Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Authentic Bicol Express


I guess it is just but right to start off this blog with the very famous, prized dish from the Bicol Region. Also, since I derived the name of my blog from this dish, the more the reason for this grand dish to be my very first post.

How many of you have tried the authentic Bicol Express? How would you know its the real deal? Simple, it has to be real HOT - thats right - "MAANGHANG". You won't be giving justice to the dish, if its not maanghang (hot). If you can't make it hot, or you do not like it hot, please don't call it Bicol Express - maybe just call it Binagoongan sa Gata. No offense meant -  but its plain mockery without the anghang.

If you get the chance to be invited into a Bicolano's household, grab this chance to request for Bicol Express. They will prepare it they way it should be - authentic.

Traditional Bicol Express got less meat, more alamang, more siling haba and siling labuyo. I guess you've already heard "mas marami pa ang sili kesa sa karne". I would always laugh because they though this is just a myth - its actually the truth!!

Top Image:  served at La Roca Veranda, Legazpi City. 
Right Image: my version of Bicol Express 
Image Below: served at Caramoan

Now you don't have to visit Bicol to try authentic:

1/4 kg pork kasim, cut in small cube
1 coconut, grated and cream expressed
       (set aside kakang gata)
       (how Bicolano do proper gata / coco cream)
1/4 cup fresh alamang
15 pcs siling haba, sliced
2 pcs siling labuyo, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
small ginger, crushed

1. Combine coconut cream, pork, garlic, onion, ginger, salt and pepper in a heavy bottom pan. Stir continuously over medium heat until coconut cream is almost dry. 
2. Add kakang gata, alamang, sliced siling haba and siling labuyo. Stir constantly until coco cream is thick.
3. You have the option of drying it more in low heat. This will extract the coconut oil making your dish "nagmamantika"
3. Serve hot.

  • Authentic Bicol gata dishes never uses instant gata ready mixes.
  • NEVER add corn starch or flour to thicken the dish - this is a mortal sin
  • Always add the kakang gata just before the dish is almost done
  • Fresh alamang is preferred over bottled or preserved bagoong
  • DO NOT wash sliced siling haba (wash it before slicing, but once sliced do not wash it)
  • Adding ginger takes the "lansa" off the dish

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