KITCHEN STORIES by Aissa Arambulo-Dela Cruz
Flavourful and heartwarming stories that fill the heart, and feed the soul.
Plantation Premium Beef Shank Kare-Kare
Emmanuel “Manny” C. Gonzalez, the brilliant personality behind the conceptualization and design of the enchanting Plantation Bay Resort & Spa, never seem to run out of ideas to share his creations. A former international investment banker, this hotelier is an excellent food connoisseur who cooks and some of his treasured recipes are found in his book, Crazy Wild Ideas. And to experience his culinary genius, one must dine in the resort’s Kilimanjaro Kafe or Fiji to savor some of the world’s greatest dishes. He takes pride in his signature Filipino dish, Kare-Kare which he considers the country’s national dish. His Kare Kare is now conveniently available in a can, the Plantation Prime Beef Shank Kare Kare.
Kare-Kare is a popular Filipino dish of stewed ox tail complemented with a thick savory peanut sauce with annatto seeds imparting an orange color. It traces its origin in Pampanga. There are several versions but I like the classic one cooked by my grandmother, using pounded toasted peanuts and pounded toasted rice used as thickening. Slow cooked, this laborious dish is served with vegetables like eggplant, pechay, sitaw or long beans, banana blossom and of course, paired with Ginisang Bagoong or fermented small shrimps (alamang].
I got a surprise call from enterprising Brian Noel of the famous restaurant Casa Verde, who proudly informed me that he and Manny have established a manufacturing plant. Its maiden product is the Plantation Prime Beef Shank Kare Kare.
Brian’s late Dad and Manny Gonzalez were good friends, which opened the door to the partnership. They have been working on the idea of canning Manny’s slow cooked dishes. This is the start of their joint venture to bring to the Cebuano table slow-cooked dishes of Manny. The recipe is featured in Mr. Gonzalez’s book, CRAZY WILD IDEAS – an Out-of-the-Box Solutions for Fixing the Philippines. This is slightly modified from the genuine Kilimanjaro Kafe recipe. Oxtail supply in large quantities is unreliable. Beef shank and chuck meat mix offers the same glutinous mouth feel as oxtail. The same slow process is used. All bones have been removed and the sauce is condensed. The content of the can is about 70% beef, 30% very thick sauce, and no fillers. Just add ¼ cup water, your favorite vegetables, and presto! It is almost as good as the World’s Best Kare-Kare, served in Plantation Bay Resort & Spa’s Kilimanjaro Kafe! A can is good for 3 to 4 persons, The canned delight is now available in selected Metro Gaisano Stores with retail price of P/ 250 for a can. Bon A petit!