February 15, 2008

Bicol Express

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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.

Bicol Express
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.


Sidney said...

It is not exactly looking like the Bicol express I used to eat. I guess it depend on the amount of coconut milk used.

But for sure a delicious dish!

Oggi said...

Sidney, no it isn't, I did not boil it long enough to thicken the sauce because I like it soupy (I'm weird).:)

Chibog in Chief said...

wow sarap nito!! i love your photos of the chili they all look photogenic :-)

ps, my dear i just tagged you :-)

Oggi said...

thanks dhanggit. i really love the spicy sweetish sauce of this dish.

thanks for the tag and will think of 5 things about me that are rated G, just kidding.:)

 gmirage said...

When the page was loading, I saw the photo first and taught it was fruit salad....I can eat bicol express that way(thinking of fruit salad), Im not born for spicy treats =D Love the sili photos!

Oggi said...

I love hot chile. I used to put sliced green and red in vinegar/patis dipping sauce and drown my fried pork chops with the sauce.:)

Anonymous said...

i've seen so many variations of this dish but have yet to try it. i may try it with more pork;)

Oggi said...

marvin, this is the simplest version I could find. most have lemon grass, ginger, lemon or calamansi and a ton of pork, i'll probably try that one too just to compare the flavors.:)

Anonymous said...

I seriously love this dish -- My best friend and I both fell in love with it when we went to Bicol last year. To this day we have super serious cravings and scour the city (Manila) for good places to have it. We believe that they made us gayuma in Bicol because we are really, really irrationally crazy about it. My friend doesn't even really like spicy food! I have to try making this at home one of these days...

Oggi said...

joey that's so funny, you were gayumaed. I used to eat that a lot in restaurants in Manila, sometimes the best were in small eateries.:)

dex said...

wow. very colorful bicol express you have here. makes it look all the more delectable.

this is bad, you're making me hungry in the middle of the night! ha!

Oggi said...

Dex, I love my food with a little bit of color.

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