Thursday 16 February 2012


It is once again time to cook with my Filipino fellow foodies at the Kulinarya Cooking Club. Our hosts for this month, Abigail of My Nappy Tales and Marni of Kensington Kitchen chose a lovely theme for the month of February. The task is to cook a dish that reminds one of one's first love.

I seem to be too old to remember the first real love. So I just had to think long and hard but can only think of one, just the one. It just has to be my husband. I'm not saying this because he reads the blog but because it is the feeling that I remember well. 

My husband is not a Filipino but a pure Chinese from Malaysia. When he first visited the Philippines, he immediately fell in love with the cuisine. Among his favourites were crispy pata (crisp fried pork shank), bulalo (bone marrow soup), kari-kari (a stew with peanut gravy), grilled pork, clam soup, everything with ube (purple yam), mangoes, the list goes on and on. One dish, though, stands out. It is lechon manok. This is the poultry counterpart of roast pig. Lechon manok is Filipino rotisserie chicken cooked in an outdoor pit. As with all of our food, it is well seasoned and very tasty. Every time we visit home, there is a lechon manok on the dining table to welcome him.

Although cooked on a spit, lechon manok is so unlike rotisserie chicken. It has an aroma and taste that it quintessentially Filipino. I haven't yet come across a recipe that gives out the secret of the famous Andok's (a famous chain) lechon manok but this is my way of cooking it. What I'm going for is a very fragrant and extremely tasty chicken that is evocative of warm climes and rural settings. 

My method of cooking lechon manok is nothing like the usual way it is cooked. After seasoning the chicken, I wrap it in banana leaves and kitchen foil before roasting. The cavity is also stuffed with garlic, ginger and pandan leaves. This results to a highly scented, flavourful and succulent chicken. Instead of the usual liver sauce that it is usually served with I opted for a fresher, zestier sauce using his favourite fruit: mango. I hope people get to like this recipe because my husband wishes to open up a lechon manok chain in the future.

Ingredients for the roast chicken:

1 whole chicken
2 tbsps. light soy sauce
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tbsp. lime juice
1 tbsp. cooking oil
2 garlic cloves, smashed
a few slices of ginger
3 pandan leaves, knotted
banana leaves
aluminum foil

Mix the soy sauce, salt, garlic powder, turmeric and lime juice. Rub the mixture all over the chicken, including the cavity. Stuff the cavity with the garlic, ginger slices and pandan leaves. Leave to marinade for 30 minutes. 

Preheat the oven to 400° F / 200° C. 

Lay the banana leaves on top of a big sheet of aluminum foil. Lay the chicken on top of the banana leaves, rub with the 1 tbsp. of oil and wrap with the leaves then wrap tightly with the sheet of aluminum foil. 

Lay the wrapped chicken on a baking rack in a roasting tin. Add water to the tin so that the drippings don't burn.

Bake for 30 minutes. Lower the oven temperature to 350° F/ 180° C. 

Open the chicken parcel. Cook for a further 50-60 minutes, turning at half time to brown the other side of the chicken. Brush with the drippings occasionally.

The chicken can also be cooked in a lidded barbecue instead of the oven for the last hour. Use a grilling tray so the chicken doesn't stick to the grilles.

Let rest before chopping into serving pieces.

Ingredients for the mango-lime chilli sauce:

1 1/4 c. pure mango juice
juice and grated rind of 1 lime
5 tsps. white sugar
2 tsps. corn flour
1 tbsp. water
3 cloves of garlic, chopped
1/2 red fingr chilli, chopped
1 tsp. grated fresh ginger
4 tsps. fish sauce

Put the mango and lime juice and the sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir until the sugar melts. Disperse the corn flour in the water and add to the mixture in the saucepan to thicken. Leave to simmer for 2 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients, stir and bring back to a boil. Take off the heat and transfer to a jug or gravy boat to stop it cooking further. Serve with the chicken.

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  1. Wow! That list of foods is so yummy sounding! No wonder your husband fell in love with it all... The roast chicken sounds so flavorful and delicious! And looks great too :) Thanks for sharing!

  2. Wow, that lechon manok looks incredible! I especially love that mango chili sauce. Gonna be trying that with my chicken this summer. Thank you for sharing!

  3. i so agree with you... the scent of andoks is nowhere close to the smell of rotisserie chicken found here too. but your version sure looks delectable and your sauce... wow heavenly.
    happy reminiscing hihi

  4. This sounds great ! Always down to try a new chicken recipe. :-)

  5. I love your presentation! The dish looks so pretty and I bet it was very tasty as well. If your husband opens a chain I’ll be the first in line.

  6. This is a stunning chicken....thanks for posting! I would love to try looks amazing!

  7. I'm drown to this sauce... looks so delicious and I'm sure I'll dip in this sauce for every bite. You know how to entertain family or guests with the whole chicken! I need to learn cooking the whole chicken...

  8. I remember how I used to be a big fan of Andok's and Baliwag's Lechong Manok. when I was still in the Philippines. I must say that your version looks stunning and as tasty especially with the mango-lime chili sauce.

  9. Your lechong manok is to die for specially with the mango lime sauce. Super yummy!

  10. As a kid, I grew up literally running with chickens as my parents have a backyard chicken farming business. So just imagine how much chicken I ate during those days that for years I couldn't eat a single bite! Buong high school ko yata. Then lechong manok became a trend during my uni days. YUM! And my love for chicken came back :-)

    Your lechong manok looks delish and your mango-lime chilli sauce sounds fantastic!

  11. Nothing compares to Andoks but I bet you yours is a league of its own. Love the use of banana and pandan leaves. And love the mango sauce -- the sweetness surely complements the saltiness of the chicken. Next time I roast a chicken, I'll remember to add pandan leaves. Thank you for the inspiration

  12. I agree with you nothing beats the taste of Andoks or Baliwag lechon manok.
    The mango sauce sounds divine paired with the chicken..

    Here's to more lechon manok in your marriage!

  13. I love Andok's roast chicken, but you won me over with your dipping sauce! I've grown tired of the liver lechon sauce that comes with the chicken or lechon, so this is certainly something to look forward to! :)

  14. This looks absolutely delicious and reading the post got me in the mood for sunshine flavours, roll on British spring time, I'm totally making this :)

  15. I love your version of Lechong Manok !!! Thanks for sharing this recipe..adding this to my summer party menu ! =)

  16. the chicken is great ... the sauce is awesome ... can't ask for more Adora

  17. i'm really getting hungry looking at this lovely chicken!

    great recipe,Adora!

    thanks for sharing!

  18. I love this recipe, Adora and I'm bookmarking it.. That Lime-Mango Chili sauce looks so good!

  19. hi adora! kcc challenge or not, your posts always look so delicious, a feast for the eyes too! You know, I once was able to recreate the andok's lechon manok, unfortunately, I don't know how I did it, so I can't do it again, hehe!
    your an inspiration Adora, keep on posting! :)

  20. Thanks for the memories Adora! You're lucky to have fresh banana & pandan leaves in the UK. The banana leaves impart such a nice flavor to food (esp grilled)...I miss it. Your lechon manok looks perfect. Will try to make it soon.

  21. this is awesome, got to cook this and let my son PAPILLION taste it and I'm sure he'll love it...even the sauce is different... ♥♥♥

  22. yummYLicious bLoG" I Lov to eat!


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