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spicy chicken stew with coconut milk in a serving dish
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4.1 from 21 votes

Chicken Bicol Express

Chicken Bicol Express is easy to make yet packs big on flavor. Stewed in coconut milk and chili peppers, it's creamy, spicy, and delicious with steamed rice.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Entree
Cuisine: American
Servings: 6 Servings
Calories: 430kcal


  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 onion, peeled and chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 thumb-size ginger, peeled and minced
  • 2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thigh or breast meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 tablespoon sauteed shrimp paste
  • 1 can (14 ounces) coconut cream
  • 10 pieces Thai chili peppers, stemmed and minced
  • 2 cups finger chilis, sliced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a wide pan over medium heat, heat oil. Add onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook until aromatic.
  • Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. 
  • Add shrimp paste and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes until meat is evenly coated.
  • Add coconut cream and Thai chili peppers.
  •  Bring to a simmer, cover, and continue to cook for about 20 to 30 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and sauce is reduced and begins to render fat.
  • Add finger chilies and continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.



  • If using bottled raw shrimp paste, rinse and drain well to rid of the extra saltiness and the bright color that might otherwise bleed into the dish.
  • 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.


Calories: 430kcal | Carbohydrates: 6g | Protein: 36g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 21g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 816mg | Fiber: 1g | Vitamin A: 70IU | Vitamin C: 10.5mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 2.3mg