By Platillo Ligero
Bicol Express (Bikol: Sinilihan) is a popular Filipino dish which was popularized in the district of Malate, Manila but made in traditional Bicolano style.It is a stew made from long chilies (siling mahaba in Tagalog, lada panjang in Malay/Indonesian), coconut milk, shrimp paste or stockfish, onion, pork, and garlic. It is said to have evolved from gulay na may lada, another Bicolano dish which is nowadays also presented as one of the many variants of Bicol Express.
One of the favorite variants for Bicol Express are sea foods that include tahong, alimango (crabs) and hipon (shrimp). Others would also use pork meat. But since seafoods are expensive, medium sized tahong and hipon will do.
Preparing this one follows the usual ginataan dish. Recipe include gata (coconut milk) spices like luya (ginger) and sili (chili), garlic,onion, and salt. Take note, since this is Bicol Express, it should be a sizzler. So choose chili that explodes in the mouth.Sometimes, seafoods are first sautéed garlic, ginger and onion, followed by the pouring of coconut milk. Others may choose have them all in one batch until it simmer. Also, they may also be pina-iga or with sabaw.
What ever and however Bicol Express is prepared, it doesn't matter. Just make sure it's one hot sizzling bite.
(Thanks to ours friends in Brgy. Coliat 1 for serving us with this during one of my visits in the place.)