Bicol Express or sinilihan is one of the popular spicy dishes in the Philippines. It was made popular in Malate, Manila but the dish is Bicolano style. Bicol Express was named after the passenger train service from Manila to the Bicol region, a region in the Philippines famous for its spicy cuisine. This dish is spicier than the Thai dishes you know because the original version of this dish uses more chili than pork. It is made from pork in coconut milk and chili obviously, the name of this dish was derived from the Bicol Region wherein coconuts are abundant and the use of chili is highlighted in most local meals. Some people also use chicken instead of pork. The chili being used are siling labuyo or Birds Eyes chili and siling haba or finger pepper.
Here’s how to make your own hot and spicy Bicol express!!!
1/2 lb. pork belly, diced
2 cups thin coconut milk
1-1/2 to 2 cups fresh alamang (shrimp paste)
4 cups chili pepper, seeded and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium-sized onion, minced
1 cup thick coconut cream
3 tablespoons minced ginger
salt to taste
- First, you have to soak chili in water with salt. Let stand for 30 minutes and then rinse and drain thoroughly.
- Heat a pan and then pour-in the cooking oil.
- Sauté the garlic, onion, and ginger
- Add the pork and then continue cooking for 8 minutes or until the color becomes light brown
- Mix thin coconut milk and alamang (shrimp paste),
- Bring to a boil, lower heat and then simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add chili and cook until half the liquid has evaporated.
- Pour in thick coconut cream and continue cooking until oil comes out from the cream.
- Add salt and ground black pepper to taste.
Enjoy your hot and spicy Bicol Express with steamed rice!!!