Kare Kare is a Filipino dish that is usually made up of oxtail and vegetables in a peanut butter sauce. It’s also one of my favorite things to eat, like, ever. Ladies and gentlemen, may I present: Easy Vegan Kare Kare.
1 cup soy curls
1/2 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 a big eggplant, cut into about 2 inch chunks (approx. 2 cups)
1 cup sitaw (Chinese long beans), cut into about 2 inch pieces — regular green beans are fine, too
2 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional)
First, take your one cup of soy curls and rehydrate them. While that’s happening, prepare your veggies. Any type of eggplant will do. You can put in as much veggies as you would like and even drop the soy curls altogether if you’d like. Eggplant and sitaw are the usual veggies we use; we also use bok choy most of the time. The sitaw came from the freezer… I can’t wait to show you guys the fresh ones once they start to pop up in my Dad’s garden.
When the soy curls are ready, drain the water. In a medium pot, heat up the olive oil and brown the garlic and onions. When it stats to get fragrant (and before the garlic starts to burn), toss in the soy curls and saute them with the onions and garlic. Once they’ve dried out a little, it will be time to add your veggies.
Toss the eggplant in first as they will take a bit longer than the beans to cook. Then, add about a cup of water to the pot. Cover and let the eggplants cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in the beans and then cover it again for a few minutes.
Once the veggies are cooked, stir things up a bit. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and put in the peanut butter. The PB should melt completely and acts as both a flavor and thickening agent.
Taste the sauce and add some salt to taste. Add the achiote powder as the final step. It’s hard to tell from the photos, but this gives the kare kare its reddish color.
You can eat the kare kare on its own, but I prefer to have it with white rice. The soy curls are a good protein to use, particularly because it is reminiscent of tripe (I know… gross) which is also used a lot in kare kare. What’s the green stuff, you ask? Kare kare is nothing without some bagoong or salted shrimp paste. I was so super jazzed when I found this recipe for raw vegan bagoong on ASTIG Vegan. I couldn’t follow it exactly because I don’t have any dulse, so I improvised and crushed up about 4 sheets of salted seaweed snack instead. It’s wacky, but it actually worked really nicely as a bagoong substitute.
OMG, you guys. You have no idea how excited I am that this recipe worked. BTW – Happy Independence Day. Be safe! –Melissa