Bicol Express is a popular Filipino dish hailing from the Bicol Region, known for its bold flavors and spicy kick. This savory and creamy concoction showcases the region's love for coconut-based dishes, blended with the distinctive heat of local chilies.
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Bicol Express Ingredients
- 500g pork belly, thinly sliced
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 5-8 Thai bird's eye chilies, chopped (adjust to taste)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
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STEP 1. Prepare the Pork
- Slice the pork belly into thin strips, ensuring they cook quickly and absorb the flavors.
STEP 2. Sauté Aromatics
- In a pan over medium heat, sauté the minced garlic and chopped onions in cooking oil until aromatic and translucent.
STEP 3. Add Pork Slices:
- Add the sliced pork to the pan. Cook until the pork turns brown and caramelizes a bit, enhancing the dish's flavor.
STEP 4. Incorporate Shrimp Paste
- Stir in the shrimp paste (bagoong alamang). This ingredient adds a savory umami flavor to the dish.
STEP 5. Introduce Thai Bird's Eye Chilies
- Add the chopped Thai bird's eye chilies to the pan. Adjust the quantity based on your desired level of spiciness.
STEP 6. Pour in Coconut Milk
- Pour in the coconut milk, allowing the pork to simmer and absorb the rich coconut flavor. Let it cook for around 15-20 minutes or until the pork is tender.
STEP 7. Simmer with Coconut Cream
- Once the pork is tender, pour in the coconut cream to create a creamy and luscious sauce. Simmer for an additional 10 minutes.
STEP 8. Season to Taste
- Season the Bicol Express with salt and pepper to taste. Adjust the seasoning to achieve the perfect balance of flavors.
STEP 9. Serve Hot
- Once the sauce thickens and the pork is cooked to perfection, remove the pan from heat. Serve the Bicol Express hot over steamed rice.
- Garnish with additional chopped chilies on top for those who love an extra kick of heat.
ATTRACTIONS TO SEE IN MANILA
- For a milder version, reduce the number of Thai bird's eye chilies.
- Adjust the thickness of the sauce by controlling the amount of coconut milk and cream.
- Experiment with pork cuts like shoulder or loin based on your preference.
Now, savor the authentic flavors of Bicol Express – a delightful blend of coconut, pork, and chilies that captures the essence of Bicolano cuisine. Enjoy this spicy and creamy dish with friends and family!
Check out my list of 10 Bicolano Food That You Must Try!