Bicol Express is a type of Filipino stew that makes use of coconut milk and coconut cream. Traditional Bicol Express recipe involves the use of pork as the main ingredient. Fatty pork cuts such as pork belly and pork shoulder are preferred. These are cooked by boiling in coconut milk along with chili peppers and spices. It is categorized as a main dish and is best eaten with a cup of warm white rice.
We cook a lot in the kitchen as you might already know. Bicol Express is one of our favorites. This is a good example of a dish that we make during regular days and special occasions. In fact, it is part of our Noche Buena menu.
How to Cook Bicol Express
Cooking Bicol Express using this recipe is simple and easy. We only need to boil the pork along with the rest of the ingredients in coconut milk. It might not be complicated, but our utmost attention and patience is needed in the process.
The first thing to do is combine coconut milk, onion, ginger, garlic, and pork in a cooking pot. Stir. Note that the stove has not been ignited yet at this point. Turn it on and set to high heat once the ingredients are all in the cooking pot. Let the coconut milk boil, and then adjust the heat to medium. This is the point where we reduce the coconut milk to half. It is important to check and stir the mixture every 7 minutes to prevent lumps from forming. This step extracts the flavors from the ingredients in the pot while tenderizing the meat at the same time.
The next step is to add all remaining ingredients. This includes coconut cream, chili peppers, and salted shrimp. I also add Knorr Pork Cube in the mix to give it that solid pork flavor.Salted shrimp or balaw provides most of the flavor to Bicol express. A good alternative to it would be bagoong alamang or fermented shrimp paste.
All you have to do at this point is to continue cooking the dish until most of the sauce evaporates. The indicator that I am done would be the presence of oil, which was extracted from the coconut milk.
Can I Cook Bicol Express Without Bagoong Alamang?
We now know that the answer to this question is a big Yes. Use balaw or salted small shrimp instead of fermented shrimp paste. Some of you might be thinking to use patis or bagoong isda. You can try. I do not recommend going that route because the outcome will be different.
Bicol Express Versions
Several versions of Bicol Express exist. Each version varies depending on the main ingredient. This recipe post is all about the pork version. Other versions include beef, seafood, and vegetables.
Pork Bicol Express is another version using pork and Ginataan mix. I find this convenient to prepare and it is very tasty.
Seafood Bicol Express is a yummy version that includes shrimp, squid, and mussels. This is quicker to make.
Beef Bicol Express is a version that makes use of beef chuck. This is ideal for people who don’t eat pork or has no access to pork.
Try this Bicol Express Recipe. Let me know what you think.
- 2 lbs. pork belly sliced into cubes
- 6 pieces siling pansigang slice
- 1 piece Knorr Pork Cube
- 4 cups coconut milk
- 2 cups coconut cream
- 2 pieces onion chopped
- 3 ½ tablespoons balaw or bagoong alamang
- 6 pieces Thai chili pepper chopped
- 3 thumbs ginger crushed
- 5 cloves garlic crushed
Combine coconut milk, onion, ginger, garlic, and pork in a cooking pot. Stir. Turn the heat on and let the coconut milk boil. Cover the pot and continue to boil in medium heat until the liquid reduces to half. Note: Stir the mixture every 7 minutes to prevent lumps from forming.
Add balaw or bagoong alamang, chili peppers, coconut cream, and Knorr pork cube. Stir. Continue to boil until the coconut milk reduces to your desired consistency.
Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve. Share and enjoy!