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Bicol Express

Bicol Express

Yasmin Newman has kindly let us share her famous recipe from here book 7000 Islands: A Food Portrait of the Philippines.

Ingredients (serves 3-4)

  • 1 tablespoon Virgin Coconut oil
  • 500g skinless pork belly, cut into 1cm strips
  • 6 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 5cm piece ginger, peeled and finely grated
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 65g sautéed shrimp past (bagoong alamang)
  • 750ml coconut milk, plus extra to drizzle
  • 6 long green chillies, seeded, sliced widthwise, plus extra thinly sliced to serve
  • 2 long red chillies, seeded and sliced widthwise
  • 2 red birds-eye chillies, sliced widthwise
  • Steamed rice to serve


Heat the coconut oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add half of the pork and cook for 4 minutes, stirring until browned all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to plate. Repeat with the remaining pork. Reserve the oil in the empty pan and reduce the heat to medium. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring and scrapping up any bits stuck to the base of the pan. Add the onion and cook for 4 4minutes, stirring until soft.

Return the pork to the pan with the shrimp paste and cook for 1 minute, stirring to combine. Add the coconut milk, bring to simmer, then reduce the heat to low-medium and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the pork is tender.

Add the chillies and cook for 12 minutes, stirring regularly, or until the chilli is tender but sill has crunch and the sauce is slightly thickened (don’t reduce to much or the coconut milk may split) Transfer to a serving bowl, scatter with extra chilies and drizzle with a little extra coconut milk. Serve with steamed rice.

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