Filipino Bicol Express

It has been weird in some ways not sharing a weekly recipe creation with all of you. Fortunately, however, my family was able to disconnect (well except for my kids and their darn devices) and take a week long road trip. Where you may ask? Tennessee, the whole state and wow was it a blast. I think, and I hope we got so much in during the week. I went down on a mission, a different one than my wife and probably kids for that matter, and that was to try some of the best barbecue and fried chicken I have ever had; hands down ever. In summary Rendezvous ribs and barbecue nachos, Gus’s Fried Chicken, Peg Leg Barbecue ribs (got the last rack and it was only noon (they opened at 11)), and Hatti B’s Nashville hot chicken. So with that said, I’m ready to share with you a great recipe, and one that has some heat to it, much like Hatti B’s!

Bicol Express is a Filipino dish that finally has some heat to it. Don’t get me wrong here, I love pretty much any Filipino dish that has come my way, but I’m always questioning in my mind ‘Do they not use any heat when cooking?’.

This is the perfect answer to that question. I love how the Filipino’s use vinegar, garlic, and lots of black pepper in some of their dishes, and that is right up my alley, but this recipe has me. It’s a stew with very simple ingredients. It’s comforting. It has the perfect heat, and is great served alongside rice.

Filipino Bicol Express Recipe
Filipino Bicol Express Recipe

Let’s get started.


  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1 lb pork belly, cut into 2 inch cubes
  • 4 tbsp roasted shrimp paste (this stuff stinks but brings such umami)
  • 1 whole onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 14 fresh chilies (Thai Bird, Indian Green Chile, or Serrano) of your choice, stems removed, chiles sliced in half
  • 2 cans of coconut milk
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • cooked rice, optional

Start by heating a medium sized pot (you will cook everything in this pot) on medium heat, then add the oil. Once the oil comes to temperature, add in the cubed pork belly.

Cook the pork belly, turning along the way, until all sides become browned.

Once the pork is browned, add in the onions, garlic, and ginger. Give a good stir, and continue to cook for about 3 minutes or so.

Next add in the shrimp paste. Turn on your vent on high as this stuff has some funk (good funk), and continue to stir. Toss in the chilies, stir again, then add in the coconut milk.

How to make Filipino Bicol Express
How to make Filipino Bicol Express

Bring this to a simmer, and cook for about 1 hour, on low, stirring along the way.

Before serving, taste and season with any salt or pepper.

Now you are ready to dig in. I like to serve with a small bowl of rice to the side, along with a soup bowl of the Bicol Express. This dish is rich, creamy, spicy, funky, and overall totally comforting and right up my alley. Don’t be scared of the chiles as you can eat around them. The chilies overall bring that subtle heat to the dish overall, but if you are searching for a bit of that chili punch when eating, go ahead and bite into them! Hope you enjoy, and it’s great to be back!

Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia

Gosh, I do love jalapeno poppers, don’t you? I love the actual surprise, not only with the piping hot cheese but the uncertainty if the jalapeno is going to be on the mild side, or the hot side. I prefer the hot side. With that said, Filipinos are notorious for making really awesome egg rolls, what they call lumpia, or lumpia shanghai.  My wife introduced me, or should I say her family introduced me to these styles of egg rolls. Their wrappers are crispy, and inside is an array of things such as ground pork, potatoes, small shrimps, and green beans.  This is how my in laws make them, and one that I often make for my family, only with this exception. The exception being the fact that I had four large fresh jalapeno peppers on my cutting board, just staring at me and wanting me to do something with them. That’s when I figured I would try out some new egg roll, or lumpia wrappers, and instead of going the classic lumpia way, I decided to stuff some and fry them up. Were they excellent? You bet your butt they were.

Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia Recipe
Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia Recipe

Let’s get started.


  • 1 package of egg roll wrappers
  • 1 lb ground pork, cooked and cooled
  • 4 jalapenos, stems removed, cored and seeds removed
  • 1 russet potato, skins removed, cubed and cooked until just tender
  • 2 cups of cooking oil (I use canola)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste

Gently fold the cooked, cubed potatoes into the cooled pork mixture. Season with salt and pepper, and give a gentle stir.

Take one cored jalapeno pepper, and using a small spoon, stuff the meat mixture, gently packing it in, into the jalapeno. Fill it to the top, and repeat with the remaining peppers.

Reserve the remaining meat mixture for making more lumpia, or use more jalapenos and repeat the process with however many you would like. Again, I only went with four as I knew I would be the only one eating the ones with peppers.

Next, take one egg roll wrapper and lay out with the point in front of you, can towards you.

Place the stuffed jalapeno pepper, about a quarter way, in the middle, closest to you. Fold the sides over, take the point closest to you, and begin to roll, bringing in the sides if necessary. Refer to this image if needed. Roll just about 90% to the top, then brush the point with the beaten egg. Roll and seal.

How to make Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia
How to make Jalapeno Stuffed Lumpia

Do the same with any remaining pork mixture, using about 1/2 cup per lumpia.

Heat the oil in a small pan, and bring to a medium heat. Once heated, add a few of the lumpia and cook until the wrappers are a golden brown.

Remove the lumpia with some tongs or chopsticks, and place them onto a paper towel lined plate to remove any excess oil.

Continue cooking the remaining lumpia.

Let these cool for a few minutes before digging in. I plated mine on a bed of lettuce, sliced in half to expose the delicious pork, and showered the plate with some roasted peanuts.

Grab a cold beer or glass of wine, and dig into these jalapeno stuffed lumpia. I hope you enjoy!

Lumpia Shanghai Pizza

A couple of weeks ago, my wife woke up on Saturday and said “I totally want some egg rolls today”.  Now many of you might not get overly excited about that, but I was actually pleased to hear that. I’ve had plenty of egg rolls in my time, however when I first met my wife, she turned me onto a whole different style of egg roll that she grew up with in the Filipino household. This style of egg roll is totally out of this world, but so pleasing to the taste. I decided to make nearly 30 Filipino lumpia shanghai, and I had some mixture left over to spare. I knew exactly what I was going to do with that mixture; make a pizza out of it.

Lumpia Shanghai Pizza

If you have never had lumpia before, it’s a must make, and it is especially awesome in a garlic and vinegar spooning/dipping sauce.

Let’s get started.

  • 1/2 lbs Ground pork (I grind my own pork shoulder)
  • 1/2 cups uniform cut, fresh green beans
  • 1/2 cups uniform cut russet potatoes, about 1/4 inch cubes
  • 1 1/2  tsp of fresh cracked pepper
  • 1/2  tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 cup baby shrimp, thawed, and rinsed
  • 1 batch of your favorite pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup plain corn chips, broken
  • light corn meal

Begin by mixing your pork in a large pot. Add in the green beans, potatoes, shrimp, and salt and pepper. Mix well.

Shape your pizza dough into about a 16 inch round.

If you are cooking in an oven, preheat a pizza stone for 30 minutes at 500 degrees.

How to make Lumpia Shanghai Pizza

Shower corn meal onto a pizza peel. Add the pizza dough, and reshape the pizza.

Spoon on the pizza sauce and slather it to lightly cover. Add on the cheese, then as if you were using uncooked Italian pork sausage, start taking tablespoons and adding dollops onto the top of the cheese.

Place in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pizza is cooked to your liking, but the pork cooked through.

I’ve been using my Kettle Pizza, so this pizza took about 6 minutes to cook in my grill. I highly recommend it.

Regardless, when the pizza is cooked, cut into slices, and shower with the corn chips for that crispy egg roll texture.

This pizza was everything awesome about having lumpia shanghai, but in pizza form. What’s not to love about that! What I should have done to make even better was to drizzle on some of that garlic and vinegar mixture. Next time. Next time… Hope you enjoy!


Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

I often think of making Filipino cuisine on a more regular basis, much like when I make Mexican food, or Thai for that matter.  The reality is that I have not been exposed to many of the diverse dishes that Filipino food offers. Now sure, I’ve rocked out many of the go to comfort dishes such as tinola, arroz caldo, lechon manok, crispy pork belly, giniling, and my wife and kids favorite, lumpia shanghai. As you can tell, I’ve done plenty, however this year, I want to be able to explore more cuisine and get some lessons from my father-n-law, who is from the best part of the culinary parts of the Philippines, the town known as Pampanga.  With all of this said, there is one go to dish that my wife, and kids always agree, and that is grilled pork chops. That’s right, it’s not Filipino (just yet), but if I were to ask my wife what she wanted for dinner, the default almost is always ‘pork chops and rice’. I’m down for that, and that’s why I turned the boring pork chop into something magical; the Filipino adobo pork chop.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

If you have never tried Filipino adobo, well, in my opinion it is a must. My wife grew up eating Adobo chicken, so you can pretty much use the basic marinade (which is amazing) and use it with probably any protein.

Let’s get started.

  • 5 pork chops, bone-in, medium cut
  • 1/2 cup dark soy sauce
  • 6 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp Filipino vinegar, or white vinegar
  • 1 tbsp black peppercorns
  • 5 whole bay leaves, fresh or dried
  • Cooked rice

Combine all of your ingredients and place in a large, sealable bag. Seal, and swish everything around. Place in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or my preference, overnight.

You can bake these if you want, but I preferred to grill the pork chops just to get some smokey flavor introduced.

Pork Adobo Ingredients

When you are ready, heat your coals in your grill until they become nice and white.  During this time, remove the pork adobo from the refrigerator and let them come up almost to room temperature, or at least get some of the chill off of them.

Lightly oil the grill grate.

Add the pork chops to the grill, removing any peppercorns that might stick to them, if you desire, and cook until they are just a bit under temp, turning over along the way to get some nice grill marks. Once cooked to your liking, remove and place them onto a plate.

Let these rest a few minutes before serving.

Filipino Adobo Pork Chops

The result is awesome. Now generally you would stew this within the marinade, however not for this guy. The result is very similar to what you would get with the stewed version, but with just some great smokiness from the coals. It’s sweet, slightly sour, and slightly spicy. A winning combination in my book. Give these a shot if you are looking to explore a bit in your kitchen and outdoor grilling. Hope you enjoy!