Dec. 8, 2002 – If you like oxtail, try it Filipino-style with the flavors of peanut butter, fish sauce and brown sugar mixed in, along with veggies such as eggplant, green beans and bok choy.
Just as the Filipinos are part Malay, Chinese and Spanish, so is the cuisine of the 7,000-island Philippine nation a mix of many cultures. To this Eastern influence, add both ingredients and cooking styles of the West, and you get some delicious dishes.
One of these is Kare-Kare, a stew of oxtail in a rich peanut-y sauce served with a variety of vegetables — and more commonly called oxtail in peanut sauce. Stewed oxtail is a familiar offering on local West Indian restaurant menus, and ingredients such as eggplant and onion are used in many of our favorite island dishes. The use of peanuts or peanut butter is common in Asian and African cuisines. The Eastern influence of fish sauce for flavoring and bok choy as a vegetable gives Kare-Kare its Filipino zest.
You can sample the dish at Fusion Express in Vitraco Park on St. Thomas. Or try making it yourself at home with the recipe that follows:
Oxtail with Peanut Sauce, Filipino Style
4 pieces of oxtail, cooked
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped onion
1/2 medium-size eggplant, unpeeled, but cubed
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon fish sauce
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup vegetable stock
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1/4 cup water
6 fresh green beans, ends snipped and trimmed
2 stalks bok choy
Trim oxtail of visible fat; set aside.
Add olive oil to a large saucepan. Add onion and sauté until soft, but not browned.
In a second saucepan, add eggplant to boiling water. Reduce heat, cover with lid, and let boil 10 to 12 minutes until fork tender.
Meanwhile, add 1/2 cup stock to onion-and-oil mixture. Whisk in peanut butter. Add 1/4 cup vegetable stock, fish sauce and brown sugar; continue to whisk. Add oxtail and 1/4 cup vegetable stock. Turn heat to low and allow mixture to simmer for 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in half of the cornstarch-and-water mixture. Whisk until mixture is thickened. Remove from heat.
Add green beans and bok choy to eggplant. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until vegetables are crisply tender.
To serve: Place the oxtail with some of the sauce into a serving bowl. Add vegetables on top. Pour remainder of sauce over top.
Makes 1 serving. Per serving: 480 calories, 24 gms fat (42 percent fat calories), 41 mgs cholesterol, 698 mg sodium.
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