Pork and Chillies in Coconut Milk (Bicol Express)

My husband is crazy about hot and spicy food, and “trained” me to like it too. I remember my first time to eat chilli in pork sinigang, I was literally crying and sniffling, my nose just won’t quit dripping, but my husband kept encouraging me to go on, he said I’ll get used to it eventually and I did after a few more tries with other spicy food and I was hooked.

This has become one of our favorite hot and spicy dishes, it’s my version of Bicol express without the alamang (shrimp paste) and has more meat than the traditional one. Bicol express is a Filipino dish with the reputation for being a super hot dish. It’s actually a chilli stew; it’s  name came from a train that travels from Manila to that province in the Philippines where it was known to have originated. It’s cooked similar to laing (also from Bicol which is known for their hot dishes).

This dish is not as hot as you would expect but very tolerable considering the amount of chillies used. The coconut milk tames the heat and gives flavor to this dish. If you love coconut milk and spicy food, you should give this a try. You can of course reduce the amount of chillies according to your heat tolerance.

It’s perfect any day but like all hot and spicy food is better served on cold days (or nights), it’ll slowly but surely warm ( more like fire) you up from within you’ll feel the intense heat from your mouth at once then it slowly find its way down to  your chest and  deep into your hara ..Mmmm!

Here’s how to make it:

saute pork with garlic and onion until browned; add the coconut milk and let boil

add the chillies

simmer until almost dried up, do agan,  the second time with  pure coconut milk


until it gets to this

serve this with steamed rice..yumm!

aka my version of Bicol Express

serves 4


500g pork belly or pork shoulder, diced or cubed
1 large onion, minced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
250 g green finger chillis, cut thinly (diagonal/julienned)
5-6 red hot chilli peppers ( siling labuyo), sliced
2 cups fresh coconut milk (or 1 can diluted with enough water to make 2 cups)
salt and pepper (yes I still use ground pepper in this dish)
fish sauce to taste
1 cup pure coconut milk ( kakang gata)
olive oil for sauté-ing

Here’s how:

In a saucepan or deep pan, heat about a teaspoon of oil and saute garlic, onion, and pork, season lightly with sea salt and ground black pepperl cook until the pork is browned. Add 2 cups of fresh coconut milk and let it come to a boil; add the sliced chillies, stir, season with fish sauce to taste (start with half a tablespoon, then adjust towards the end).

Bring to a boil again and lower the heat to medium and let it simmer until most of the liquid has evaporated, add the pure coconut milk and let it simmer until most liquid has dried up and you see oil starting to come out (that’s what makes this so yummy). Turn off heat and serve this hot over steamed rice.


Thanks for reading and Have a nice day! 🙂


5 Responses to "Pork and Chillies in Coconut Milk (Bicol Express)"

  1. Chowhound   December 12, 2009 at 10:47 am

    This is amazing! This is one of my most favourite dishes ever! Sadly, I don’t get to make it here in Canada because I can’t find this type of chili. I’ve tried making it with jalapeno and it was like eating bits of hell in every mouthful.

    My dad is from Bicol and he can definitely do magic with chillies and coconut milk. He makes a wicked laing and I miss it just as much as the Bicol express.

  2. Sophie   October 20, 2009 at 1:30 am

    What a divine & tasty looking dish!! I so digg it!!! MMMMMM,…

  3. lululu   October 18, 2009 at 7:42 pm

    my situation here is totally opposite. i;m the one who’s been training my husband! haha.
    i love spicy and coconut milk! i’m definitely the one who enjoys this dish…..until i looked at the picture with TONS OF CHILLIES!!!!!!!! really need that much?!?!?!?
    u guys are real spice lovers!!!!!
    thx for asking about ethan the other day. he’s great. he’s turning one in 2 days. we just had a bday party yesterday. and i went thru a huge adventure of making a monkey cake for his bday. u could come by to my blog to see how silly the cake looks.

  4. Pingback: Pork and Chillies in Coconut Milk (Bicol Express) | Planet Bicol

  5. Nat   October 17, 2009 at 5:30 am

    Olive this looks incredible…! I love spicy Pork Curry…but when its Spiked with Fresh Green Chillies like this it… totally rocks !


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