Vegan Bicol Express Recipe ( Filipino Coconut Stew)

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Bicol express is a traditional spicy stew made with coconut milk, lots of chili peppers, and pork. It is typically a spicy Filipino dish. But today, we’ll talk about Vegan Bicol Express, which is a favorite of the Filipinos and many from all around the world!

cVegan Bicol Express tastes as impressive as the authentic Bicol express, and it’s much lighter and healthier. Even the prepping and cooking process is quick and straightforward. In substitution for pork, you use tofu, and the rest goes the same. You can cook this lip-smacking dish anytime you want and have it as a light breakfast, brunch, and dinner. Without any delay, let’s get right into it!

Why you’ll love this Vegan Bicol Express recipe?

There are a number of recipes by different food bloggers, chefs, etc., on the recipe of Vegan Bicol Express. But not all those recipes show the simplicity of cooking this tasty dish. In this recipe, you will learn how to cook one of the tastiest vegan stews just by using simple and budget-friendly ingredients. You will be amazed at how quick and easy it takes to cook this dish.

Better have your apron and stove ready because it’s going to be cooking time real soon!

Types of equipment needed

Large non-stick pan

Wooden spatula




Kitchen paper

Ingredients needed

1 block or 250 g of good quality Tofu

4 pieces of bird’s eye chilies

5 pieces of hot green chilies

3-4 cloves of garlic

A large clove of ginger

1 red onion

½ cup of Shiitake mushrooms (optional)

1 tbsp of garlic powder

1 tbsp of ginger powder

5 tbsp of cooking oil

Salt and pepper

For the batter

¼ cup of all-purpose flour

¼ cup of corn flour

½ tbsp of turmeric powder

A pinch of black pepper

½ tbsp of salt

100 ml of water

For the broth

1 can of pure coconut milk

½ cup of water

1 tbsp of vegetable base or paste (optional)

2 tbsp of soy sauce

1 tbsp of lemon juice

Cooking process

  • Take a small bowl and pour ½ a cup of water. Add the vegetable paste and stir it till it dissolves. Keep it aside for later use.
  • Now, for the tofu preparation, pat dry the tofu and dice it into equal squares and keep it aside.
  • Mix the batter ingredients with 100ml of water and add the tofu into the batter. Mix thoroughly.
  • Heat about 500-700ml of cooking oil and let it get boiling oil. Once you drip a slight batter into the oil and it floats immediately, you know your tofu is ready to be fried. Deep fry the tofu until it turns golden brown and crispy on the outside.
  • Now heat up the large pan to medium heat. Add 5 tbsp of cooking oil and toss in your diced onion, ginger, mushrooms, chilies, salt, and pepper and sauté them for 2-3 minutes. Add the diced garlic and sauté them for a good 1 minute until the garlic turns golden brown.
  • Now, lower the heat and add the fried tofu into the mixture. Stir gently. At this point, you can pour the vegetable paste liquid into the frying pan and stir them together.
  • Pour the coconut milk and give it a stir. Cover the pan with a lid and let it simmer for a few minutes.
  • You can remove the lid and add 2 tbsp of soy sauce to the stew. Next, season it with garlic and ginger powder, and you can add salt and pepper if you feel like it needs more. Let the stew cook for about 4-5 minutes and turn off the heat.
  • Serve it in a bowl and drizzle lemon juice and freshly diced green chilies to finish it off. Enjoy it with hot cooked rice, fresh bread, or even naan!


  • Shiitake mushroom is optional, and you can always skip it if you don’t have it in your kitchen pantry. You can also substitute it with button mushrooms.
  • If you are someone who does not fancy spice a lot, you can always go low-key with the chilies. You can reduce the number of chilies you are using or even remove the seeds inside the chilies for less heat.
  • Some people even add a drizzle of olive oil while cooking the stew in order to give that rich fatty taste. Since no pork is used for this dish, you can use olive oil, but it’s not mandatory.
  • If you don’t have vegetable paste or base in your pantry, you can even make use of vegetable stock. Don’t skip this step! You have to either use vegetable paste or stock to have a rich taste for your stew.

Health and Vegan Bicol Express

Do you know that tofu is naturally gluten-free and low in calories? Now you don’t have to worry at all about your diet with Vegan Bicol Express since it has low calories.

You all know how health-beneficial “coconut” is for the human body. They are perfect for the bones, rich in copper and iron, and also produce antioxidants.

Most of you get skeptical when it comes to spice. But little do you know that chilies have a good amount of vitamin-c and antioxidants. Studies even show that chili prevents some types of cancers, helps in weight loss, and lowers the risk of diabetes.

All the goodness of health and taste pleasures in a bowl!

To sum up

Vegan Bicol Express has been popular ever since. And now that people realize its simplicity to cook as well as the health benefits it gives, Vegan Bicol Express is becoming the talk of the town! And why not? The dish itself is effortless and easy to prepare. All you need is a few simple ingredients, 30-40 minutes of cooking time, and you’re good to go!

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