Before going to my recipe for today, I want to take this chance to share with you about a meaningful campaign in which I am taking part. If you are a Foodbuzz Featured Publisher, you may have already heard that Foodbuzz has partnered with Yahoo! who is donating $20,000 to Share Our Strength on behalf of the entire Foodbuzz community and all the people who make Yahoo! their homepage.
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~~~~~oooooo~~~~~Now back to my recipe...
Every region in the Philippines has its own unique specialty dish which are mostly not too spicy, except for the Bicol Express which is the specialty dish of the Bicolanos from South Luzon. Also known as sinilihan (which means made with chillies), Bicol Express which is basically pork strips and finger chillies cooked in coconut milk, is known to be the spiciest Filipino dish.
I was introduced to this dish by my Bicolano friends when I was in college. They said this dish is called Bicol Express because it makes you run for water like an "express train" as soon as it touches your tongue because it is really spicy. The original Bicolano version makes use of siling labuyo (bird's eye chili) which makes it really hot. And unlike my version, it has less or no coconut milk at all and it actually has more chillies than pork. I love spicy food, but my obsession with hot peppers isn't as much as that of the Bicolano’s and I want to be able to appreciate the flavors in the dish, and not mask it with heat, so my Bicol Express is a milder version. I couldn't find siling labuyo here so I used a combination of Thai chillies, Jalapeño pepper as well as Korean pepper instead. I also removed the seeds of the Thai chillies. It may still be hot for some, but for me and Ryan, it's just right. You can adjust the amount of chillies you use depending on your liking.
- 2 lbs pork (shoulder or belly), cut into small cubes
- 8 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 onion, thinly sliced
- 1 thumb sized ginger, minced
- 6 Thai chillies, seeds removed and chopped
- 3 Korean pepper, sliced into rings
- 3 Jalapeño pepper, sliced into rings
- 3 stalks green onions, finely chopped
- 3 Tbsp shrimp paste
- 3 Tbsp cooking oil
- 1 can coconut cream (14 oz.)
- 3 Tbsp Fish Sauce
- Salt & pepper to taste
1. In a large skillet or wok, sauté garlic, onion and ginger in vegetable oil until onion is almost translucent.
2. Add pork and sauté until it is no longer pink.
3. Add shrimp paste and half of the Korean pepper, Jalapeño pepper and green onions. Saute for a minute.
4. Add coconut milk & fish sauce. Bring to a boil. Simmer until pork is tender.
5. Add salt and pepper to suit your taste. Add Thai chillies and remaining Korean pepper, Jalapeño pepper and green onions. Simmer for 3 more minutes.
6. Remove from heat. Serve hot with steamed rice.
Note: The pink color of my Bicol Express is due to the Shrimp Paste I used.