I have made bicol express a couple of times before. Here and here. But those times, chicken was my main ingredient. So I decided to go the pork route because I want this to be like the real thing. Mom has also been wanting to have this because she watched a show how spicy food makes you lose weight. Hahaha. But it is good for the metabolism. And we do like our spicy food. So I said I will make her this. And when I went to the supermarket the other day, I bought packs and packs of the green peppers and made it.
By the way, do not forget to wear gloves when handling this much spicy things. i forgot and though I can easily tolerate the heat on my fingers, my eyes, face and neck couldn’t for a while. So careful.
I sliced the peppers by cutting them. But I had to deseed them using my hands. So that’s the culprit. I soaked them in salted water to remove any bitterness (and remove more seeds) And then I got started cooking.
I had frozen ground pork, so I put that in a pan, with a little bit of water so it had time to thaw while the rest was cooking. Took about 10 to 15 minutes. Once the pork was all cook and loosened up, add in the strained banana peppers and allow this to cook down, maybe 10 minutes. Add the coconut milk and shrimp paste and allow the coconut milk to cook down to almost nothing, and the oils will come out. Taste. I found ours too spicy so I added a bit of sugar to cut the spice down. I actually had to add sugar twice. Then serve with rice.
Authentic Bicol Express Recipe
1/2 kilo of ground pork
1/2 kilo of banana peppers, sliced, deseeded, and then soaked in salted water
2 cups coconut milk
3 to 4 heaping tablespoons of shrimp paste
sugar to taste
First, prepare the peppers. Allow at least 30 minutes of soaking in the salted water. You may start cooking the pork halfway through the soaking.
Cook the pork in a pan over medium heat until it is brown and loosened up. Then add the strained peppers. Allow the peppers to soften, cook through, before adding the coconut milk and shrimp paste. Allow to the coconut milk to somewhat dry up to release its oil. Then taste, adjust seasoning and serve with rice. 🙂
Note that I added the shrimp paste last. I was afraid that the peppers will be salty from soaking but it was all in the water, so there was no risk of that.