Wednesday, September 9, 2015

A Recipe Exchange from the East and West

Yes, this post is about a recipe exchange . . . The "East and West" in my post's title refer to my friend E (who is based in NY) and me (I'm in LA).  If there is one thing we share and are passionate about. . . it's our love for food!  Haha!

When you live overseas, there are days when homesickness just kicks in.  When those days happen, I just cook food which reminds me of home and my family.  Kare-Kare is one of my favorite Filipino comfort food.  It is a pork stew simmered in a peanut-based sauce.  Some people grind roasted peanuts and some (like us) use peanut butter.  In my book, my Ate Fely (she has been part of the family for more than 50 years!) makes the best Kare-Kare!  It's one of the things I request from her whenever we go back home for vacation.  There are several Filipino restaurants near our place where we can buy Kare-Kare. But sometimes, you just want some home-cooked meal!  As they say, necessity is the mother of invention.  Let's just say, I was forced to learn how to cook Kare-Kare, haha!  While I would prefer to have Ate Fely's Kare-Kare, it felt good to be able to say that I was able to cook it on my own. 

So my friend saw this in my IG and asked for the recipe. 

I was able to give her only a part of the recipe (Haha!) because we were having a nice time catching up and talking about different things!  During our conversation, I asked her if she has any Adobo recipe because the the one that I was following was just okay and I would like to try other recipes. So she gladly shared her go-to recipe (a recipe of her sister's mother-in-law) . . . and it was so good!  It was the best Adobo recipe I've tried!  It's a winner!

So I decided to do a post about these two recipes because I owe my friend the rest of the Kare-Kare recipe (Haha!) and to thank her for the Adobo recipe.

E, thank you very, very much!  Until our next recipe exchange!

By the way, the recipes don't have exact measurements.  Please feel free to adjust the seasoning as you cook to suit your taste.


Part I - Meat
Pork leg and other meat cut good for stews
Bay Leaves

Directions: On medium fire, boil the meat until tender (remove the scum).  Please save the broth as you need it for the sauce.

Part II - Vegetables
String Beans

Directions: Boil water in a pot and  add a little bit of salt.  Blanch the vegetables until you reach your desired tenderness.  These vegetables (except the pechay) require only a couple of minutes to cook. After blanching, put them in an ice bath (a bowl filled with ice and water) to stop the cooking process.

Part III - Sauce
Garlic, choopped
Onion, chopped
2 tbsp Fish sauce (for a kilo of meat)
1 pouch of Mama Sita Kare-Kare mix (I used broth to dissolve the mix)
2- tbsp of Annatto seeds soaked in 1/4  to 1/2 p of water (optional)
1 - 1 1/2 cup of peanut butter diluted with 1/2 cup of the broth
Broth from the Meat

Part IV - Shrimp paste to go with the Kare-Kare - very important!
We just got a bottle from the grocery.

Saute garlic, onion and fish sauce.  After a few minutes, add the water from the Annatto seed mixture and let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Then add the Kare-kare mix and stir and let it simmer for a few minutes.  Then add the peanut butter mixture, stir and add about a cup of the broth.  Let it simmer for 5 minutes.  Add more broth depending on the consistency you like, adjust the seasoning if needed. Then add the Pork and let it simmer with the sauce.

For the vegetables, some people prefer to put the blanched vegetables on top of the Kare-Kare when they serve it.  I prefer to mix it with the sauce before serving it so it would absorb some of that good sauce!

Don't forget the bagoong (Shrimp paste)! Oh and get ready to eat more than a cup of rice! Haha!



Adobo is one of the most popular Filipino dishes and may well be considered as the National Dish of the Philippines.  It is a simple but a dynamic recipe!  It makes use of basic ingredients but somehow each Filipino household (or each Region in the country) would have their own take on it.  Some would prefer it to be dry, some would like it with more sauce, some cook it with or without the soy sauce, etc.

I like mine a little dry with a thick sauce but since the kids like to eat rice with the Adobo sauce, I had to make ours with more sauce.

Thank you again E for this wonderful recipe, it is a keeper!


1 Kilo of pork (we use Pork belly and Pork Butt)
Lots of crushed garlic (2 heads, with the peel)
* My friend told me that adding the peel does make a big difference in your Adobo's taste
*Onions, chopped (optional, a personal preference)
1/8 cup oil
1/2 cup vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
2-3 pcs of Bay leaf

Fry the garlic in the oil and then add the pork until lightly brown.  Add  the vinegar and let it boil for 5 minutes (with no cover).  I've read that you should do this to let the acid in the vinegar cook off, so you don't get that raw taste of vinegar in the dish.  Then add the soy sauce, bay leaf and pepper corn. Since I want more sauce for the dish, I added 1/2 cup of water.  Let it boil and then simmer for 25 minutes or until pork is tender.  

As a special treat for Hubby (because he was craving for some), I've added boiled eggs too.  =)

Hope these recipes helped  you in any way!  

Happy Cooking!  

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