Kare-kare is a Philippine stew. It is made from peanut sauce with a variety of vegetables, stewed oxtail, beef, and occasionally offal or tripe. Meat variants may include goat meat or (rarely) chicken. It is often eaten with bagoong (shrimp paste), sometimes spiced with chili, and sprinkled with calamansi juice. Traditionally, any Filipino fiesta (particularly in Pampanga region) is not complete without kare-kare. In some Filipino-American versions of the dish, oxtail is exclusively used as the meat.
As with many things in the Philippines, there are several stories as to the origins of this rather unusual yet distinctly Filipino dish. The first one is that it came from Pampanga. Another, from the regal dishes of the Moro elite who once settled in Manila before the Spanish arrival (interestingly enough, in Sulu and Tawi-Tawi, Kare-kare also remains a popular dish). It's a comfort food for Filipinos, and is a perennial family favorite in both local and overseas Filipino households.
Oxtail, with the skin on and cut into 2-inch lengths, and ox tripe are boiled until tender. Sometimes pieces of ox feet or shins are added. When the meat is tender, the soup becomes gelatinous and to this is added ground roasted peanuts (or peanut butter), ground roasted glutinous rice to make the soup thicker. Atsuete (annatto) is added to give color. The basic vegetables for kare-kare include young banana flower bud or "heart" (puso ng saging), eggplant, string beans, and Chinese cabbage (pechay). Kare-kare is often served hot with special bagoong alamang (sauteed salted shrimp paste).
See also