Bicol Express

Bicol Express is one of the popular dishes in the Philippines, natively known as “sinilihan” in Bicol. It is a spicy pork stew cooked in coconut milk and loads of green chilis.

Bicol Express is named after a train in Bicol Region, which is known for its spicy food. The train travels from Naga (Bicol) to Manila, but I definitely do not know why it derived its name from it. Bicol is popular not only from its perfectly coned mountain – Mount Volcano (Mount Mayon), but also pili nuts and its spicy food.

How to Make Bicol Express?

Making Bicol Express is simple and straightforward. Start by heating up cooking oil in skillet or pot with hot oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is hot, saute onions until translucent and add garlic until it brings out its nice-sweet aroma. Then add 2 tablespoons ginger as it eliminates the “lansa” of the meat. Cook cubed pork belly until it turns light brown. At this stage, add in coconut milk, red and green chilis, shrimp paste and black pepper in any order. If you preferred it to be in a more spicy side, you can always add more chilis. Cover the pot and let it boil.

If the sauce has thickened and the pork is not yet tender, you can always add half a cup of water until the pork has cooked through. You know Bicol Express is ready if the pork is tender and the sauce has thickened enough for your liking. Cook it longer to achieve a bit oily sauce.

You may also like my other Bicol recipes like Laing (Dried Taro Leaves with Coconut), Adobong Bicol, Maruya, or my other version of Bicol Express with Bagoong.

Bicol Express Recipe


2 tablespoons cooking oil

1 onion, medium

4 cloves garlic

500 grams of pork belly

2 red thai chilis or more

4 jalapenos or more

2 cups of coconut milk

1-2 tablespoons shrimp paste

black pepper to taste


  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet or pot over medium-high heat. Saute onions until translucent, add the garlic and cook for about half a minute. Then add the ginger, continue to saute for a minute until its aromatic.
  2. Add in the pork belly and cook until its light brown in colour.
  3. Add in the red chilis, 2 cups of coconut milk, jalapenos, shrimp paste and black pepper.
  4. Lower the heat to low. Cover and let it cook for several minutes until the pork is tender and the coconut milk sauce begins to thicken and turns a bit oily. If you want it more oily, cook for another 5 minutes or so.

Serve and enjoy this Bicol Express with your family and friends!


  • Add more red and green chilis if you preferred it to be spicier.
  • Cook Bicol Express with ginger to eliminate the “lansa” of the meat.
  • If you don’t have shrimp paste at home, you can substitute it to “balaw” or simply add fish sauce.
  • When pork is not yet tender and the sauce has reduced, you can always add half a cup of water at a time until the pork is cooked through.
  • Uncooked shrimp is not always available abroad, so “guisado bagoong” can also be used for this recipe (although it will change the colour of the sauce).


Did you make this Bicol Express? Please leave us a comment below.


Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)

Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread) is a soft, fluffy sweet bun with sweetened coconut filling. It could be eaten as a snack or dessert. It is perfect with your favourite coffee, tea, unsweetened hot chocolate, or on its own!

This coconut bread is one of the most common Filipino bread, available in local bakeries. It is originated from Spain, but I have learned that this is also a Honduran staple. Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread) is a plump dinner roll serve alongside a meal of rice, beans, and fried plantains in Honduras. In Spain and in the Philippines, it is enjoyed as a snack or dessert. Are you ready to make your own Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)?

Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread) Recipe



4 cups of flour (plain, all-purpose)

¾ cup of sugar

¼ ounce (2 ¼ teaspoons) instant dry yeast

1 ¼ cup lukewarm milk

½ cup of vegetable oil

½ teaspoon salt  


2 cups desiccated coconut

¾ cup brown sugar unpacked (In this recipe, I used white sugar)

1 cup milk (fresh, whole, coconut)

3 tablespoons butter

½ tablespoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon flour, dissolved in ¼ cup milk  


1 egg, beaten

1 tablespoon water

How to Make Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)?


1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.  

2. In a large bowl, sift together the flour and sugar. Add the dry yeast and mix.  

3. Add the lukewarm milk vegetable oil, and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until it sticks together and forms a dough.  

4. Turn the dough on a clean, flat surface and knead for 5 minutes. Apply some oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking. Continue kneading until the dough gets less tacky and easier to handle.  

5. Grease the bowl and place the dough in. Cover with a plastic wrap or clean kitchen cloth. Leave it to rise for 30 minutes to an hour, or until the dough has doubled its size.  

6. MAKE FILLING: In a pan, combine desiccated coconut, brown sugar, coconut milk, water, butter, and vanilla extract. Bring to a simmer over low heat. Cook until liquid is mostly absorbed. Remove filling from heat and allow to slightly cool.  

7. Gently punch the dough and tip it to a flat surface. Roll the dough into a log and cut in half. Then cut each roll into two. Divide each log into 6 equal parts for a total of 24 pieces of dough.  

8. Cover the dough pieces with a kitchen towel and let rest for at least 3-5 minutes.  

9. Flatten each dough with the palm of your hand. Hold the flattened dough in the curve of your hand and add 1 tablespoon of coconut filling. Pinch the corners together to fully enclose the filling.  

10. Arrange the filled dough, pinched side down on a baking sheet about an inch apart.  

11. Poke small holes in the centre of each filled-dough with a fork. Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let them rest for another 20-30 minutes.  

12. Bake in a 340 degrees F or degrees C for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush with egg wash. Return to oven and bake for another 4 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve this Pan de Coco with family and friends!


  • When kneading, avoid adding more flour or the bread will be too dense and crumbly.
  • If the dough is too sticky, apply some oil on your hands to prevent the dough from sticking.
  • If the dough is too dry, add some oil to the dough.
  • If you prefer filling to be more compact and sticky, add 1 tablespoon flour dissolved in ¼ cup milk after the liquid has been absorbed.
  • If the dough didn’t rise, the yeast could be expired and no longer active.

Did you make this Pan de Coco (Coconut Bread)? Please leave us a comment below.


Vegetable Curry

Vegetable Curry is an Indian dish that is mainly composed of potatoes, chickpeas or lentils, and most especially spices. It is healthy, easy, delicious and so flavourful that even a non-vegetable eater in your family would love to have it again.

Believe me, when I say, a person who doesn’t love to eat vegetables would love to eat this dish again because my husband did. This holy week, my family is in a strict “NO MEAT WEEK”. So starting today, we will be just eating vegetables. We’ll be having fish on Black Saturday though, but for 5 whole days, nobody in my family is allowed to eat meat. We’re abstaining from meat for penance. They all agreed to this policy, a good reminder and awareness of Holy Week, and also a good way to detox for health purposes.

Vegetable Curry Recipe


4 cups water

2 lb. potato (905g), cut into 1-inch cubes

2 tablespoons salt, for water

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 medium onion, diced

4 cloves garlic, minced

2 cm pieces ginger, minced

2 teaspoons cumin

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

4 teaspoons curry powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

14 oz diced tomato (395g),

1 can 15 oz chickpeas (425g),

1 can, drained 15 oz peas (425g),

1 can, drained or frozen peas

14 oz coconut milk (395g), 1 can

How to Make Vegetable Curry?


1. In a large pot, bring to a boil the potatoes with well-salted water. Reduce to heat to simmer, cover and cook for about 12 minutes or until the potatoes are fork-tender. Once cooked, drain the potatoes and set them aside.

2. Return the pot to the stove and add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil. Saute onion, garlic and ginger over medium heat until the onion is translucent, about 3-5 minutes.

3. Add the spices: cumin, cayenne, curry powder, salt and pepper. After stirring, add the tomatoes, chickpeas, and peas.

4. Pour in the coconut milk then increase the heat to medium-high. Bring to as simmer before adding the potatoes back to the pot. Reduce the heat to low and cook everything together for another 3-5 minutes, making sure that all the ingredients are nicely combined.

Serve and enjoy Vegetable Curry to your family and friends!

Did you make this Vegetable Curry? Please leave us a comment below.


Laing (Dried Taro Leaves with Coconut)

Here is another great Filipino dish called “Laing” that is composed of dried Taro leaves and coconut milk. It is originally from the province of Bicol. I’m hoping that this dish will get an international credit in the future.

Laing is a popular dish in the Philippines mainly served during lunch or dinner with steamed white rice. It was first introduced in the Bicol Province where my Mom was born. I miss my Mom’s version of Laing. She actually cooks it the way my grandmother did, but I found an easy way and that’s what I’m going to share with you today.

I remember how we bought fresh taro leaves in the wet market and cut those leaves by hand. First, take the leaves out of the spines and cut them into smaller pieces. Some take the leaves out to dry as in “desert dry” otherwise it may cause your tongue and throat to itch. Is laing best cooked with fresh or dried taro leaves? The answer is yes, laing is best cooked with dried taro leaves.   Here in New Zealand, I buy dried taro leaves in a pack, which is already cut into small pieces (no stalks included). I do remember eating laing with stalks on. Some people don’t include them in their cooking just like my Mom, but others have stalks in their dish which is also good.

Laing (Dried Taro Leaves with Coconut) Recipe


1 pack (3.5 ounces) or 100 grams dried taro leaves

6 cups or 3 cans coconut milk

2 cups or 1 can coconut cream

1/2 cup shrimp paste (bagoong)

1/2 pound or 1 kilogram pork shoulder thinly sliced

5 to 7 pieces red chillies

1 medium yellow onion sliced

1/2 cup sliced ginger

8 cloves garlic crushed  

How to Make Laing (Dried Taro Leaves with Coconut Milk)


1. In a cooking pot, combine 6 cups or 3 cans of coconut milk, ½ lb pork, ½ cup shrimp paste, ½ cup sliced ginger, 1 medium yellow onion, and 8 cloves crushed garlic in a cooking pot. Heat the pot and let boil.

2. Once it starts to boil, gently stir to mix the ingredients. Cover the pot and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. Stir once in a while to prevent the ingredients from sticking and burning on the bottom of the cooking pot.

3. Add the dried taro leaves on top. Low the heat. Do not stir. Let it stay until the leaves absorb the coconut milk. This takes about 20 to 30 minutes. Gently push the leaves down so that it can absorb more coconut milk.

4. Once the leaves absorb the coconut milk, gently stir the leaves and then continue to cook for another 10 minutes.

5. Pour the coconut cream into the cooking pot. Add the red chillies and stir. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes until it boils.

6. Transfer to a serving dish together with steamed white rice.

Share and enjoy this Laing (Dried Taro with Coconut Milk) with family and friends!

10 Top Benefits of Taro Leaves:  

1. Acts as an antioxidant to prevent cancer.

2. Boosts the immune system.

3. Keeps your eyes healthy.

4. Reduces your cholesterol level.

5. Aids in weight loss.

6. Controls blood pressure.

7. Helps the development of the fetal brain and nervous system.

8. Helps prevent anaemia.

9. Reduces wrinkly skin.

10. Increases sperm production.     

Did you make this Laing (Dried Taro Leaves with Coconut Milk)? Please leave us a comment below.


MindFood: Sticky Pork Belly with Steamed Coconut Buns



1 kg pc. boneless pork belly with skin on
1/4 cup light soy sauce
2 Tbsp black vinegar
1/4 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
2 Tbsp grated ginger
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 star anise
1 cinnamon stick
3 spring onions, cut into 10 cm lengths
3 long strips of orange rind


400 ml can coconut milk
4 cups self raising flour
2 tsp sesame oil
2 tsp toasted sesame seeds, to garnish
Spring onions, Asian pickle to serve



1. Choose a thick, meaty piece of boneless pork belly, with even layers of fat. Preheat oven to 160C. Using a sharp knife, slice pork belly in half. Score the skin of the pork belly in a crisscross pattern. Sprinkle with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, then massage into the grooves.

2. Meanwhile, in a bowl, combine soy sauce, black vinegar, chicken stock, brown sugar, honey, ginger and garlic. Mix well to combine.

3. Heat a large cast iron oven-proof pan over a medium-high heat. Place pork belly skin side down, and cook for 3-4 minutes or until browned. There is no need for oil as the fat will render out the skin. Turn over so the skin is up, then remove from heat. Pour over the combined soy sauce mixture, along with star anise, cinnamon, spring onions and orange rind.

4. Cover and transfer to the oven. Bake for 2- 2 1/2 hours or until tender. Uncover and cook for a further 30 minutes or until the glaze is reduced and the pork is golden brown.


1. To make the coconut buns, place the coconut milk into a medium sized bowl. Sift in self-raising flour and season with salt.

2. Mix lightly to combine into a soft dough.

3. Divide into 12 small portions, or 8 if you prefer them larger.

4. Place onto small baking paper squares, or in large muffin cases. Brush with sesame oil, then sprinkle with sesame oil, then sprinkle with sesame seeds.

5. Fill a wok or large saucepan with water. Allow it to come to a rapid boil, then place buns into a steaming basket with a lid. Ensure there is room for the buns to expand.

6. Steam on a high heat for 10-12 minutes or until puffed and cooked.


Slice pork and serve with coconut buns, spring onions, Asian pickle and extra marinade.


To make Asian pickle, combine 1/2 a small daikon and 1 carrot, finely julienned. Heat 1/2 cup white wine vinegar with 1/4 cup sugar and 1/2 tsp salt to dissolve. Pour over daikon and carrot. Toss to combine. Leave to marinate for 1 hour.

Serve and enjoy Sticky Pork Belly with Steamed Coconut Buns with family and friends!

Disclaimer: This is not my original recipe. 

Source: MindFood


Ginataang Pork with Kalabasa and Green Beans

This recipe is timely for people who are in the US, as it’s actually Autumn there, meaning there are lots of pumpkins! But let me just clarify that pumpkin is not kalabasa… kalabasa in english is Squash. Some of my followers in my Instagram account asked me, what is a kalabasa and what is the substitute they can use?

If you are not in the Philippines, you can use butternut squash as a substitute. Funny thing is, I used pumpkin for this recipe so technically my title is wrong. The inside of the butternut squash is visually the same as pumpkin. Pumpkins are watery, less creamy and less sweeter compared to the Philippines kalabasa, which is originally from the Tropical America. It is easy to assumed that our kalabasa came from Spain.

Ginataan or alternatively spelled as “guinataan” is a Filipino word which refers to food cooked with coconut milk.

I apologize that the pork in this dish is not seen in the photo. My bad!

Let’s start cooking Ginataang Pork with Kalabasa and Green Beans


1/2 kg. pork belly, chopped
½ small Butternut squash or kalabasa cubed (or in this case, pumpkin)
23 pieces long green beans Baguio beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1 medium onion minced
4 cloves garlic crushed and chopped
2 tablespoons fish sauce
ground black pepper to taste
2 can coconut milk
3 tablespoons cooking oil
1 cup water


1. Heat oil in a cooking pot.

2. Sauté onion for 1 minute in medium heat, add garlic and continue to cook until the onion softens. Don’t burn the garlic.

3. Put chopped pork into the pot. Cook for 2 minutes. Add 1 cup water and simmer to boil, about 30 minutes or until the pork is cooked, brown and little bit fried. Add water if necessary.

4. Pour the coconut milk into the cooking pot.

5. Cover the pot. Continue to cook in medium heat for 45 minutes. Note: add more water if necessary.

6. Add butternut squash or kalabasa. Cover the pot and cook for 10 minutes.

7. Add green beans. Cover the pot and continue to cook for 3-5 minutes.

8. Season with ground black pepper and fish sauce

9. Share Ginataang Pork with Kalabasa and Green Beans with family and friends!

If you have tried this recipe, please tag #asliceofkate so I could feature you in my next post or story. Please kindly leave a feedback, it would be much appreciated. Thank you!


Korean Coconut Fried Chicken

Have you tried Korean Coconut Fried Chicken? This is so great with simple garlic mayo, tartare sauce, Korean BBQ sauce, or spicy apricot sauce. I guess any sauce would be nice! But I definitely guaranteed, if this chicken is marinated and fried properly, this is the bomb!

My family is fond of BTS and it all started when we saw DNA, Serendipity and Mic Drop videos. My little boy would always ask me to play these songs to cast on our TV so he could dance with it. His very first favourite was Tae Hyung, and then JHope, now he’s most favorite is Suga! He would usually copy their fashion, their style and the way they perform! Suga’s rapping style is his thing now!!! He’s so cute!

You may also want to try my other Korean recipes: Japchae, Tteokbokki and Twisted Korean Doughnuts (Kkwabaegi).

Anyway, BTS had a commercial of this Korean Coconut Fried Chicken ASMR, and we can’t just watch it. Just listen to how yummy and crunchy that sounds. We would love to try it for ourselves. That’s why I came up with this recipe so that everyone outside Korea can taste what BTS had just enjoyed in this commercial.

Korean Coconut Fried Chicken Recipe


1 1⁄2 pounds (680 grams) chicken tenders or chicken breast
vegetable oil (for frying)


3 cloves garlic, minced
1 medium onion, minced
1 thumb ginger, minced
1-2 teaspoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons sugar
pepper and salt
1/2 cup coconut milk


1 cup cornstarch
1 cup coconut flakes or desiccated coconuts
1 cup Panko crumbs or breadcrumbs
1 egg

How to Make Korean Coconut Fried Chicken?


1. TO MARINATE: Marinate the chicken with garlic, onion, ginger, smoked paprika, pepper, salt, sugar and coconut milk. Mix and marinate for 2 hours or overnight.

2. TO CRUMB: Put cornstarch, eggs and coconut milk mixture, and coconut flakes and Panko crumbs in 3 separate bowls (one for cornstarch, one for eggs and coconut milk mixture, one for coconut flakes and Panko crumbs mixture).

3. First, drench chicken in cornstarch, shake off excess. Place chicken in egg and coconut milk mixture, then roll it in coconut flakes and panko crumbs mixture.

4. TO FRY: Heat oil in a frying pan. When ready, cook the chicken in oil, don’t over crowd.

5. Deep fry the chicken until golden brown or until cook through.

Serve and enjoy this Korean Coconut Fried Chicken with family and friends!


Did you make this Korean Coconut Fried Chicken? Please leave us a comment below.


Coconut Beef Stew


1 tablespoon olive oil
2 onions, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons paprika
2 tablespoons cumin
1 tablespoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons tomato paste
1 14oz can coconut milk
2 pounds beef chuck steak, cut into cubes
4 large Yukon gold potatoes, cut into chunks
2 cups carrots, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
1 Tbsp natural yoghurt
chopped parsley or mint


1. In a heated pan with oil,  cook onions for 5 minutes or until soft. Add garlic and spices and stir for one minute. Stir in tomato paste. Transfer to a pot and add coconut milk. Bring to a boil and add beef.

2. Cook for 1 hour, and add potatoes and carrots.

3. Cover and cook until meat and vegetables are tender.

4. Sprinkle each serving with yoghurt and parsley or mint.

5. Serve and enjoy with family and friends!

Source: Framed Cooks


Salmon in Coconut Milk

1/2 kg. salmon fins
1 bundle asparagus
1 bundle bak choy
1 can coconut milk
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. ginger
3 tbsp. fish sauce
salt to taste
oil to saute
1. Heat oil in frying pan. Saute onion, garlic and ginger. 
2. Pour in coconut milk.
3. Put in bak choy and asparagus. 
4. When the coconut is about to boil, put in the salmon.
5. Add fish sauce and salt to taste.
6. Let it boil until vegetables are cooked.
7. Share and enjoy with family and friends!!!
My Own Recipe!

Coconut Macaroons


14 ounces (about 400 grams) Sweet Shredded Coconut (or Desecated Coconut)
3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 pieces raw eggs
14 ounces condensed milk


1. Place the butter in a big bowl and cream using a fork
2. Add-in the brown sugar and mix well
3. Add the eggs and condensed milk then stir/beat until all ingredients are blended
4. Put-in the Sweetened Shredded Coconut and distribute evenly with the other ingredient in the mixture
5. In a mold (with paper cups if possible), place 1 tablespoon of the mixture on each of the cups
6. Pre-heat oven at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for 10 minutes
7. Bake the Coconut Macaroon mixture for 30 minutes or until color turns golden brown.