So what makes Inasal different from an ordinary chicken barbeque?
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.
Chicken Inasal for me really suit the taste of the Filipino customers. Unlike a typical grilled barbeque chicken, this dish has different ingredients and preparation. You'll be needing time and effort before you could taste the fruit of your hardship. Normally, the chicken meat will be marinade together with the ingredients for several hours or better if it's overnight.
Before Mang Inasal has catches the taste of the Filipino, Bacolod's Inasal was already been there. I was fascinated how could this variant of inasal different from that of Iloilo version until I tried to drop-by at Joel Torre's "JT’s Manukan Grille".
As per my conclusion, Bacolod Inasal has a slightly sour taste while the Iloilo Inasal is more into sweeter side. Ilonggo's put sugar on their ingredients. Although the are not the same but I like them both.
A version of the Iloilo's Chicken Inasal that I found at Wikipilipinas that you must try:
1 whole chicken, cut into 6 parts (legs, wings, breasts)
- 1 head garlic, macerated
- 2 tbsps. chopped ginger
- 1 tbsp. brown sugar (Note: this is optional if you want use the Bacolod way)
- 1/3 cup sinamak, (native coconut vinegar)
- 10 pieces calamansi, extract the juice
- 3 stalks tanglad (lemon grass), julienne
- salt and coarsely ground pepper
- 1/2 cup Star Margarine
- 1/4 cup atsuete (annatto seeds) oil
- salt and pepper
- large bamboo skewers
- charcoal for grilling
Preparation and Cooking Process:
- 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).
Photo from Flavours of Iloilo