It’s incongruous for a Bicolano to not know how to cook, perhaps the most popular of all Bicolano dishes, Bicol Express. My dad makes one hell of a Bicol Express (Yep! There’s that much labuyo in it you’d wonder why you haven’t spewed fire yet like one of Daenerys’ dragons in Game of Thrones) while my aunt makes to-die-for Laing.
And so I decided to venture into the unknown. Set foot in territories I never even dare dream to imagine. And in this quest I came upon this Bicol Express recipe… Okay, enough with the drama!
- 1/2 kilo pork cut into strips
- 2 tbsp cooking oil
- 1/2 cup bagoong alamang (shrimp paste)
- 2 tbsp grated ginger
- 1 tbsp siling labuyo (bird’s eye chili)
- 1 cup siling haba (finger chili)
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1/2 cup coco cream
- 1/4 tspn chicken powder
- salt and pepper
The amount of siling haba and labuyo to use really depends on your liking. You may also want to consider using less if the alamang you’re using is already spicy.
- Saute ginger and pork until brown
- Add bagoong and labuyo, stir
- Add coconut milk, siling haba, chicken powder, salt and pepper
- Simmer on medium heat for 5 minutes
- Add coconut cream and simmer on low heat for another 2 minutes
You can forego the coconut cream, although this gives the dish a richer, smoother texture. And there you go, time to enjoy your Bicol Express!