Kare-Kare with Coconut Milk (Gata) is another variant of the popular Philippine stew with peanut sauce and vegetables.
This kare-kare recipe is made with ribs in creamy peanut sauce and coconut milk and a variety of vegetables served with a side of shrimp paste (bagoong).
Traditional Kare-Kare is often cooked with oxtail, tripe, offal, pork hock or pork belly. Another variation is seafood kare-kare.
Some people would rather have a regular cut of pork or beef rather than the traditional offal or oxtail. Although I like oxtail and tripe, I use whatever is available in my fridge especially at this time and I happen to have ribs.
Ribs is great with kare-kare since it is not so lean nor very fatty and broth from braising bone ribs adds so much flavor to this dish.
What Vegetables to Use in Kare-Kare?
The following vegetables are commonly used in making Kare-Kare: Chinese cabbage like bok choy or pechay, green beans, okra or eggplant.
I am not a traditional person especially when it comes to cooking. If it sounds good, I’m always open to trying different ingredients.
You’ll noticed I am using kabocha. Have you ever tried it with this dish? My mom never used squash but my aunt does. It adds richness and creaminess to kare-kare.
Also, another thing I’m doing different, I am not peeling the skin of the squash. This is the 1st time I’ve done it and it will not be the last time.
I am aware the skin of squash is edible but I’ve never tried cooking with it. To my surprise, it was tender when cooked and aside from that it has health benefits ranging from fiber to vitamin A, C and E.
How awesome is that? I was impressed when I bite into it, I thought it would be hard or crunchy but it was soft like it’s flesh.
I love squash but sometimes I refrain from using it because it is a struggle to peel and cut it. Normally, I use kabocha but my local grocer only had acorn and it was delicious as well. It cooks quicker than kabocha.
Acorn are small and I only prepared half. When I was cooking I realized I need to add the other half.
I experimented and cooked the other half whole while cooking the ribs. Guess what, it was perfect. I removed it once it was soft and cut into pieces.
Next time, this is how I am doing it. It was easier cutting it once it is cooked.
Tip: Do not overcook squash as it will become soggy and mushy. When cook remove it from pot and set aside. Incorporate with dish once ready to serve.
How to Make Kare-Kare with Coconut Milk (Gata)
(1) Traditional Kare-Kare uses ground roasted peanuts and rice. This is how my mom prepared it and never used peanut butter. Coconut milk (gata) was extracted from fresh matured coconut instead of using canned coconut milk.
She roasted raw peanuts and rice separately in a wok and pulverized in a blender. Ground roasted rice was used to thicken the sauce.
When she was here (before she had dementia) she would freeze it so it was handy for me when I need it. Now, I am back using peanut butter which is equally good.
(2) Wash and remove the translucent film (membrane) at the back of ribs. Lift the membrane on one side then gently pull it. Slice each rib bone.
(3) Saute onion and garlic then add ribs. Cook ribs until pale. Add water and braise ribs until tender. Cook slow in low temperature. Ribs bones will yield a flavorsome broth that adds deliciousness to the dish.
Ribs will cook between 55 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes.
(4) Stir-in peanut butter, coconut milk and achuete powder.
Coconut milk adds creaminess and richness to Kare-Kare.
Note: I prefer to use the Sazon Goya achuete powder in individual packets. It gives this dish a very nice color and flavoring.
Some achuete powder has an after taste which is not very pleasing. You may also use paprika or achuete seeds diluted in water.
(5) Add all the vegetables. Remove vegetables when cooked and set aside.
Note: I am using squash which is not a traditional vegetable used in kare-kare. Try it though, it is scrumptious.
(6) Season with salt or fish sauce. Serve hot and add vegetables with a side of shrimp paste (bagoong).
Try the traditional Kare-Kare with Oxtail and Tripe
Or would you like to cook Kare-Kare in an Instant Pot.
Kare-Kare with Coconut Milk (Gata)
- 1 3 pounds ribs, wash, membrane removed and sliced
- 1 medium onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1 packet sazon goya achuete powder or 1 tablespoon achuete seeds diluted in 2 tablespoons water
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 2 eggplant sliced
- 3 cups green beans cut
- ½ kabocha peeled or unpeeled and cut
- ¾ cup peanut butter
- ¾ cup coconut milk
- 5 cups water
- salt to taste
- Saute onion over medium heat until translucent then add garlic & cook for 2 minutes.
- Add sliced ribs and cook until pale.
- Add 5 cups water, bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer until ribs are tender.
- Note: Ribs will cook in 55 minutes to an hour and 15 minutes.
- Stir-in peanut butter, coconut milk and achuete powder.
- Toss-in vegetables 20 minutes before ribs are fully cooked. Remove kabocha squash and other vegetables when tender and set aside. Keep vegetables crisp and tender.
- Season with salt or fish sauce.
- Serve hot with a side of shrimp paste (bagoong).
- Once vegetables are tender, remove it right away or it will be soggy and mushy.
- Refrigerate leftover.