Editor’s Note. Jess DeGuzman is the executive chef of Sunda Restaurant in Chicago. In our interview last year, Chef Jess shared his memories of growing up Filipino American just outside the city in Morton Grove. He is pictured, far left, with his executive sous chef, Mike Morales at center, and sous chef Rijay Guillartes. Filipino Kitchen is proud to present his recipe of Chef Jess's favorite dish from childhood, kare kare, paired with arroz caldo, or rice porridge. 

"It’s what I always remember as a kid. When you talk about it, people are like, Ox tail? They get put off, especially with me growing up in the '70s. When they asked What’s in your lunch box, [you tell them ox tail, then] they’re like WHAT. It’s one dish that I remember my mom making all the time… It’s the one I remember from my childhood that I always enjoyed: the meat is so tender, the sauce is so different -- peanut sauce. Now that I work here at Sunda I get to do those things all over again."

Thank you, Chef Jess!

Arroz Caldo (rice porridge)

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 cups sticky rice
  • 1 qt chicken stock
  • 1 tbsp ginger (minced)
  • 2 tbsp garlic (minced)
  • 1 tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 cup bok choy (julliened)
  • 1 cup carrots (julliened)

Directions:

  1. Sauté onion in stock pot.
  2. Add garlic and uncooked rice and toss.
  3. Add fish sauce, ginger and chicken stock.
  4. Cover and bring to a simmer.
  5. Bring to medium low heat and continue to stir.
  6. Check rice for tenderness add water if it gets too thick.
  7. Season with salt and pepper.
  8. When rice is cooked, hold it at low heat until served.

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients:

  • 12 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tbsp miso
  • 8 tbsp mirin
  • 1 tbsp chopped green onion 
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp garlic, grated
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
  • 2 tsp sambal oelek
  • 1 tsp bagoong (shrimp paste)
  • 2 cup coconut milk

Directions: 

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender.
  2. Blend until smooth.
  3. Add water to get a loose consistency and set aside.

You can make this peanut sauce ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Kare Kare Chef Jess DeGuzman Sunda.jpg

Braised Oxtail

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 lbs oxtail, cut into 2-in pieces
  • 1⁄4 cup rice wine vinegar
  • 5 to 6 cups beef stock

Directions:

  1. Season oxtail with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pot over high heat.  
  3. Sear sides 3 to 4 minutes until well browned. Add the rice wine vinegar to deglaze the pan.
  4. Add the beef stock so that the oxtail is completely covered. Bring to a boil and skim off any foam that rises to the surface.
  5. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. 
  6. Cook the oxtail for 2-1/2 -3 hours until the oxtail meat is very tender and easily pulls away from the bone. 
  7. Set aside on stove on low heat until ready to serve.

To Plate:

Ingredients:

  • Eggplant
  • Green beans
  • Garlic
  • Scallions

Directions:

  1. Add oil to a sauté pan and cook eggplant and green beans for 2 minutes.
  2. Add peanut sauce to pan. Add water or chicken stock if sauce gets too thick.
  3. Add oxtail to peanut sauce and coat with sauce.
  4. Place arroz caldo in bowl and top with oxtail pieces.
  5. Put eggplant and green beans on the side.
  6. Garnish with fried garlic, scallions.
  7. Top with carrots and julienned bok choy.