Kare-kareng Pata

Make dinner extra special with kare-kareng pata! It’s quicker to make and more economical than its beef counterpart but is just as delicious. The melt-in-your-mouth pork, tender-crisp vegetables, and rich peanut sauce are sure to hit the spot!

One kitchen feat I consider my grand culinary victory is learning to make kare-kare from scratch. This uniquely Filipino dish is mostly reserved for special occasions and gatherings for good reason.

It is a laborious process, from tenderizing the meat, grinding rice, and toasting peanuts to making the sauce. But by employing simple tricks such as using rice flour and peanut butter, you can easily pull this pork kare kare into a delicious everyday dinner meal without resorting to commercial mixes.

Ingredient notes

  • Pork– pata or pork shanks with a thick cap of fat simmered to melt-in-your-mouth tenderness work well with the rich peanut sauce. Pork belly and shoulder with skin are also good options.
  • Vegetables– the recipe includes a mix of pechay, sitaw, and eggplant. You can also use Bagiuo beans, bok choy, and banana blossom.
  • Rice flour– NOT glutinous or sticky rice flour! It’s a convenient alternative to the traditional method of grinding rice grains. Make sure to toast in a dry skillet to bring out aroma and flavor.
  • Peanut butter– be aware that some Philippine varieties are sweet and unsuitable for this recipe. Choose an unsweetened brand such as Skippy, or if you’re shopping at a Filipino wet market, ask for peanut butter na pangkare-kare.
  • Annatto powder– gives the stew its distinctive orange-red hue. If using annatto seeds, soak them in hot water to draw out the color and strain. Discard the seeds and add the colored water to the stew.
  • Fish Sauce– adds umami flavor.

Cooking instructions

The procedure for this kare-kareng pata ng baboy is the same as the classic kare-kare and involves four main steps. Below is a quick rundown; check the recipe card for the full ingredient list and instructions.

  1. Simmer the pork until very tender. Add enough water to cover the meat, and add more in 1 cup increments during cooking to maintain about 7 cups of broth. Drain and reserve the broth for the peanut sauce.
  2. Toast the rice flour until lightly browned. Mix it with the annatto powder and about a cup of broth to make a slurry. This will thicken and add color to the sauce.
  3. Blanch the vegetables. Cook in boiling water or steam them until tender-crisp and immediately plunge in iced water to completely cool. This step will help keep their shape and bright color.
  4. Complete the stew. Saute the pre-cooked pata with onions and garlic. Season with fish sauce. Add the broth and thicken it with the flour slurry. Stir in the peanut butter and adjust the seasonings as needed. Add the vegetables and simmer until heated through.

Serving suggestions

Kare-kareng pata is delicious as a main dish for lunch or dinner. Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with ground peanuts, if desired. Serve with steamed rice and ginisang bagoong as a condiment.

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