Asian Fusion Vegan Kari-Kari

November 2, 2010 by Keri

I’ll admit it.  I was drawn in by the name.  Sure, it’s not quite my name, but people often misspell my name that way!  Another Filipino recipe from Asian Fusion, Kari-Kari (page 118) is a braised vegetable dish in peanut sauce.  I was originally planning to make sushi from the Japanese section, but if you haven’t heard about my sushi curse, something always comes up on nights I plan to make sushi.  As tradition, the husband got stuck late at work and the little man and I got caught up in painting and lost track of time.  Now that I think of it, that was a welcome cause for not being able to make sushi, because it’s usually a migraine.  Anyway, I had the ingredients on hand for Kari-Kari, and since it looked rather quick and easy, I decided to make it instead.  At first I was apprehensive about calling it a recipe success.  It looked kind of blah.  But this dish has a fantastic flavor and texture, and left us wishing there were more leftovers!  Plus, I’m a little bit of a sucker for any recipe calling for me to use one of my mortar and pestles.

Mortar And Pestle


  • 6 to 8 large dried black mushrooms, tough stems removed
  • 1/3 cup long-grain white rice
  • 1 teaspoon whole annatto seeds
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow onions
  • 3 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 cups vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable base (flavor enhancer or bouillon cube)
  • 1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch-long sticks
  • 1/2 pound Asian eggplants, cut in half lengthwise and sliced into thin half moons

Soak the mushrooms in warm water for 10 to 15 minutes, or until soft.  Drain ans squeeze out excess water.
Combine the rice and annatto seeds in a small, dry pan over medium heat.  Roast, shaking the pan occasionally, for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the rice is light brown and fragrant.  Remove from the pan and let cool.  Process the mixture into a powder in a mortar with pestle or a spice grinder.
Heat the oil in a pot over medium heat.  Add the onions and garlic and cook for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until light brown.  Add the mushrooms, rice powder, vegetable stock, peanuts, soy sauce, sugar, and vegetable base, stirring to mix well.  Bring to a boil, decrease the heat slightly, and simmer for 5 to 6 minutes, or until the mushrooms fully absorb the sauce.  Stir in the green beans and eggplant.  Cook for 4 to 5 minutes, until the vegetables are tender.  Adjust the seasonings to taste.  Serve hot.

Vegan Rice Recipes

Vegan Rice Recipes

Vegan Rice Recipes

As you may have noticed, I used globe eggplant rather than Asian eggplant. A few weeks ago, I was seeing Asian eggplant everywhere, but I didn’t need it then.  Now it’s nowhere to be found!  What ingredients have you seen in recipes or on blogs, but had trouble finding for yourself?

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I Eat Trees is a blog featuring my adventures in all things vegan. My favorite recipes, snack food finds, and restaurant trials are all on the menu so enjoy!


  1. This looks amazing! Great recipe!

  2. michelle says:

    The original recipe uses oxtail. I will need to use this Vegan recipe. Thanks for posting! Make sure to eat it with rice next time!

    Another fun fact: Kari-Kari is also usually bland, so one would have to season to taste with “bagoong,” which is a fermented fish or shrimp condiment.

    I’m really impressed with your dish! Very inspiring. I just ordered the Asian Fusion cokbook because of you. Thanks again!

    • Keri says:

      I had no idea the original recipe called for oxtail! I’ll definitely make a big pot of rice next time; thank you for letting me know! I hope you enjoy the book!

  3. Noelle says:

    YUM! This looks excellent. I wish I had all the ingredients. I JUST bought white eggplant at the store for 55 cents. Something about it nearing its death but it looked pretty good to me! Love this recipe though…note to self…need annatto seeds.

    • Keri says:

      “Something about it nearing its death” – Haha! If you don’t have/can’t find annatto seeds, I’ve read equal parts paprika and tumeric can be substituted.

  4. michelle says:

    One more variation: My Lola (grandma) also included okra. If you’re an okra fan, toss some in. I for one am a lover of okra.

  5. Evangeline says:

    Interesting twist for Kare-Kare. It looks different than the traditional dish. Ours is more like a “soup”. I agree with Michelle on the use of ox tail. If you want a healthier (non-vegan) version, you can throw in stew meat instead. For the vegan version, I’m pretty sure you can subsitute hard tofu for the meat. Anyway, we dont use okra on ours but we use bok choy, string beans and banana hearts. Last, “bagoong” is a staple condiment for this dish 😉 Very salty and very smelly so just be prepared 😀

  6. michelle says:

    Hello again… If you still want the funky pungency of bagoong, without using bagoong (keepin’ it Vegan after all) you can try fermented tofu or fermented bean paste (or curd) as a condiment.

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