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.
- In a pan sauté garlic and onions.
- Add the pork belly stir fry for a couple of minutes.
- 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.
- Add the chillies and add the second can of coconut milk and continue to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper to taste.