorite Filipino foods is lumpia.

      • Oh wow. Thank you for your service! Time seriously flies, doesn’t it!? Oh nice! I’ll have to check it out! Hugs and love xox

    • Isn’t it so rich and luxurious?!! I agree – I’m all for it!! Aw thank you friend. Have a merry merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  1. Sometimes when I was a kid, my dad used to make lumpia at Christmas. I was a picky eater and never tried it. I had lumpia as an adult and realized what a wonderful thing I had missed out on all those years. Dad hasn’t made lumpia in a long, long, long time, as far as I know, at least he hasn’t made it when I’ve been home. I don’t know why. And this has nothing to do with what you wrote except that it’s about Filipino food. (I’m not Filipino; Dad learned how to make lumpia from a Filipino friend of the family.)

    • Merry Christmas Greg! Oh wow — maybe you guys can start a new lumpia tradition!! Oh that’s awesome! Thanks for stopping by! Hugs and love xox

  2. My oh my! Filipina here and Kare Kare is one of my favorite dish! My Mexican hubby also doesn’t like the smell of shrimp paste lol but eats it together with the Kare Kare so it’s a win! It’s cool that you’re trying to cook legit Filipino dishes and it’s nice that you have substitutes but still using proper technique! More power to you and Maligayang Pasko!

    • Hi Ruby!! Oh my gosh yayyy! Haha yeah I guess the shrimp paste is an acquired taste! Haha yes! I’m having so much fun learning new things! It is a beautiful culture!! Maligayang pasko!! Hugs and love xox

    • Thank you so much!! Yes! Delicious and filling are the EXACT two words I would describe it as too! And perhaps rich! Haha thanks for stopping by and merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  3. Merry Christmas to both of you.❤️ and yes welcome to the Filipino tradition of kare-kare in special occasions including Christmas dinners or lunch 🤤 and why not even in ordinary days. cheers to good food. A blessed Christmas to you🥂

  4. My dear, one doesn’t need to look far to see the secret behind your gorgeous figure! 😍😍😍
    These healthy option of meals are astonishing. Thanks for sharing always.

    So excited for you and your handsome young man. Many blessings to you both. 💐💐

    Do enjoy a peaceful Merry Christmas in safety with your loved ones. 🎄✝️⛪🕊💐🌹

    • Aww thank you so much!! You’re too kind! Yes! I am feeling so blessed to have such a wonderful man in my life! Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

    • Hi China!! Oh my gosh I absolutely loving learning about the beautiful Filipino culture and their traditions!! I love it! Have a wonderful Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  5. Ironically, I am preparing oxtails for our Christmas dinner—-so anything with oxtails in it gets my vote! I pray tomorrow be a Blessed and Merry Christmas for you my friend. Blessings and Peace.

    • Oh my gosh YUM! Sounds amazing!! Thank you CF, I hope you have a wonderful and merry Christmas too! Hugs and love xox

  6. Blessed Merry Christmas, Caralyn!
    Yes I remember you cooking sinigang a few months ago that when I saw your heading with KARE-KARE…oh, I knew it right away! Glad you like it.
    Hope you continue experimenting with our dishes using your expertise with healthy and delicious cooking.
    God bless you more and your Pinoy friend!

    • Merry Christmas!! Haha oh yes, I loved it!! I’m having so much fun learning about the beautiful Filipino culture and getting to experience their traditions!! I hope you have a blessed and happy Christmas!! Hugs and love xox

  7. Looks delicious. Wondering what mutton would taste like in it?
    Is the banana flower bud just for presentation or do you use any of it for flavor?
    My bride of 31 years is allergic to green bell peppers (ANY hollow pepper), thus paprika or chili peppers, subs for the annatto would not be possible, and probably would be safer for us to avoid annatto, also.
    Garlic is almost off our menu as well as most hot spices, even curry.
    But even with these caveats, it should be good! 🙂
    Merry Christmas to you, your family and “what’s-his-name.” 😉

    • Thanks you so much! Hmm! I’ve actually never had mutton but I’m sure it would be delicious! That’s a great question – I think the banana flower is used for flavor! Although I wouldn’t source any from my store, so I could be wrong! Oh no! Yes – I think you’re right – still just as good. You could maybe add in some fresh ginger! Or even okra if you’d like! That would be quite tasty!! Merry Christmas to you too! (And it’s Steven…but mum’s the word! Haha) Hugs and love xox

    • Aw thank you so much Heather! That’s so kind of you to say! Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  8. Hi Caralyn, and Merry Christmas! I usually skip your Wed. post, because I don’t cook that much, but can find my way around a kitchen if I am hungry. Well, this post got my attention. I had no idea the long awaited man in your life was a Filipino. As you might recall, I married a Filipino last year. This entre looks good. I lived in the Philippines last year for 7 months and loved the food. There are a lot of great items to eat. I enjoy “Bicol Express” and have learned to make it. I have found an Asian store, here in Tulsa, that carries some of the harder to find items for the recipes I make. Anyway, thanks for a new one and congratulations on your budding romance. I have to say, my wife April Joy is the most wonderful and loving person I have ever met!

    • Hi Mark! What a kind thing to say! Yes!! He’s Filipino! I’ve been having a blast learning about his culture and traditions! Oh my gosh that’s awesome! Awww sounds like you two have a wonderful love story!! Have a wonderful and happy Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  9. This looks sooo good! I love how you always come through with something creative! And in my house, we are peanut butter monsters, so this is going on my recipe rotation next week.

    • Thank you so much Yael!! Oh my gosh peanut butter monsters are the best monsters! Haha merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

    • Thanks Ariel!! Oh definitely give it a try! It’s so delicious! Merry Christmas! Hugs and love xox

  10. I had a Filipina neighbor in Alabama and oh my did I love it when they had their get togethers. I was always invited and it was the best time and the foods were a delight. They always loved what I brought, but I felt I always came out ahead. After a great deal of gabbing and feasting we would end with karaoke. Boy, did they love their karaoke. I know with Covid things have changed, but when the restrictions have lifted, you may want to go to one.

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