Kare Kare for Antonio Kornerup (Oxtail Stew for Antonio Kornerup)

November 29, 2019
Kare Kare

I could write a chapter of my life dedicated to my friendship with Antonio (Tony) Kornerup.  Tony is now smiling down at me from that blissful place in Paradise and I miss his challenging company.  Instead of writing that chapter for this particular recipe, I will instead write down what he wrote about me. 

This piece came about in 1996, when I had asked him to write something about me; something that I might use for the publication of my book “The Secret Is In The Sauce.”  At that time of my life, I didn’t want it to be known that I was a ‘witch.’ But now, who cares if people know that I am a ‘witch’ and so, here is what Tony wrote about me.

En el centro de la isla de Luzon, por alla en el ano de 1980.

It was hot, hot, hot!  The summer’s sun was at its peak, shining over the plains of Central Luzon and over the Barangay San Isidro (not the one connected with the late famous fugitive), when a gentle breeze tickled my delicate and large nose with a subtle aroma that persisted over the dust and heat; it brought back from perennial memories the enchanting fumes given by cauldrons of magic concoctions performed by undefined and unknown culinary spirits.  Enticed to follow it, I obeyed this strange compulsion until I discerned a very young and beautiful witch bent over cooking pans, emerging from cloudy steams, elaborating the family fare of the day, Kare Kare. Being a curious admirer of gourmet concoctions, I cast a spell inquiring about her enchantments. Her inner being was powered by a very strong will that flamed around her, like the interior fires that Mother Earth spews through active volcanic craters; her light was enticing yet dangerous; her warmth was sincere; her heart was very much palpitating with love for life, pain, concern, the Universe, the known and unknown, cooking and baking.  That was my first look of


As it was pre-ordained by destiny, we met physically in a very ordinary, every day store at the market place, in a dusty town with a Royal and Holy Name (San Fernando, Pampanga).  Since then, through the years, glimpses of her life, her loves, her fights and difficulties, her quests in her way upon this Earth, were tenderly offered for sharing, commenting, dissecting, enduring and forecasting; knowing that the choices and decisions will dictate the outcome, the realisation of dreams and enjoyment of daily toiling.  Having a very active and restless mind, Marianne loves to experiment; to look for new ways to obtain and prepare new dishes; to share new culinary skills; should I mention her special unique Baked Ham. People who had the opportunity to taste her culinary magic attest to her titillating of the taste buds. For non-believers, I know that all of us who were blessed to taste her objects d’art, we are here; we survive.  Try it.

Kare Kare

It is a special dish made with cow’s tail and face; the flower of the Banana plant, pole beans, and other ingredients. Would you care to share the whole magical recipe for the benefit of your readers and admirers?

El Indio Andino


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By Marianne de Leon Serves: 6-8

Oxtail stewed in thick peanut and annatto sauce with banana heart, pole beans, and eggplant, served with fish paste as condiment. Kare kare is traditional celebration food.


  • Meat Ingredients:
  • 1 Oxtail with skin - cut between bone segments
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 teaspoon peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • enough water to cover the meat for boiling
  • Sauce Ingredients:
  • ¼ cup cooking oil
  • 1 tablespoon crushed garlic
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 3 tablespoons shrimp paste (prepared bagoong Alamang)
  • ¼ cup roasted peanuts - pounded till fine
  • 2 teaspoons uncooked sticky rice grains (Malagkit rice) - roasted and pounded till fine
  • ¼ cup annatto (achuete) water - place two tablespoons of annatto seeds in a cup; mix ¼ teaspoon lye water with annatto seeds; add ½ cup boiling water; let stand for ½ hour; stir and then strain and get ¼ cup of liquid)
  • 6 cups of broth from oxtail cooking liquid
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • salt to taste
  • Vegetable Ingredients:
  • 1 banana heart (the yellow kind) - remove hard outer cover till you reach the tender heart; prepare hot water in a saucepan with 1 teaspoon salt; cut banana heart in half (crosswise) and immediately place in boiling water and cook till tender; remove from water and cut into 1-inch thick round slices
  • 1 eggplant (Asian variety) - cut into 2-inch lengths and steam till cooked about 5 to 7 minutes
  • 5 pieces long pole beans - cut into 2-inch lengths and steam till cooked, about 5 minutes
  • 12 pieces okra - steam for 5 minutes



In a cast iron frying pan, pour oil and heat till almost smoking.


Sear the oxtail cuts on all side till brown; set aside. Fry in batches.


In a casserole, place the seared oxtail and add enough water to cover the oxtail; add in the peppercorns and bay leaves and slowly simmer till the meat is very tender (this takes about 2 hours plus). Add water if the oxtail liquid begins to diminish.


When tender, remove meat from the cooking liquid; set aside and save broth for the sauce.


In a large and heavy casserole, over low fire, pour in the oil and warm.


When warm, add the crushed garlic and sauté till light brown.


Add the chopped onions and continue sautéing till the onions are wilted and transparent.


Then add the annatto liquid and continue sautéing till the smell of the annatto liquid is fragrant and not metallic smelling.


Then add the shrimp paste and continue sautéing for 2 minutes.


Add the peanut paste and mix well.


Pour in the broth and continue simmering for about 15 to 20 minutes.


Using a hand held blender, blender the broth mixture till fine.


Taste the broth and adjust taste; you can add more shrimp paste, salt and pepper. (For more peanut flavor, you may add 1-2 tablespoons of Filipino-style peanut butter but it will make your Kare Kare a bit sweet.)


Sprinkle the roasted rice and keep stirring till the broth becomes slightly thick.


Continue to blender the broth to remove any lumps.


When the sauce tastes good, place the cooked oxtail pieces in the sauce and simmer, stirring continuously to prevent sauce sticking at the bottom. Simmer for about 10 to 15 minutes.


When ready to serve, place the cooked vegetables in mixture; simmer for 3 minutes and serve with shrimp paste sauce (sautéed bagoong).


You may also serve the vegetables separately.


Serve with hot steaming white rice.


  • In many countries, like Australia, one can easily find oxtail; but the skin from the oxtail is usually missing. What is Kare Kare without the skin! So to remedy this, I get one calf’s foot, have it sliced into three parts by the butcher.

    I then boil this calf’s foot with enough water to cover and with 2 bay leaves, and 1 teaspoon peppercorns; adding more water when necessary till the skin and cartilage are very tender (this could take 2 - 3 hours plus). Then remove the skin and cartilage and cut into bite size pieces and add this to the stew together with the oxtail.
  • One can also use the face of the beef or beef brisket in place of or added to the oxtail. The different parts must be tenderised separately since they all have different cooking times till tender.

Read (or watch) my guide in making annatto water here.

This recipe also appears in my first blog Masarap.ph

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