This Vegan Kare-Kare dish is just like the authentic Filipino Food- Kare Kare but without the meat. It’s rich, thick and creamy with peanut sauce that will satisfy your love for the meat version.
What is your favorite Filipino Food? Let me know in the comments.
What is Kare-Kare?
Kare-Kare is a popular Filipino dish believed to have originated in Pampanga, a place in the Philippines which is considered the Culinary Capital of the country because of its many original dishes. Because this is a dish that has been present 200 years ago, there are many twists and versions to this authentic Filipino dish. I’m sharing you one version and hopefully soon, I’ll be sharing with you another way of making Kare-Kare.
The different versions of Kare-Kare
Kare-Kare mainly consists of
- peanut sauce
- healthy vegetables like banana heart or blossoms
- bok choy or commonly known as pechay
- and green string beans
Kare-Kare is usually eaten with shrimp paste, be it spicy or just the regular shrimp paste and a bowl of steamed rice.
Did you know?
It was believed that Kare-Kare was always present in feasts and was usually served to elite guests of special gatherings. Studies show the word Kare-Kare was derived from the Indian term “curry”.
Some culinary researchers also say that this delicious and unique peanut stew was brought in the Philippines by the Japanese during the pre-colonial period.
As a vegetarian it’s difficult to find vegan vegetarian Filipino dishes- luckily for you here’s a vegan vegetarian version of this delicious and easy to cook Filipino dish!
Tips and Tricks for Making This Vegan Kare-Kare Recipe:
- If you are having a party at home and you want to impress guests of your cooking skills, you can make this into a sizzling sisig. Simply use a sizzling plate and serve.
- To give an instant orange-red color to your vegan Kare-Kare, use annatto oil when sauteeing the ingredients.
- If you can’t find annatto oil but only have annatto seeds or atsuete seeds, make your own annatto oil by just putting enough oil in a saucepan and place the seeds. Let it “simmer” for a few minutes until the orange-red tint of the seeds come out. You can store the oil for several months.
- Shrimp pastes are a popular pair when eating Kare-Kare but vegan shrimp paste is also available in the market today. It is made of fermented bean paste so you won’t miss out the complete experience of eating authentic Kare-Kare.
- To prevent the vegetable ingredients of Vegan Kare-Kare from turning brown, soak it in a bowl of water after slicing them.
- If you can’t find bok choy at your local Asian grocery market, feel free to use baby bok choy. Something to note, baby bok choy is slightly bitter than regular bok choy. (Just in case you decide to eat it fresh)
- I love adding freshly squeezed calmansi to this dish- feel free to do it as well.
How to Make this Vegan Kare-Kare Recipe:
Gather the ingredients for this Vegan Kare-Kare and once the ingredients are all ready, let’s begin!
- coconut oil
- yellow onion
- garlic cloves
- soy meat protein or seitan
- soy sauce
- annatto powder
- peanut butter
- dark brown sugar
- banana blossom bud
- string beans
- fresh coconut milk or canned coconut milk
- bok choy sliced into halves
In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and garlic until it becomes translucent:
Add the soy protein meat or seitan and cook on both sides until it turns a darker brown:
Mix in the tofu:
Add the soy sauce and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes:
Then mix in the water and cover the pan with a lid until it boils:
Add brown sugar, salt, and pepper. Mix well and check the thickness of the sauce and if it’s too thick add water gradually:
Then mix in the peanut butter and allow it to simmer by turning down the heat to low and putting a lid:
Add in the annatto powder, bean paste, and mix well:
Add banana blossom bud cover the pan until it softens it will be about 8-10 mins:
Add eggplant and string beans and cover for 3 to 5 minutes:
Cover for a few minutes just enough for the vegetables to be cooked:
Add the coconut milk, bok choy, season with salt and pepper:
Gently mix and cover with the lid for 3 minutes:
That’s it Simply Bakers! Wasn’t it easy? This vegan Kare-Kare might seem complicated to cook because of the long list of ingredients, but once you look past that it’s very easy.
Frequently Asked Questions for the Vegan Kare-Kare Recipe:
Q: What is Banana Blossoms?
A: Banana blossoms are also known as banana heart. It is actually the flower of a banana trunk, which is edible and good to use in any vegetable soup or dish. Filipinos have a lot of recipes using banana blossoms.
Q: What is atsuete also known as annatto seeds or annatto powder? Where can I buy it?
A: Atsuete seeds are orange-red seeds that are commonly used in cooking to give a natural orangey red color to any dish. The annatto powder is derived from these seeds, then packed and sold mostly in Asian grocery stores.
Q: What is meat protein or seitan and where can I buy it?
A: Meat protein or seitan is a popular vegan protein source made from wheat gluten and water. It is cooked before being eaten and is widely used by vegans in their day to day dishes. Seitan is sold in vegan grocery stores or even regular grocery stores that has a vegan section.
Q: I don’t have Annatto powder, can I use atsuete instead?
A: Yes, if you can’t get annatto powder you can use atsuete, but remove the seeds and soak it.
Q: I don’t have string beans, can I use green beans instead?
A: Yes, string beans and green beans are actually the same things!
Try these Filipino Desserts that go well with this dish:
- 1 cup 250 grams of tofu cut into cubes, deep fried and strained
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- 1 yellow onion peeled and chopped
- 4 garlic cloves peeled, crushed and minced
- 7 pcs of soy meat protein or seitan pre-soak strain
- 1 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2-3 cups of water
- 1 tablespoon annatto powder
- 3 tablespoon of peanut butter
- 1 tablespoon dark brown sugar
- 1-2 banana blossom bud fresh (canned, which is ready to use is an ok alternative)
- 2 eggplants cut into a 3-inch wedge shape
- 5 strands string beans cut into 2-3 inches
- 1 cup of fresh coconut milk or canned coconut milk
- 1 bunch of bok choy sliced into halves seperate the bok choy leaves and stems
- pinch of salt
- pinch of pepper
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add onions and minced garlic until it becomes transparent.
- Add the soy protein meat or seitan and cook on both sides until it turns a darker brown.
- Mix in the tofu, soy sauce and let it sit for about 2-3 minutes. Then mix in the water and cover the pan with a lid until it boils.
- Add the annatto powder, bean paste and mix. Then mix in the peanut butter and allow it to simmer by turning down the heat to low and putting a lid.
- Add brown sugar and mix well. Check the thickness of the sauce and if it's too thick add water gradually.
- Add banana blossom bud cover the pan until it softens it will be about 8-10 mins.
- Add eggplant and string beans and cover for 3 to 5 mins.
- Add the coconut milk, bokchoy, season with salt and pepper and cover with the lid for 3 minutes.
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