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Recipe for Philippine Bicol Express: Superbly Spicy Filipino Dish

Updated on September 27, 2012
Chili Peppers or Siling Labuyo
Chili Peppers or Siling Labuyo | Source
Bicol Express
Bicol Express | Source

Bicol Express is a scalding hot Filipino stew made of lots of green chili peppers or siling mahaba or red chili peppers and siling labuyo, coconut milk or gata ng niyog, pork or chicken, shrimp paste or bagoong, onion, and garlic.

This Filipino dish is cooked Bicolano-style, meaning it is spicy like the other dishes cooked in Bicol, a region in the Philippines known for its traditional zesty foods made tasty in coconut milk.

Bicol is also known for its special pili nuts, which are candied, caramelized, or turned into brittle pili nuts or creamy yema.

Bicol Express got its name from Bicol Express, an old train that plied the route between Bicol region and the capital Manila.

Interestingly, Bicol Express is not an original creation of Bicol.

Instead, it is said have been first prepared and cooked as well as popularized in Malabon, Manila, a coastal town in the Philippines’ capital Manila.

Malabon is known for its scrumptious pancit Malabon.

Seasoned Filipino cooks say time and again that the key to cooking a highly spiced Bicol Express is by adding in chilies little by little until they are thoroughly cooked and until the desired spice is created.

Recipe for Really Spicy Bicol Express

Ingredients for Bicol Express

  • coconut milk – 6 cups
  • cooking oil – ¼ cup
  • garlic – 1 tablespoon; chopped
  • ginger – ¼ cup; sliced julienne-style
  • green chili peppers – 2 cups; sliced diagonally into strips
  • onion – ½ cup; chopped
  • pepper
  • pork – 1 kilogram; cut into serving sizes; cooked
  • red bell pepper – 1 ½ cup; sliced vertically into strips
  • red chili peppers – 2 tablespoons; chopped
  • salt
  • shrimp paste – 1 ½ cup
  • turmeric – 2 tablespoons

Instructions for Cooking Bicol Express

  1. In a pan set over medium heat, pour in cooking oil.
  2. Sauté garlic.
  3. Add in onions and cook until clear.
  4. Add in ginger and turmeric.
  5. Place cooked pork.
  6. Mix everything thoroughly.
  7. Allow to cook for 10 minutes.
  8. Add in shrimp paste.
  9. Mix everything thoroughly.
  10. Add in red chili peppers.
  11. Mix everything thoroughly again.
  12. Allow to cook for 20 minutes, stirring the mixture once in a while.
  13. Pour in coconut milk.
  14. Add in green chili peppers.
  15. Add in red bell pepper.
  16. Season mixture with salt and pepper.
  17. Allow to cook for 15 minutes.

Note: Add in more or less of the chilies as desired. To enjoy this dish, you have to know your own limits in spices.

Ready your glasses of water! Now, enjoy your Philippine Bicol Express!

Copyright © 2012 Kerlyn Bautista

All Rights Reserved

Recipe for Philippine Bicol Express

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    • kittythedreamer profile image

      Nicole Canfield 6 years ago from the Ether

      Oh my goodness, this looks amazing! Voted up and mouth is watering.

    • rLcasaLme profile image

      rLcasaLme 6 years ago from Dubai, United Arab Emirates

      Saw this on my feed and can't help but to be attracted to the photo and the recipe itself. I'll print this one so I could prepare it on the weekend. =)