I wrote the draft for this dish/post the second week of January and forgot about it. I have several drafts that I fail to go back to for posting. I recently cleared all my posts in draft but kept this one so I'm posting it rather late.
Bicol Express is one of the simplest but yummy Filipino dishes you could make. The dish, named after the train that goes to the province of Bicol where they like their dishes super spicy, was invented by the owner of The Grove restaurant in the Philippines. I had visited their Makati branch countless of times and loved their buffet lunch (see photo below), and Bicol Express is one of my favorites along with guinataang kuhol (snails in coconut cream ). The chiles usually used in this recipe are the long thin light green medium hot ones. I used a combination of green, orange, and yellow and included 1 red for color. I made it with lots of sauce, almost soupy which is so good poured, not drizzled, over steamed rice. I also prefer Bicol Express with very little pork, you can add more if you want it meaty.
¼ pound pork shoulder, sliced thin and julienned
1 tablespoon grapeseed or light olive oil
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic
1 tablespoon finely minced shallot
2 tablespoons shrimp bagoong
3 cups sliced or julienned green long chiles
3 cups coconut milk
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, heat the oil, add and stir fry pork for 5 minutes. Add garlic and onion and saute for 2 minutes. Add the shrimp paste and coconut milk, cook for 1 minute before adding the chiles. Taste and add salt if needed. Turn heat down to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. If you want the dish drier, simmer until sauce is very thick and the oil separates from the cream. Serve immediately with steamed rice.
The photo below from one of my Filipino cookbooks is a small portion of The Grove restaurant's buffet table array. This was taken most probably in 1976, I'm not sure if the retaurant still exists and if it is I can't be sure if it still offers this lunch buffet.