The recipe you see here is the original recipe but I’ve put in notes based on what we actually did. Cooking we believe is all about taste so you’re not required to follow the recipe. We think it’s more important that you like the taste of what you’re cooking.
I never liked dishes in coconut milk before until I went to my dad’s hometown in Bicol. There I finally decided to try the bicol express which is quite different vs. how its made here in Manila. In Naga, it was all fresh alamang in gata with sili. I liked it so much that I asked my mom and Espie to cook that for me several times with no success. That is until I tried the bicol express in Abe where it was made just with vegetables. When she tasted it, my mom finally knew how to make the bicol express the Naga-way. We then chanced upon this recipe in Yummy magazine and finally got to try making it on our own.
2 tablespoons corn oil (for our purpose we used canola oil because that’s what we use at home)
1 onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced (we like garlic a lot so we used more than 2 cloves, this will depend on you)
1 tablespoon ginger, julienned
200 grams white shrimp, peeled and deveined, with tails left on (this depends on how much time you have, for our purpose, we left even the heads on and left them unpeeled — we also used tiger shrimp — big ones)
1 piece finger pepper (we like it spicy so we put more than one)
1 to 1/4 cups coconut milk (we used 3 coconuts)
1 bundle morning glory, use only the tender parts and some stems (kangkong — so that’s what it’s called in english!!)
2 eggplants, roasted, skins peeled off (Espie got this part except for leaving the tails on — it looks better with the tails on for presentation purposes like it does in the magazine)
2 teaspoons fish sauce or more to taste
1/4 teasoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 In a medium saute pan, heat oil. Add onion and cook until translucent. Stir i the garlic and the ginger.
2 Add the white shrimps, saute until they turn pink. Stir in the finger pepper.
3 Pour in the coconut milk; stir. Add the kangkong and simmer for 2 to 3 minutes.
4 Add the eggpland and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes. Season with the fish sauce and black pepper. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving plate, and serve.
Tip: Other vegetables like baguio beans or squash can be thrown into this dish too.
It turned out great except for presentation.. That’s something we’ve got to work on. But I have to say that the taste was amazing. I think that the trick was to use 3 coconuts so that you can really taste the gata. It was really, really, really good! We rate this a 5/5!
Recipe taken from Yummy Magazine, May 2009 ed., p. 41