Sunday, May 24, 2015

Bicol express

Bicol Express

1 can coconut milk (70%)
1 lb diced pork (I used shoulder, but belly is more traditional...just too much fat for me)
5-6 cubanelle peppers, sliced (you can vary the variety of pepper you use depending on the amount of heat you can tolerate)
3-4 thai bird chilies (optional, for added heat)
1/2 bottle alamang, drained and rinsed
2-3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 onion, sliced
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, boil pork until almost tender and the water has evaporated leaving the pork in its rendered fat.  Add the garlic and onions and saute for a few minutes until soft.  Add the drained alamang and coconut milk.  Simmer until the coconut milk is reduced to at least half, and the oil from the coconut milk floats to the top.  Add the chilies and simmer for another 10-15 minutes until the chilies are soft but not mushy.  Season with salt and pepper.

A few notes...

1.  Try to find coconut milk that has no added additives/preservatives.  The one I use is 70% coconut milk and water. That's it.  I find that the ones with added guar gum, etc, don't produce the coconut oil that is the mark of a true bicolano dish :)

2.  Whenever you cook with coconut milk, reduce it first before adding ingredients that cook quickly (like shrimp, veggies, etc).  It takes a while to reduce coconut milk, and if you add these ingredients too early, they will be overcooked before you get that nice reduction.

3.  Bicol express traditionally is chilies in coconut milk, with a bit of pork just for added flavor.  This version has a bit more pork to make it more substantial so it can be eaten on its own, and not just as a condiment, which is what bicol express usually is in the Bicol region.

Serve this with lots and lots of steamed rice!

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