Kare-Kare with Beef Shank (in Peanut Sauce) is a classic Filipino stew with a signature yellow-orange color served with an umami-rich shrimp paste. It's hearty, delicious, and isn't hard to make at all!
You may also like Beef Caldereta, another flavorful stew with beef and vegetables in tomato sauce.
Ingredients you'll need
Notes and substitutions
- Boneless beef shank (or shin): It is a lean cut with collagen-rich connective tissue. Beef chuck makes a good substitute. Oxtail is traditionally used, but it is fatty and expensive for the small amount of meat it contains.
- Annatto powder (or achiote): Its subtle earthy flavor will not affect the taste of the dish. It is used as a natural food dye rather than a spice, like in Java Rice.
- Roasted or Fried Peanuts (Adobong Mani): Ground peanuts add texture and richness to the sauce. Don't feel like doing the extra step? Use more creamy peanut butter instead.
- String beans (or sitaw): Also known as yard-long beans or Chinese long beans, this legume has long, slender edible pods.
- Shanghai bok choy: This leafy Chinese cabbage tastes sweeter than regular bok choy called pechay in the Philippines. Choose whichever is available to you.
- Eggplant: Use Japanese or Chinese eggplant, if possible. They have thin skin, fewer seeds, and sweeter flesh than other varieties.
- Sautéed shrimp paste (or ginisang bagoong alamang): It is a salty, umami-rich condiment that brings the dish together. Get the sautéed variety, not the pink/raw version.
How to make this recipe
(1)Trim off excess fat from the beef shank. (2)Cut them into 1½-inch thick pieces. Season with salt and pepper.
(3)Over medium-high heat, sear the meat in a bit of oil for about two minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate. (4)Sauté garlic and onion until softened, about a minute.
(5)Add the meat and enough water to cover them, about six cups. Feel free to use beef broth for more flavor. Let it come to a boil.
(6)Skim off the scum and fat that rise to the surface. Add salt — I used about 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt (use less for table salt). Cover and simmer over medium heat until the meat is tender, about two hours.
(7)Blanch string beans in boiling water for about two minutes. (8)Transfer to an ice bath (water+ice).
(9)Blanch bok choy for one minute. (10)Transfer to the ice bath. Drain the vegetables.
PRO TIP: To make your greens even greener, add a pinch of baking soda to the boiling water.
(11)Over medium-high heat, fry eggplant in a bit of oil until browned on both sides. Dry on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
(12)Use a fork to check if the meat is tender. (13)Dissolve annatto powder in two tablespoons of warm water. You can also use annatto seeds steeped in hot water.
(14)Add annatto, peanut butter, ground peanuts, and sugar. Mix until the sauce is smooth, then thicken with cornstarch or rice flour slurry. (15)Taste and adjust as needed.
(16)Add the vegetables and turn off the heat, so they don't overcook.
Enjoy Kare-Kare with Beef Shank (in Peanut Sauce) with a steaming bowl of rice and a side of sautéed shrimp paste. It is quite salty so add sparingly.
Frequently asked questions
Aside from beef, there are chicken and pork versions, sometimes with Lechon Kawali (Fried Pork Belly) or Crispy Pata (Fried Pork Leg). A seafood kare-kare comes with shrimp, crab, squid, and mussels. There are vegetarian or vegan options that are just as delicious. Whatever approach you choose, the sauce remains the same.
The yellow-orange color of kare-kare comes from annatto powder or annatto seeds. There is a very mild earthy flavor to it, which does not affect the taste of the dish.
Kare-Kare traditionally contains banana blossoms (also known as banana hearts or flowers). It has a neutral taste and a fleshy, fibrous texture that absorbs flavors. You can also use napa cabbage and okra.
More about kare-kare with beef shank
Here are more frequently asked questions on Kare-Kare (in Peanut Sauce), including extra tips, troubleshooting, and other information.
Watch how I make it here
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Kare-Kare with Beef Shank (in Peanut Sauce)
- 4.5-quart Dutch oven or a heavy-bottomed pot
- Pot (for blanching vegetables)
- 3 pounds boneless beef shank 1½-inch thick pieces (see note)
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 1 teaspoon annatto powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons warm water; sub:annatto seeds
- 1 cup unsweetened creamy peanut butter
- ½ cup fried or roasted peanuts coarsely ground
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch or rice flour dissolved in 2 tablespoons water
- 8 ounces string beans or sitaw cut into 2½-inch sections
- 8 ounces Shanghai baby bok choy cut in half, if big
- 1 pound eggplant cut into 1-inch thick sections
- Sautéed shrimp paste or ginisang bagoong alamang
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Neutral-flavored oil (canola, olive, or other vegetable oils) for searing & sautéing
- Season meat with salt and pepper. Sear in a little oil for about two minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate.
- Sauté garlic and onion until softened, about a minute.
- Add the meat and enough water to cover them, about six cups. Let it come to a boil.
- Skim off the scum and fat that rise to the surface. Add some salt — I used about 1½ teaspoons of kosher salt (use less for table salt).
- Cover and simmer over medium heat until the meat is tender, about two hours.
- Blanch string beans in boiling water with a pinch of baking soda for about 2 minutes. Transfer to an ice bath (water+ice).
- Blanch bok choy for one minute. Transfer to the ice bath. Drain the vegetables.
- Fry eggplant until browned on both sides. Place them on paper towels to absorb excess oil.
- Add annatto, peanut butter, ground peanuts, and sugar when the meat is tender. Mix until the sauce is smooth.
- Thicken the sauce with cornstarch or rice flour slurry. Taste and adjust as needed.
- Add the vegetables and turn off the heat so they don't overcook.
- Serve with a side of sautéed shrimp paste. It is quite salty so add sparingly.