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.
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.)
The 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!