Basically, the outcome of this Bicol Express Recipe can be described as pork cooked in coconut milk with shrimp paste and chilies. No wonder the name of this dish was derived from a Philippine region (Bicol) wherein Coconuts are abundant and the use of chilies is emphasized in most local meals. There are stories saying that Bicol express was conceptualized and first cooked by Ms. Cely Kalaw in her Manila restaurant sometime during the late 60’s to the early 70’s.
Based on an article written by Angela De Leon entitled Soul Train: The Unlikely Beginnings Of A Beloved Filipino Dish (published in Chile Pepper Magazine last October 2006), Ms. Kalaw toned down the heat on her Taro dish (this could be “Laing”) after receiving complains from some customers.
However, she knew that other customers wanted the Taro dish to be hot and spicy so she invented another amazingly spicy hot dish that would best compliment the Taro. Thus, Bicol Express was born. The information in the article about the origin of Bicol Express might be true, or not. There are many claims that the original Bicol Express Recipe came from the Bicol region. We all know that Bicolano dishes are delicious and pretty looking so there is a big possibility that this dish really originated from the Bicol region.
- ¼ kilo pork, thinly sliced
- 1 cup Baguio beans
- 3 pcs long chili or jalapeno peppers (or more)
- 1 onion, minced
- 1 head of garlic, minced
- 1 cup coconut milk
- 1 cup coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons of cooking oil
- Salt to taste
- In a bowl of water with salt, soak chili peppers for 30 minutes then rinse and strain.
- In a cooking pan, heat cooking oil and brown sliced pork for a few minutes.
- In another pan, sauté minced garlic and onion.
- Add to the sauté the browned pork.
- Then add the coconut milk, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the chili peppers, Baguio beans and cook until dish gets a little dry.
- Add the coconut cream and simmer until the sauce thickens.
- Salt to taste.