Chicken Bicol Express stewed in coconut milk and chili peppers has all the big, bold flavors you love of the classic Bicol Express. It’s rich, creamy, spicy and just perfect with rice!
Chicken Bicol Express is a delicious take on the classic Bicol Express wherein boneless chicken meat replaces the usual pork cubes. It delivers the same big, bold flavors you love in the traditional version yet is a slightly healthier and more budget-friendly option.
Like the pork version, bite-sized chicken pieces are first sauteed in aromatics and shrimp paste and then stewed in coconut milk and copious amounts of chili peppers. The resulting dish is gloriously rich, creamy, spicy and perfect with generous heaps of steamed rice!
This Bicol Express with chicken is easy to prepare with a short list of ingredients and in under an hour. It’s an amazing weeknight dinner meal but great for special gatherings as well. In fact, it’s the perfect addition to your holiday menu list as the recipe can be easily doubled to feed a crowd and is sure to be a party hit!
Notes on Making Chicken Bicol Express:
- The recipe calls for boneless, skinless chicken thigh meat but I imagine bone-in will work just as well. Just cut the chicken parts into smaller pieces (be careful with the bones!) so you get more surfaces coated in the yummy sauce.
- Bicol Express is traditionally made with finger chilis (siling haba) but since they’re not readily available here, I use Thai chili peppers (siling labuyo). Please note that I like mine pretty spicy, feel free to use fewer peppers to tame the heat or scrape off the seeds before chopping to get the flavor of the chilis without a lot of spice.
- I like to use sauteed shrimp paste but if you don’t have any on hand and are using “raw”, make sure to brown it a few minutes longer to rid of the “fishy” smell and taste.
- For a smooth, creamy sauce, cook in a simmer as boiling the coconut milk or heating it too quickly will make it curdle or separate.
Chicken Bicol Express
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
- 1 tablespoon sauteed shrimp paste
- 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 14 ounces coconut cream
- 12 pieces Thai chili peppers, stemmed and minced
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions and garlic and cook until softeend.
- Add shrimp paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes or until it begins to brown.
- Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned.
- Add coconut cream and chili peppers.
- Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or chicken is cooked through and sauce is thickened and reduced.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.