Bicol Express with Jalapenos

When you really want something, you learn to adapt. And I wanted bicol express. Except that I have never seen the siling haba, or finger chili, here in the US. There are about 100 more varieties of peppers or chilis here, but none of that.

IMG_20170724_101721
Bright red jalapenos

The flavor of green jalapeno was too distinct for me to use. But I spied ripe ones in a Mexican grocery store and I knew immediately it would work. The red ones are sweeter, though still as hot. And it is usually with unripe or green peppers that I find that distinct flavors. (Green bell peppers vs. red bell peppers). So I grabbed a handful and decided to work on it.

I cleaned up the jalapenos the same way i did here. And I was looking at this dish more as a vegetable dish with a little meat instead of the other way around. So I was planning on only putting a little bit of turkey in here. Usually, bicol express would also have shrimp paste (I need to actually get my hands on that now), I substituted a mix of anchovy paste, oyster sauce and soy sauce. I do a lot of adjustments here to achieve the flavors that I want. (Another substitute for the fresh coconut milk flavor is mix canned coconut milk, a little bit of sugar, and whole milk/cream.)

IMG_20170724_114040The final dish looks really fiery. As fiery as my fingers were for the next two days. But it is mild. The redness was just a bright spark, but the flavors were superb. I made Matt try this and he liked it, but only in little bits, mostly because of the heat. But another thing I am able to recreate the flavors of! At least!

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