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Bicol Express
Philippines
  -   Bicol Express
Serves
Effort:
Sched:
DoAhead:  
4 w/rice  
***
1-1/4 hrs  
Yes
This rich and flavorful recipe is in the style of Bicol, the far southeast point of the northern island of Luzon, but is said to originate from Manilla. In Bicol, coconuts and chilis used much more than in the rest of Luzon. It is apparently named for a train that runs from Manilla to Bicol.



2
5
3
9
5
2
1/2
14 oz
1
#

cl
oz
oz
T
t
can
T
Pork Belly (1)
Chilis, green (2)  
Garlic
Tomatoes
Onions
Oil
Salt
Coconut Milk (3)  
Bagoong (4)
Prep   -   (25 min)
  1. Cut PORK BELLY into modest bite size cubes abound 3/4 inch on a side or as desired.
  2. Prepare CHILIS as desired (see Note-2) and slice thin or chop coarse or however you like.
  3. Scald TOMATOES 1 minute in boiling water, quench in cold water and peel. Cut into chunks of similar size to the Pork.
  4. Quarter ONION lengthwise and slice thin. Crush GARLIC and chop fine. Mix.
Run   -   (45 min)
  1. In a spacious sauté pan heat Oil and fry Onion mix until Onion is translucent and Garlic bits are lightly browned.
  2. Stir in Pork. Continue to fry stirring until Pork is showing a little browning, but if the fond adhering to the pan get to a dark chocolate color go to the next step regardless.
  3. Stir in Coconut Milk, bring to a boil, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes.
  4. Stir in Chilis and bring to a simmer for 5 minutes. Adjust liquid to how you want it (not too dry served with rice).
  5. Take off the heat and stir in Bagoong.
  6. Serve hot with plenty of steamed Jasmine rice.
NOTES:
  1. Pork Belly:   This is uncured bacon, a cut very much favored in China and the Philippines. It can be found in markets serving Chinese and Southeast Asian communities. For details see our Pork Belly page.
  2. Chilis:   Properly, Bicol Express should be made pretty hot using Siling Mahaba chilis, which are medium hot (about as hot as a jalapeno, but different flavor). Siling Mahaba are not currently much available in North America. The photo example was made with 5 Serranos, but those vary so much these days I recommend starting with three and adjusting up as needed. Sometimes three is enough, sometimes you need eight. For details see our Sili - Philippine Chilis page.
  3. Coconut Milk:   This should be a good quality rather thick coconut milk with plenty of cream. I use Aroy D brand from Thailand.
  4. Bagoong:   This is fermented shrimp paste. Some recipes call for sautéd paste and some for regular, but all avoid those dyed a horrid red color. The sautéd was used for the photo sample. For details see our Shrimp Sauce / Paste page.
  5. U.S. measure: t=teaspoon, T=Tablespoon, c=cup, qt=quart, oz=ounce, #=pound, cl=clove in=inch, ar=as required tt=to taste
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