Chicken kare kare is a type Filipino chicken stew. It is cooked in a rich reddish peanut sauce. It makes use of vegetables such as eggplant, snake beans, and bok choy as ingredients.
The peanut sauce is traditionally made from ground peanuts. This recipe suggests a time-saver ingredient in the form of peanut butter. I made use of regular creamy peanut butter in this recipe.
Annatto or atsuete gives the sauce its reddish color. I used annatto paste for this recipe. This is simply annatto in paste form. I got it while shopping for annatto seeds in a Mexican store in my neighborhood. It was the first time that I tried this form, and it worked well.
The vegetables that I cannot live without when cooking kare kare are bok choy, beans and eggplant. I specifically used a piece of Chinese eggplant, snake beans or sitaw, and baby bok choy. These vegetables can be cooked separately by blanching, steaming, or sautéing in garlic. I opted for the simplest and quickest route by cooking these altogether with the chicken kare kare mixture.
Difference from traditional Filipino kare kare
A traditional Filipino kare kare would either be made from oxtail or tripe. There are instances wherein both of these ingredients are used, along with other beef cuts. This version makes use of chicken thighs. The protein used is the main difference.
I tweaked the procedure in this chicken kare kare recipe to speed-up the process. There were also some non-traditional ingredients introduced in this recipe. The use of cornstarch to thicken the sauce, instead of toasted rice flour is one. Peanut butter is another. I did it make your ingredient sourcing more convenient. You should be able to find these in most supermarkets.
How to Cook Chicken Kare Kare
I started by sautéing garlic and onions. It is important to cook these ingredients thoroughly to the point that the onion softens and the garlic starts to brown. Note that the chicken slices should be added right away to when you see the garlic starting to change its color. Cooking each side for 1 to 1 ½ minutes should brown the chicken.
Chicken broth is used in this recipe to provide flavor to the sauce. Pour the broth into the pot and let it boil. This is the part I added the annatto paste. You will notice the sauce turn reddish when the paste completely gets diluted. Cover the pot and continue to cook the chicken for 30 to 35 minutes. Some of the broth will evaporate during this step. You may add water or chicken broth to prevent the liquid from drying-up.
Add the peanut butter when the chicken gets tender. Make sure that there is enough sauce left in the pot before doing this. The peanut butter will easily blend with the liquid and it will thicken it a bit. I am adding a few tablespoons of cornstarch mixture to thicken the sauce further.
The last part of the process is to add the vegetables. Start with eggplant and snake beans. These need to cook for at least 5 minutes. Add the bok choy last and cook it for 3 minutes.
You can season your chicken kare kare with either fish sauce or salt and pepper. I opted not to add these ingredients to this recipe because the sauce was already tasty. I also thought that the bagoong alamang that will be served with it later will be enough to enhance the flavor of the dish.
This chicken kare kare recipe can be modified to use available ingredients in your area. Peanut butter is already an alternative ingredient to ground peanuts. Feel free to add ground peanuts with peanut butter if you want your sauce to be tastier.
Annatto is our main ingredient for coloring. You can use annatto seeds or annatto powder. Soak the seeds in warm water and stir until it turns red. Do not add the seeds. Make sure to filter it when pouring the water.
Long green beans or Baguio beans can be used as an alternative ingredient to sitaw. Aubergine can be used instead of Chinese eggplant. Pechay can replace bok choy.
Water can be used instead of chicken broth. I will recommend adding additional seasonings such as fish sauce or salt when going to this direction.
What to eat this with
Chicken Kare kare is best eaten with warm white rice. It won’t be complete without bagoong alamang. This ingredient is also known shrimp paste or shrimp sauce. Simply scoop kare kare and rice using your spoon. Add a bit of bagoong before consuming.
I also love to eat this along with other dishes such as crispy pata and pancit canton. How about you? It will be a pleasure to hear from you.
Try this Chicken Kare Kare Recipe. Let me know what you think!
Chicken Kare Kare Recipe
- 2 1/2 lbs. chicken thigh
- 3/4 cup peanut butter
- 1 bunch bok choy
- 1 piece eggplant sliced
- 10 pieces snake beans cut into 2 inch pieces
- 1 piece onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
- 1 1/2 teaspoon annatto paste
- 1/4 cup bagoong alamang cooked
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch diluted in 1/4 cup water
- 3 tablespoons cooking oil
- Heat oil in a cooking pot.
- Saute onion and garlic until onion softens
- Add chicken slices. Cook each side for 1 to 1 ½ minutes. Continue to cook sauté the chicken for 2 more minutes.
- Pour chicken broth. Let boil.
- Add annatto paste. Stir until the paste dilutes completely. Cover the pot. Boil in medium heat for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Add peanut butter. Stir until well blended. Pour a portion of the cornstarch mixture. Stir. Note: add more if the sauce needs to be thickened further
- Put the eggplant and snake beans into the pot. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Add bok choy. Cook for 3 minutes.
- Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve with bagoong alamang. Share and enjoy!