Bicol Express (Chilli and Pork in Coconut Gravy)

Now this dish is for the brave who would dare to take one of the hottest dishes in the Philippines. Bicol Express originated from Bicol which is a Southern Luzon province which is popular for its chillies and coconuts, the chillies grown here in are called “siling labuyo” or Birds Eye chilli which on my own opinion is one of the hottest chilli I tasted and it’s definitely hotter than Jalapeno Pepper. To see how it is scaled on the Scoville Heat Scale here are some popular chillies with their rating:

  • 100,000 – 350,000 Habanero (Capsicum chinense Jacquin)
  • 100,000 – 225,000 Birds Eye pepper
  • 50,000 – 100,000 Thai pepper (Capsicum annuum)
  • 30,000 – 50,000 Tabasco pepper (Capsicum frutescens)
  • 30,000 – 50,000 Finger Chillies
  • 2,500 – 5,000 Jalapeño (Capsicum annuum)

So if you think Thai food is hot then this is 2x hotter than a regular Thai dish. Usually Bicol Express is cooked with lots of chillies and pork cooked in a coconut milk, I remember going to that province they use at least the same amount of chillies (mixture of Birds Eye and Finger Chillies) as with the pork, 1:1 ratio. In my recipe I will use a finger chillies only which is milder and smaller amount so my daughter and wife can handle it.

Ingredients

800g pork belly, diced (small)
1/2 cup dried shrimps or 3 tbsp bagoong (shrimp paste)
6-10 finger chillies, julienned
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 red onion, chopped
3 cups coconut milk
salt
freshly ground black pepper

Method

  1. In a pan sauté garlic and onions.
  2. Add the pork belly stir fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Add the 2 cups of coconut milk and dried shrimps then bring to a boil and simmer in medium heat for 20 minutes or until the coconut milk had reduced to a thick oily gravy.
  4. Add the chillies and add the second can of coconut milk and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Add salt and pepper to taste.

If you can’t find bagoong in your place you can easily order them at Amazon

29 Responses

  1. nors says:

    Bro pwede bang paorder? Gusto ko yan spicy!!!

  2. Wow, another interesting and fabulous looking dish. :-) Mandy

  3. This is something new to me but the moment I saw the chillies, I wanna to try this Raymund.

  4. Spicy. I think I could do this, but not Katherine.

  5. It *looks* delicious, but knowing how hot those chiles are I’d have to tone it down a lot myself or risk losing what little hair I still have! :)

  6. Kristy says:

    I’m not sure if I could do this one or not…but I’m always up for trying new things. My grandpa on the other hand could probably eat bowls of this and not break a sweat. The guy puts spicy food away like no one I’ve ever seen before. ;)

  7. ceciliag says:

    Are you crazy! Are you trying to Kill me! Not in a million years!!! No sleeping through christmas this year, go to the beach!! c

  8. Eri says:

    I love hot and spicy food but I’ve never try habaneros and birds eye.. I canot imagine how they (and I) will be..
    Have a great weekend!

  9. foodjaunts says:

    I love Bicol Express! Bring on the heat, the hotter the better!

  10. I love the name of this dish:) I am surprised to hear about this dish being hotter than thai curry, I thought Filipino’s generally don’t eat very hot food

  11. I am not a huge fan of spicy food and this looks like it may be spicy. But maybe I can turn down the spice and still try this. Nice recipe

  12. Love 2 Type says:

    i can’t eat bicol express.. tooooo hot for me and i ended up having water for my dinner only to get rid of the hotness…

  13. Henry says:

    I miss Bicol express so much, matagal tagal ako hindi nakakain nito. May challenge kasi maanghang.

  14. Fabulous looking! I may tone down the chili peppers just a tad, but I’m marking this to the “make soon” list.

  15. bonks says:

    the finger chilis are just for show and color :D it’s the siling labuyo that will do the trick. lots of it. technically, it is ginataang sili. There’s always one frozen pot of bikol express in my ref, ready for action whenever the hankering for spiciness comes. I’m from Bikol by the way.

  16. Antonette says:

    Hi! This is my first visit to your blog. It’s wonderful that you’re featuring and promoting a lot of Filipino dishes. :) I’m from Bicol but I’ve been living in Japan for years. Anyway, I’m thrilled to see Bicol Express featured here.May I share how we cook it back home. Localities in the region may have a slightly different version. The ingredients are garlic, onion, ginger, lots of alamang, some diced pork (not the main ingredient), lots of finger chillies, coconut milk (normally we don’t use coconut cream) and salt. Mix everything, boil down until the oil from the coconut milk comes out. The longer you cook it (i.e., the more oil comes out) the better it keeps.
    Here’s wishing that you’d feature many more dishes with coconut milk like laing, gulay na santol, sinanglay (fresh water fish stuffed with garlic, tomatoes and onions, wrapped in pechay and stewed in coconut milk. Some versions add achuete to color the coco milk). :)

    • rsmacaalay says:

      Thanks for visiting my site and those suggestions, I appreciate it specially the recipes that I had missed out. Will try those dishes you mentioned if I have a chance to grab those ingredients here in NZ. BTW did you get my site though the Philippine Digest there in Japan?

  17. I just had this recently during my trip to Sablayan in Mindoro and I love it!!! Thanks for sharing the recipe… I can’t wait to try and make my own at home!

  18. Allan Wilson says:

    1:1 Pork and Chilies? That’s crazy. As a sucker for coconut and chili kicks Bicol Express is my favourite Filipino dish. But I never found the heat (certainly not in Manila) to be close to Thai dishes. But as above 1:1 chilies and pork. You don’t get that in Thailand. If you know somewhere that does it good and hot let me know ;)

  19. vanessa jane haboc figura says:

    hi..this is d 1st tme i visit ur blog,u knw i really lve,it gves more xcitng 2 me,that s 1 of my favorite dishes…cnt wait 2 do tht on my own…

  20. jlaceda says:

    I am making this for a party this weekend!

  21. Lei says:

    yummy!!!
    I am cooking it right now xD

  22. Lei says:

    wish to learn more recieps and how to cook here! <3

  23. Chef.Kris says:

    i’ve try this.. Excellent ,, awesome love it

  1. January 1, 2014

    […] Bicol Express (Chilli and Pork in Coconut Gravy) […]

  2. March 19, 2014

    […] province in the Philippines where they used coconut milk and chillies in every dish they make like Bicol Express, Laing and Ginataang Kalabasa to name some. Those ingredients is what the Bicol cuisine is famous […]

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