Tag Archives: kare kare

Vegan Kare Kare 2.0

I haven’t cooked in awhile (I’m a lazy vegan, remember?) but I had a serious craving for kare kare last week. I think it was triggered by seeing the beginnings of my Dad’s garden this summer, particularly the eggplant. I’m so spoiled by the garden! Alas, there are no veggies yet. Thank goodness for grocery stores.

I previously made kare kare using soy curls and it was good, but I wanted to try something different this time. I didn’t want to drop a meat substitute altogether even though all-veggie kare kare would be satisfactory. I didn’t want to use tofu. I didn’t want to use mushrooms. I didn’t want to use squash.

So I used jackfruit — young, unripe jackfruit.

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You can find canned young green jackfruit at any Asian grocery store. Make sure you get the jackfruit in brine, not syrup! It’s not to be confused with ripe yellow jackfruit, which is sweet (and delicious in halo halo… yum). I’ve seen unripe jackfruit used in savory dishes. Luminous Vegans has a great BBQ Jackfruit recipe that’s like a vegan pulled pork sandwich. My Mom adds it to dishes. There is a plethora of vegan Jackfruit ‘Carnitas’ Taco recipes on the Internet. With the shred-like texture of the jackfruit, some imagination and an open mind, the possibilities are endless.

Kare kare always seemed really complicated to me when I was younger and I realize now that it’s because of the meat component. You need to boil the oxtail. Sometimes, you need to boil it forever or use a pressure cooker, otherwise it won’t get tender and it’s just nasty. You need to skim out the garbage that shows up when you boil meat. And it takes a long time!

For vegan kare kare, you’re looking at maybe 15 minutes of prep time and 15 minutes of cook time.

Vegan Kare Kare with Jackfruit

1 can young green jackfruit in brine, drained and rinsed
1/2 onion, chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
eggplant, cut into 2″ chunks (enough to make approx 2 cups, any eggplant will do)
1 cup sitaw (Chinese long beans), cut into about 2 inch pieces — regular green beans are fine, too
bok choy (3 babies or 1 adult)
2-3 tbsp peanut butter
1/2 tsp achiote powder (optional)
oil
salt, to taste

Rinse and chop up all your veggies. for the jackfruit, I cut the chunks that came out of the can in half or in thirds, depending on how big they were. I made them about the same size as the eggplant pieces.

Heat up the pan and saute the onion and garlic in oil. When it gets fragrant, add the jackfruit, eggplant, and 1 cup of water. Mix it a bit, cover, and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Add the sitaw/beans and bok choy, cover, and let it all cook for another 3-5 minutes.

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Isn’t it pretty? The thing in the bottom middle is a piece of jackfruit.

When the veggies are just about cooked, stir things up a bit, being careful not to mash up any of the veggies. Then, make a well in the center of the pot and put in the peanut butter. The PB should melt completely. Add salt to taste. Add achiote if you want. It will give the dish a more reddish color. I didn’t add it this time around.

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Serve with white rice and bagoong (not vegan!) or a bagoong substitute. If you have the green-floral-border Corelle plates that every Filipino-American seems to have, use that for sentimental value. Follow it up with some halo halo with sweet jackfruit if you can. I’m so hungry now.

I’m pleased with my kare kare and jackfruit experiment, but I have to say that I think jackfruit would work better in sinigang (another Filipino dish) instead. I have yet to try it as BBQ or in a taco. Looks like I’ve got a lot of cooking to do! –Melissa

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Kare Kare

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)
olive oil
salt

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

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