Bicol Express is pure comfort food! With pork cubes cooked in coconut milk and chili peppers, it’s rich, creamy, spicy and delicious! Serve with steamed rice for a hearty meal!
The day after I made my very first gising-gising, I packed half of it to work for one of my co-workers to try. She is from Bicol and I was interested to know what she thought of my newfound recipe. Alas! Instead of the rave review I expected, she barely touched the portion I ladled on her plate.
The next day in the break room, she plopped a big Tupperware in front of me and said, “This is how you do spicy. Go big or go home.” Oh. My. Gaawwd! Her Bicol express was so viciously hot I couldn’t feel my tongue after each bite and yet it was so deliriously good I kept digging in for more!
I used about 14 reasonably large Thai chili peppers (siling labuyo) to make this pork Bicol Express and the result is certainly not one for the meek. If you want to temper the heat a bit, use less amount of chilis from what is called for in the recipe or scrape the seeds off the pepper pods before mincing. Either way, hot or mild, make sure to have plenty of steamed rice ready!
Tips on Making Bicol Express:
- If you’re using raw shrimp paste instead of the sauteed shrimp paste recommended in the recipe, make sure to brown it a few minutes longer to rid of the “fishy” smell and taste.
- Coconut milk tends to curdle or separate when brought to a boil or heated too quickly. Cook in a gentle simmer to ensure a smooth, creamy sauce.
- As you can see from our nutritional facts below, this recipe is not exactly waist friendly. Unfortunately, the succulent pork belly cubes and rich, creamy coconut sauce we love come with a price. If you want to trim down some of the fat, swap the belly with a leaner cut such as pork shoulder. You can also sub the pork with boneless, skinless chicken!
Craving for more bold flavors? Gising Gising is a flavorful vegetable dish made with green beans, ground pork, and coconut milk you’ll love for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Ginataang Seafood is my mom’s specialty and it’s special for delicious reasons!
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 2 tablespoons shrimp paste
- 2 pounds pork belly, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 cups coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 1 cup water
- 14 pieces Thai chili peppers, stemmed and minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide pot over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened.
- Add shrimp paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes until it begins to brown.
- Add pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add coconut milk and water and bring to a simmer. Cook for about 10 to 15 minutes or until liquid is reduced.
- Add coconut cream and chili peppers. Continue to cook for about 20 to 25 minutes or until pork is tender and sauce begins to render fat.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.