I guess most of the Filipinos living in the Philippines would never make this at home as it is readily available everywhere, with the market penetration of the two popular brands Andok’s and Baliwag, I guess you will never miss their shops where ever you go. I saw the growth of these establishments as both of them started near the place I lived. Baliwag set up their first shop in Project 8, Quezon City which is basically my home suburb and the Andok’s first shop is just nearby in the corner of Baler Street and West Avenue. During the 80’s this was a big phenomenon in Manila and sometimes on weekends you have to queue to get a freshly roasted chicken. On those early days it was sold by the street side in a big roasting charcoal oven, as you passed by the aroma of these chickens roasting is enough advertising to make you buy some.
I remember as a child we always buy this every weekend for lunch together with their lechon liempo and a big bottle of Coke. They chop it on premises and they give you condiments like atchara and lechon sauce, they then place it in a banana leaf lined plastic bag. As I walk home sometimes I can’t help my self grabbing some bits of those crunchy lechon liempo and upon reaching home it is then transferred to a plate and I always ask for the juices of that yummy chicken is poured onto my rice. It’s one of those simple feast that I always remember.
Lechon manok basically is the roast chicken of the Philippines but it’s quite unique as it is flavoured differently and cooked in a charcoal spit. Like any roast it is stuffed but the stuffing on lechon manok is not to be consumed but rather give a distinct flavour and aroma to the chicken. Usually lemon grass, loads of garlic and onion are used as the stuffing then the flavour comes from fish sauce and some calamansi juice. This results in a smoky, garlicky and lemony chicken that is very addictive to a Filipino palate.
Since we live outside the Philippines there is no way we can buy this, though we have roast chicken here the lechon manoks flavour is quite different and we sometimes miss it so we do make our own at home and here is my recipe.
- 1 whole chicken, around 1.6 - 1.8 kgs)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 2 head cloves garlic, minced
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- ⅓ cup calamansi juice or lime juice
- 1 dozen lemongrass bulbs, pounded
- 2 pcs bay leaves
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- freshly ground black pepper
- Clean chicken and dry it with paper towels. Rub chicken with salt inside and out.
- In a bowl combine together onions, garlic, freshly ground black pepper, sugar, calamansi juice, soy sauce and fish sauce.
- Rub chicken with the marinade inside and out then place in a zip lock bag together with any remaining marinade. Lock the bag and let it marinate overnight.
- Remove chicken from the fridge 3 hours before cooking and when ready stuff cavity with lemongrass and bay leaves. Reserve any remaining marinade.
- Grill chicken in a 200C preheated oven using its rotisserie function and cook for 1 hr and 20 minutes. If you don’t have the rotisserie function place chicken in a wire rack above a baking tray.
- Combine reserved marinade with 2 tbsp of oil then use together with the drippings it to baste the chicken every 20 minutes until cooked.
- Serve while hot with