Pork Bicol Express is a spicy pork stew simmering in coconut cream, one of Filipinos’ most popular dishes. It is rich, creamy, and aromatic—a super easy-to-make dish at home to serve with a bowl of rice on the side.
This Pork Bicol ExpressRecipe is one of Filipino’s favorite spicy dishes. Make this dish for your family and friends to devour and enjoy for lunch and dinner. I always cook this whenever I crave an aromatic, spicy, creamy, rich sauce pork dish, and it is wholesome comfort food.
Some of my readers request a spicy pork recipe and I always grant a request. In addition, I make this recipe extra special easy to follow, and a less complicated recipe as possible.
Why you will love this recipe
- Super easy to make in one pot. You can make this recipe in just one pot without boiling the meat or cooking it in a different skillet.
- Great source of healthy fats and protein. Coconut cream and coconut milk are the secrets to a rich, creamy, and flavorful sauce which is a source of healthy fats as well.
- Rich, creamy, flavorful with a spicy taste.
Question and answer
Bicol Express is a native dish in the Bicol Region in the traditional Bicalona style or method of cooking. It is also called “sinilihan” in Tagalog or spice with chili in English. The name of the dish was inspired by the Bicol Express railway train that operated from Tutuban, Manila to Legazpi, Albay in the Bicol region.
It goes really well with cooked white or brown rice on the side.
Cely Kalaw is the one who named Bicol express during a cooking competition held in Malate, Manila, Philippines during the 1970s.
Ingredients and substitution
Pork Bicol Express is one of our favorite dishes because you do not need to gather too many ingredients.
- Pork – Pork belly or pork shoulder is what we usually use that is cut in cubes. I use pork shoulder to have more meat than fat content.
- Coconut cream – Coconut cream is what makes this dish rich and creamy. You can’t skip this ingredient however, you can use coconut milk as a substitute. Coconut milk has lower fat content so you need to add a cup or more if you want a saucy dish.
- Garlic, onion, and ginger – For aroma and flavor. You can skip any of these if you don’t like them.
- Jalapeno or long chili peppers – Chili or “sili” in Tagalog. To spice it up.
- Shrimp paste – To taste. You can use fish sauce as a substitute
How to cook pork bicol express
Compare to other Bicol express recipes out there, my recipe is very easy to follow with simple steps. I avoid cooking and sharing complicated dishes but I make sure that we will achieve the tastiest dish.
- Grab a medium to large skillet or pan. Heat cooking oil and saute ginger, garlic, and onion until you can smell the aroma. It will take about 2-3 minutes on medium heat.
- Add pork and cook until it turns a light brown color and is tender. It would be best to cut pork in dice of the exact sizes to cook evenly.
- Add your shrimp paste, stir in and cook for 5 minutes.
- Pour coconut cream, jalapeno peppers, red and green chilis, and bring to a gentle boil. Simmer for about 10 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Turn off the heat. The sauce will continue to thicken while it is hot.
Storage and Reheating Tips
- Storage – Cool down completely and transfer the Pork Bicol Express to a glass air-tight container.
- Refrigerator – Store in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days. You will notice, that the sauce becomes thicker and the meat absorbs the liquid which makes it taste better.
- Freezer – You can also freeze for up to 4 months. Thaw in the refrigerator a night ahead. You can also leave it for a few hours on the countertop until it reached room temperature, the time may vary depending on the temperature in the kitchen
- Reheating – To reheat the dish, transfer it into a pot or skillet and sprinkle some water if it dried out, and reheat on the stovetop on medium heat until it warms through. You can also use the microwave for about 30 seconds to 1 minute.
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Pork Bicol Express Recipe
- 1 skillet
- 1 pound pork shoulder
- 1 can 14 oz coconut cream
- 2 tablespoons cooking oil
- 2 large jalapeno peppers
- 4 long red and green chili
- 3 tablespoons shrimp paste
- 1 small finely chopped onion
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 inch minced ginger
- In a skillet, heat cooking oil in medium heat. Cook ginger, garlic, and onion until aromatic for about 2-3 minutes.
- Add pork, stirring occasionally and cook until lightly brown and tender.
- Add shrimp paste and saute for 5 minutes.
- Pour coconut cream, jalapeno peppers, red and green thai chilis and bring it to a gentle boil. Simmer in medium heat until the sauce thickens for about 10 minutes. Turn off the heat. Serve and enjoy!
- You can use fish sauce as a substitute for shrimp paste.
- Coconut milk is as good as coconut cream but with lower fat content.
- While this is a spicy dish, you can control the spiciness by reducing the amount of jalapeno pepper and chili.
- The sauce will continue to thicken while the dish is hot and you will notice that the liquid will reduce because the meat will absorb it.