Chicken Inasal

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Bacolod City chicken inasal. Elmer B. Domingo

The chicken inasal is a popular dish from the City of Bacolod, Philippines. Unlike the usual barbecue or grilled chicken that uses soy sauce, this dish uses different ingredients for its marinade and basting sauce that create a unique flavor. The smoked flavor added by cooking the meat on a hot charcoal grill imbibes the marinade and makes the dish tastier. This dish is also distinct for its yellowish color brought about by the application of achuete or annatto oil.

Unlike the chicken inasal found in other parts of the Philippines, like in Manila, the Bacolodnon chicken inasal is not served on banana leaf plates. Carinderias along the streets of Bacolod serve the inasal skewered on bamboo sticks right off the grill. This dish is best eaten with garlic rice and basting sauce.


Serves: 3-6 people

  • 1 whole chicken, cut into 6 parts (legs, wings, breasts)


  • 1 head garlic, macerated
  • 2 tbsps. chopped ginger
  • 1 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sinamak, (native coconut vinegar)
  • 10 pieces calamansi, extract the juice
  • 3 stalks tanglad (lemon grass), julienne
  • salt and coarsely ground pepper

Basting Sauce

  • large bamboo skewers
  • charcoal for grilling

How to Prepare

In a large bowl, place the garlic, ginger, vinegar, a small amount of sugar, tanglad, calamansi juice, salt, and pepper. Mix all the ingredients then add the chicken meat. Lightly rub the marinade on the meat. Place chicken in the chiller and let sit. After 30 minutes, turn the meat and let it sit for another 30 minutes. It is not ideal to marinate the meat overnight since the acid of the vinegar will completely break down the enzymes of the meat.

Meanwhile in a saucepan, over low fire, put margarine and annatto seeds. For few minutes, continue stirring until the margarine melts and the annatto seeds are well infused and have developed a deep orange color. Turn off heat then add a small amount of salt and pepper to taste.

After marinating the chicken, put several slits on the part near the bone to help with cooking the meat fully. Skewer the meat and cook over hot charcoal grill, skin side down, basting it once in a while. As much as possible do not turn the meat more than twice since the result will be drier meat.

Serve while hot together with steamed rice paired with grilled oysters and sinamak or soy sauce with calamansi and siling labuyo (red chili peppers).

  • You can use whole chicken and roast it in the oven. Make sure that when you marinate the meat, rub the mixture all over the chicken including in the cavity.



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