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Bicol Express-Pressure Cooker - Food with Mae-13

Bicol Express

Pressure Cooker Series Episode 2: Pork Belly Cooked in Coconut Milk (mildly spiced)

What is Bicol Express

According to Wikipedia, The dish was named by Laguna resident, Cely Kalaw, during a cooking competition in the 1970s in Malate, Manila. The name of the dish was inspired by the Bicol Express railway train (Philippine National Railways) that operated from Tutuban, Manila to Legazpi, Albay (regional center of the Bicol region). While trying to determine a name for the dish, Kalaw’s brother heard the sound of the Philippines National Railway traveling across Kalaw’s restaurant to arrive in Manila. This event inspired Kalaw to name the dish ‘Bicol Express’ after the PNR train that is programmed to undergo the Manila-Legazpi route.

Bicol Express is similar to a vegetarian dish in Bicol called ‘Gulay na may lada’ which translates to vegetables with coconut milk. Bicol is a region in the Philippines that uses a lot of coconut milk and chillies or ‘Siling labuyo’, a local chili, in their dishes. I love Bicolano food as I love the combination of coconut milk and chillies these two are made to be paired. I made some Sinanglay (fish in coconut milk & chillies), Laing (Taro leaves in coconut milk & chillies) and Pinangat (spicy coconut meat and crab parcels wrapped with taro leaves, cooked in coconut milk). All very delicious! 

This recipe is part of the ‘Pressure Cooker Recipes’ series. It’s for busy families and busy bees who don’t have much time to cook but still love home-cooked food. I hope you will enjoy this recipe! 


Pressure Cooker Series

Episode 1: Kaldereta – A Tomato Based Hearty Beef & Liver Stew

Episode 2: Bicol Express – Pork Belly Cooked in Coconut Milk (mildly spiced)

Episode 3: Adobo – Chicken Cooked with Soy Sauce and Vinegar

Episode 4: Pancit Lomi – Chicken Noodle Soup

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Bicol Express-Pressure Cooker - Food with Mae-13

Ingredients

800g-1kg pork belly
1 can coconut milk
1 medium onions
6 garlic cloves
2 tablespoons shrimp paste (Filipino brand alamang)
1-2 teaspoons fish sauce
½ teaspoon black pepper
2-4 green chillies
Cooking oil

Instructions

1

Press the saute function on your electric pressure cooker (EPC). Heat some oil, add the cubed pork belly into the EPC and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the onions, cook for 1 minute, add garlic and cook for another minute. 

2

Next, add shrimp paste, coconut milk, fish sauce and black pepper. Give it a good mix. Put the lid on and press the pressure cooker function, custom or pork for 20 minutes. 

3

Safely open the lid of your EPC (please follow the safety instructions of your epc). Add the chopped chillies,  press the saute function and simmer for 3-5 minutes. Now it’s ready! Bicol Express is served best with rice

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