Chicken Inasal - Have you heard about it? This grilled chicken recipe made popular by a giant fast-food chain in the Philippines is a crowd favorite. Young or old, rich or poor, this Ilonggo chicken recipe wins over the hearts of millions of Filipinos.
This is not your typical soy-sauce based barbecue recipe. Most Filipino grilled chicken recipes have a sweet, savory, and salty kick to them, while a traditional Chicken Inasal is a bit tangier, different in color, and a little sour.
Tips How to Make Chicken Inasal
The key to a perfect version of this dish lies in the marinade and the basting sauce. The traditional marinade ingredients are vinegar, chopped lemongrass, calamansi juice, chopped garlic, salt, pepper, and brown sugar. For the basting sauce, simply combine some annatto seeds, butter or margarine, salt, and pepper.
However, due to the abundance of acids in the marinade, it’s best not to marinate your chicken overnight as the acidity will break down the meat’s enzymes. 2-4 hours is enough for marinating, since you’re still going to be basting the chicken while it’s grilling.
Another tip for making a good Inasal is to only turn it twice while grilling. Failure to do so will result in drier chicken meat, and no amount of sauce can make up for that bad texture. If you’re minding your cholesterol levels, you can also take off the skin before cooking.
This recipe is usually served on a bamboo skewer stick with freshly-cooked rice. The annatto oil used for basting is also a condiment on this meal. Filipinos like drenching their rice with it before eating it with bare hands.
Although the chicken itself is quite tasty already, Filipinos still love dipping their food in sauces. For Chicken Inasal, sinamak is traditionally used in the Negrense region, while some prefer the simple calamansi and soy sauce dip.
How about you, what’s your favorite dipping sauce?
Chicken Inasal Recipe
- 1 kg chicken legs bone-in skin-on
- 1 head garlic minced
- 1 thumb-sized ginger crushed
- 1 tbsp brown sugar
- 1 cup coconut vinegar
- ½ cup lemon juice
- 2 stalks lemon grass crushed
- salt and pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp annatto seed
- ½ cup margarine
- In a large bowl, marinate the chicken legs with garlic, ginger, brown sugar, coconut vinegar, lemon grass, lemon juice, salt and pepper Transfer the marinate into a large resealable plastic and refrigerate over night.
- To prepare the abasting saucel, soak the annatto seed with ¼ cup water and let it sit for 15 minutes. In a small pot over medium heat, melt the butter then add the annatto liquid. Bring to boil then turn off the heat. Transfer into a small bowl and let it cool.
- Prepare the grill and take out the chicken from the refrigerator. Using a sharp knife, make a parallel shallow cut through the chicken skin. Put into the skewer. Grill the chicken for 20-25 minutes or until cook while generously basting with annatto oil.
- Transfer into a serving plate with hot steamed rice. Enjoy!