What is Bicol Express?
Bicol Express is a delicious Filipino dish originally from the Bicol region. It consists of tender pork, coconut milk, shrimp paste (bagoong), and a blend of spices that create a rich, creamy, and spicy flavour. The sweetness of the coconut milk serves to balance out the spiciness of the dish.
The dish called “Bicol Express” derives its name from the combination of two elements: the fast and fiery nature of a train (express), and the spicy taste of the food. This dish is widely appreciated in the Philippines, particularly by those who like their food to be hot and spicy.
To make Bicol Express, you need to sauté pork with garlic, onions, and shrimp paste. After that, let it simmer in coconut milk until the pork is tender and the flavours have blended well. Red chilli peppers like siling labuyo may be used to make the dish spicy, while long green chilli peppers, or siling pansigang, are used for flavour and garnish. This dish is commonly served with steamed rice and is a popular choice for Filipino gatherings and celebrations.
How to Make Bicol Express
- 500g pork belly or pork shoulder, sliced into small pieces
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 jalapeno peppers, chopped (adjust to desired spiciness)
- 2 serrano peppers, chopped (adjust to desired spiciness)
- 2-3 pieces long green chilli peppers (siling pansigang), sliced diagonally
- 1 cup coconut milk
- ½ cup shrimp paste (bagoong alamang)
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat the cooking oil in a pan over medium heat.
- Sauté the garlic and onions until fragrant.
- Add the pork slices and cook until lightly browned.
- Add the shrimp paste (bagoong alamang) and cook for another 3-4 minutes.
- Add the jalapeno and serrano peppers, and coconut milk. Let it simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until the pork is tender and the flavours have melded together.
- Add the long green chilli peppers (siling pansigang) and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve hot with steamed rice.
Note: Jalapeno and serrano chilli peppers can be quite hot. Please adjust the quantity of peppers to suit your preferred level of spiciness. If you prefer a milder flavour, you can remove the seeds and membranes from the peppers. Our preference for this recipe is somewhere on the hotter end of the scale, but we’ve had it milder on occasion. When handling the peppers, please be cautious and make sure to wash your hands well afterwards. This will help avoid accidentally touching your face or eyes. We hope you enjoy the spicy and flavorful Bicol Express!
Bicol Express is a beloved Filipino dish that packs a punch with its spicy and flavorful combination of pork, coconut milk, and shrimp paste. This authentic Bicol Express recipe that we have shared is a great way to enjoy this dish at home with family and friends. By using fresh ingredients and traditional spices, you can recreate the rich, creamy, and spicy flavours of this popular Filipino dish. Whether you prefer using siling labuyo, serranos or Thai chilli peppers, this recipe is easily customizable to suit your taste buds. So why not give it a try and experience the bold flavours of Bicol Express in the comfort of your own home!