This dish is one of the prides of the Filipinos. In the Philippines, it is known as a Bicolano dish. A lady named Cely Kalaw is said to be the maker of this dish, she made this because her customers in her carinderia is complaining for her laing that’s why she toned down the heat of her stove, after cooking the laing, she thinks about what to add into her menu, he cooked this recipe because her customers likes to eat spicy food, but she doesn’t know what to call into her newly invented dish, the local train came passing by into the side of her store and that’s what she called her dish. She named it after that train, Bicol Express.
It is basically composed of meat, coconut milk and chilies cooked into low heat. Bicol Express spread its popularity throughout the Philippines and even to the foreign countries because of its distinct and hooking taste.This dish is perfectly paired with steamed cold rice, especially when it is raining.
Bicol Express Recipe
- 1 kilo PORK
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup red chilies –cut into rings
- 2 pcs green long chilies
- Shrimp paste or bagoong (optional)
- ¼ cup onions
- ¼ cup garlic
- 1 tbs. ginger
- Salt or fish sauce
- Sauté garlic, onions, ginger, shrimp paste and pork in a wok.
- Let it cook for 4 minutes.
- Add the coconut milk and let it simmer for 10 minutes, add the coconut cream and let the sauce thicken, this will take 20 minutes.
- Stir it once in a while to avoid burning the coconut cream.
- Add the chilies and let it cook for 5 minutes to let the spiciness incorporate with the coconut cream.
- Season it with salt or fish sauce.
- Serve with steamed rice.
- Meat – the part of the pork used in this should be either liempo or the meat in the back part of the pig. The meat should be also fresh to avoid the bad odor and bad taste when cooking. The meat should be also sliced in thin strips.
- Coconut cream – When choosing a coconut cream for this recipe, it should be preferably fresh. When using coconut creams in can or in powder, make sure to mix it well with water to avoid unwanted lumps to your dish.
- Chilies – If you have kids that will eat this this recipe, you can control the amount of the chilies because chilies can give those burning sensations on their little mouths, you can slice the chilies in half then remove the seeds and the white part to make its spiciness mild.
- Shrimp paste – The shrimp paste is also optional because most people has allergy with shrimp paste. But traditionally, this will make this recipe extra flavorful.
- Onions – This should be minced and fresh.
- Ginger – Some prefer ginger cut into small pieces, but if you have kids that doesn’t like to eat ginger that much, cut it julienne.
Photo shown above is Bicol Express from Bob Marlin Restaurant