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Braised Beef in a Rich Peanut Sauce

Like many dishes brought to the Philippines by the Spanish, this slow-cooking stew, renamed kari kari, retains much of its original charm, while at the same time it has acquired a uniquely oriental flavour. Rice and peanuts are used to thicken the juices, yielding a rich, glossy sauce.

ingredients

serves 4 - 6
900 g (2 lb) braising steak
30 ml (2 tbsp) vegetable oil
15 ml (1 tbsp) annatto seeds
2 medium onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
275 g (10 oz) celeriac or swede, roughly chopped
475 ml (16 fl oz) 2 cups beef stock
375 g (12 oz) new potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
15 ml (1 tbsp) fish or anchovy sauce
30 ml (2 tbsp) tamarind sauce
10 ml (2 tsp) sugar
1 bay leaf
1 fresh thyme sprig
45 ml (3 tbsp) long-grain rice
50 g (2 oz) 1/2 cup peanuts or 30 ml (2 tbsp) peanut butter
15 ml (1 tbsp) white wine vinegar
salt and ground black pepper

method

1. Cut the beef into 2.5 cm (1 in) cubes and set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a flameproof casserole, add the annatto seeds and stir until the oil is dark red in colour. Remove the seeds with a slotted spoon and discard.

3. Add the onions, garlic and celeriac or swede to the casserole and fry for 3 - 5 minutes, until softened but not coloured. Add the beef and fry until lightly and evenly browned. Add the stock, potatoes, fish or anchovy sauce, tamarind sauce, sugar, bay leaf and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook for 2 hours.

4. Meanwhile, place the rice in a bowl, cover with cold water and set aside for 30 minutes. Roast the peanuts, if using, under a preheated grill/broiler for 2 minutes. Remove and rub off the skins with a clean tea towel. Drain the rice and grind with the peanuts or peanut butter in a mortar with a pestle or in a food processor.

5. When the beef is tender, add 60 ml (4 tbsp) of the cooking liquid to the rice and nut mixture. Blend until smooth, then stir into the casserole. Simmer gently, uncovered, for 15 - 20 minutes, until thickened. Stir in the wine vinegar and season to taste.

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