According to Wiki, Bicol Express was named after the passenger train service from Manila to the Bicol region, a region in the Philippines famous for its spicy cuisine. Bicol Express is a stew made from coconut milk, chilies, shrimp paste, garlic, onion and beef (or any meat) or chicken.
I’ve been trying to figure out how to get the perfect flavor for the Chicken Bicol Express but I failed. The first time, I used fresh coconut milk and simmered in low heat for more than 30 minutes. The color if the dish became nearly brown and I didn’t know if that was fine. Another thing, I did not get the correct flavor. My friend cooked the same and she made a perfect color – not completely white but not nearly brown. And I was like ‘What happened to mine?’ I was upset because I cannot make a very simple dish. I guessed it was the coconut milk… or maybe, I put too much shrimp paste.
I tried cooking using coconut powder and it was the best. Mmm, not the best Chicken Bicol Express in the world but at least, the best one I ever cooked.
Chicken Bicol Express
- 1kg chicken, cut into small pieces (about 1×1 in size)
- Coconut milk (2 cup coconut powder dissolved in 1 cup water)
- 5 sliced chilies (combination of green and red is better)
- 2 tsp shrimp paste
- 2 tsp garlic, chopped
- 2 tsp onion, chopped
- Salt and pepper
- Cooking oil
- Cut the chicken into small pieces. About 1×1 in size.
- In a deep pan or cooking pot, heat oil.
- Add garlic and onion. Cook for 1 minute.
- Add the chicken pieces. Cook until no longer pink.
- Add the chilies, shrimp paste and coconut milk. Cover and let simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add salt and pepper. Do a taste test.
- Serve with rice.
Easy, isn’t it?
This is the fourth time I made this dish. The second and the third was a success. The second was a trial and I used large cuts of chicken but nothing differs from the recipe above. I included carrots and red bell pepper to the third one just to use the remaining veggies I have in the fridge. I took photo of the third one and that photo was supposed to be the one in this post. The dish was gone and next thing I know, the light on the photo was too much. I cannot do something for the photo to look natural, so I deleted the photo and I cooked another dish after a few weeks. And this is it. I was glad the light cooperate with me this time.
In addition to the above ingredients, you can also add carrots and red bell pepper (or any veggies with not too much strong taste). The color will be so nice and the taste is just the same.
I really enjoyed this dish. Although I made this just a week after I started my diet, I still enjoyed it and take note… I did not eat too much. I just kept on smelling the dish. 😀
- The coconut powder might look too much but trust me… if using coconut powder, the more the yummier. Tinned/canned coconut milk can also be used, or even coconut cream.
- I put 6 chilies in mine, half de-seeded and half with seeds. If you are a person who loves spicy dishes, then the above is fine, I think. Anyway, you can add more chilies or make the chili lesser.
Wishing everyone a fabulous weekend!