Bicol express is a spicy Filipino stew consisting of bite sized pieces of pork with chilies, coconut milk, shrimp paste, onions, tomato and garlic. The dish is named after the train in the Bicol region of the Philippines, known for its spicy food. This dish has such a great balance of flavors. The chilies add a good amount of heat to the dish while the coconut milk cools it down a bit. The shrimp paste adds the perfect amount of saltiness and a certain depth of flavor. The best thing about this dish is that it is so quick and easy to make. You can use pork belly, pork shoulder or pork roast in this recipe, depending on how fatty you like your pork. Pork roast is the least fatty, then pork shoulder, with pork belly being the fattiest one of them all. Shrimp paste may not be readily available everywhere, so you may replace it with soy sauce or fish sauce. Finally, feel free to adjust the spiciness by adding less or more chilies. If you like it extra mild, you may deseed the chilies before adding them to the dish. Enjoy!
- 2 tbsp oil, divided
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion ,diced
- 1 tomato ,diced
- 2 lbs pork belly, pork shoulder or pork roast, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 1 can (400 mL) coconut milk
- 6 green or red Thai chillies, minced
- 1 tbsp sauteed shrimp paste (can substitute with fish sauce or soy sauce)
- Heat 1 tbsp of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds.
- Add the tomato and the onions. Continue to sautee until the onion is translucent.
- Add the remaining 1 tbsp of oil. Add the pork and sautee until the pork is lightly browned.
- Add the coconut milk. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Add the Thai chilies and simmer for 5 minutes more.
- Remove from the heat and add the shrimp paste (or soy sauce / fish sauce)
- Serve hot over steamed rice. Enjoy!