Bicol Express Chicken

I was at the grocery store one day when I ran into some Delicious magazinesmall cookbooks in magazines. They are about the size of a paperback book but thinner. A mini cookbook really. But full of delicious and doable recipes. They have several different topics and the one I found was titled Pinoy Regional Favorites. It had already been released a while ago, so these were probably the last remaining copies (in store). I couldn’t resist. I took two and put them in the cart.

I still remember the first time I read the first issue of Yummy magazine. I was a newlywed (more or less). I already loved cooking and already had this blog, but it was the first time I had a kitchen to call my own. I felt that Yummy had just spoken to me. I’m a simple, uncomplicated girl with a huge passion for food… and the magazine, with its bright contemporary design, youthful feel, easy but good dishes, fun but practical approach and interesting features, he spoke well to me The beginning of a “conversation” that would last more than a decade.

The first time I was asked to do a feature I was beyond flattered. I’m so excited to be asked by this new food magazine that I already love! Of course I said yes…and the rest was history. From features to my own column, Yummy saw me through my early married life with each of my two children (with many wonderful moments in between). I went through three delightful editors and several staff members, and not one I didn’t like. Every person on this team was a pleasure to work with.

When they came out of print, a little piece of my heart broke. And mine wasn’t the only one. I received many messages from readers everywhere lamenting the loss of a great print magazine…some mentioning that it was the only print magazine they would buy.

But…that’s life. Things change and so do we. We move on, we move forward, but we are touched and changed forever by the experiences of our lives. How excited and changed I am to have worked with such a stellar publication, and with such amazing people. I guess this is my little tribute to Yummy and them.

this Bicol Express Chicken came out in my Yummy column in 2014. It was also part of her Pinoy Regional Favorites cookbook. This dish was influenced by my love for Bicolano cuisine. It has coconut milk and chilies like the original, but I use chicken instead of the usual pork. It’s very easy to make and you can have it on your table in just over half an hour.

Bicol Express Chicken
(from my September 2014 column in Yummy Magazine)

  • Vegetable oil, for frying
  • 1 medium white onion, chopped
  • 5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
  • 30 grams of ginger, peeled and cut into slices
  • 2-3 tablespoons of bagoong (maybe more, depending on the saltiness of your bagoong)
  • 4-5 long green chilies
  • 300-350 grams of chicken thigh fillets, cut into thick pieces
  • 250 ml coconut milk (cat)
  • Optional: sili labuyo, if you really want to turn up the heat!

– Heat a wok or pan over medium-high heat. Add a couple of swirls of oil and when hot, add the onion, garlic and ginger. Sauté until the onion is soft and translucent and the scent of the aromatics rises.
– Add the bagoong and sili to the pan and sauté for about 2-3 minutes, until the flavors have blended.
– Add the chicken to the pan and fry until golden, about 1-2 minutes. Add the coconut milk and bring to a gentle boil. Cook on very low heat for about 20-30 minutes, until the chicken is tender and the sauce has thickened. Taste, and if you think it needs more seasoning, mix in a little more bagoong.

This recipe will serve two since I made it when my kids were younger and still couldn’t eat too much spicy food, but the recipe is easy to scale (and I’ve done it successfully ever since). You can add as many chilies as you want, depending on how spicy you like it. If you want to really up the heat quotient, add some sili labuyo along with the sili pangsigang.

Here you can replace the chicken with fish or shrimp if you want a seafood version, or vegetables if you want a vegetarian version. Just adjust the cooking times accordingly.

If you haven’t noticed, I said earlier that I caught two copies of this delicious cookbook. One for me and one for one of you!

Yes, a gift!! Mechanics as follows:

  • I’m giving away a copy of Pinoy Regional Favorites to another Yummy reader.
  • All you have to do is leave a comment here with your best delicious memory… that’s it!
  • A week after this post I will pick a commenter’s name (at random out of a hat as I like to do) and that will be the winner!
  • Only Philippines-based with a valid email address can win tickets.

Fortunately, Yummy lives online So visit them for more of the easy and delicious recipes you’ve been loving receiving each month!

In the meantime… let’s reminisce together. I would love to hear your delicious stories!

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