Much to everyone’s shock, I’ve only had Kare-kare once in my life… and that was when I already swore off beef for life!
For those who aren’t familiar with Kare-kare, it’s basically a Filipino stew with a thick and rich peanut sauce—one made with oxtail or sometimes tripe. It also contains vegetables like string beans, eggplant, bok choy, and banana blossoms.
Kare-kare in a Nutshell
My first taste of Kare-kare was in this restaurant called Gata (not sure if it’s still open now), where they switched the usual oxtail for crispy pork bagnet, and they used coconut milk—Gata, hence the name of their restaurant—to make the stew creamier.
And let’s just say it was love at first bite. Literally! The creaminess of the stew, paired with a subtle nuttiness and the way the different textures of meat and vegetables just mesh well together… it was just. So. Good.
With free time this weekend, I figured that I ought to make my own version of kare-kare—one that doesn’t use beef and one that is… vegan! And since I couldn’t find any recipes in the internet for a Vegan Kare-kare, I took a stab at it and made my own. Here’s how I did it!
(By the way, feel free to tweak the recipe—I just eyeballed the proportions for mine)
- 2 slabs of Unpork Chops from Vutcher, chopped and fried til crunchy
- 1 Tbsp of Vegan Mushroom Bagoong from The Plant-Based Project (you can get this from The Gentle Gourmet PH)
- 2 Tbsp of Peanut Butter
- 2 cups Coconut Milk or Gata (I used the fresh kind here)
- 2 Eggplants, chopped diagonally
- 1 bunch of Baguio Beans, sliced 1-inch long
- 1/4 cup water
- 1 tsp Knorr Mushroom Powder
- 3 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 Red Onion, sliced into strips
- 2 Tbsp Annatto Oil
- 2 Tbsp Cooking Oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- In a pot over medium heat, add your oil. Sauté onions til translucent (add some salt to release moisture) then add garlic and cook til fragrant.
- Add your eggplants and baguio beans, then add mushroom powder and water and let it simmer. When veggies are soft, add coconut milk and Unpork chops, lower the heat, then mix.
- Mix in your mushroom bagoong and peanut butter, then season with salt and pepper. Leave to simmer, then add annato oil. Stir until almost boiling, and serve.
Pro Tip: add the Unpork Chop towards the latter part. I find that adding it too soon makes the “fatty” part of the “meat” soft and rubbery, which I’m not personally a fan of. And don’t worry about it not being cooked—you will need to fry it in oil prior to making your Kare-kare.
[Also Read: RECIPE: Meatless Spaghetti and Meatballs]