Friday, January 30, 2009

Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) and Lechon Sauce

This is another special occasion dish in the Philippines. However, seeing as it's so easy, it's also great for weeknight dinners.

Lechon manok is quite ubiquitous in the Philippines. It is the Philippines' version of rotisserie chicken, chicken on a spit, roasting and spinning away. Walking down a street, it would not be unusual to see lechon-manok stalls around every corner or so.

There used to be a lechon manok craze when we were still living in Manila, but sadly, I never got to try a lechon manok then. The usual verbotens about buying street food and so on and so forth.

Nonetheless, I did get to try versions of lechon manok later and it was a very familiar-tasting chicken, with, I suppose, the usual flavour suspects.

Lechon Manok

Three Little Piggies Chickies in a citrus-soy sauce bath

First, the marinade. Two things: soy sauce and kalamansi juice. Well, in this instance, we used lime and lemon juices, because unlike some lucky people, we don't actually have ready access to kalamansi.

After marinading overnight, they were ready.

The only other thing we had to do was stuff the cavity with lemongrass. I also placed the chickens on a rack on a baking sheet.

Then into the oven to roast until done.

Whole chickens always look funny and amusing to me. Look, they look like they're wearing black shoes!

Lechon Sauce
JS made a whackload of lechon sauce in anticipation of lechon (roast pig).

In the event that our lechon arrives, I thought homemade lechon sauce might be a treat, instead of the usual bottled Mang Tomas sarsa (sauce).

I started with some chicken livers, boiling them and mashing them.

Into a pot went some onions. After sweating the onions, I added some garlic and the boiled chicken livers, mashing them while I'm at it.

I added some cider vinegar, brown sugar -- and because it was still too thick, a liquid. I had run out of stock but I didn't want to use water so I used a cup of ginger ale instead.

I added a bay leaf to simmer in the pot. I also added one birds-eye pepper and seasoned to taste.

Just to get the sauce smoother, I even used the blender. This is a very rare occasion indeed, as I -- and TS can attest to this -- hate the blender.

Sorry for the blurry blender shot. I really don't like liver and the smell of it being liquified was too much to bear! I had to hurry in there, hold my breath, press the button on the camera, and get out.

My lechon sauce: Smooth, savory and a touch sweet. It was good, but it was all for naught, since there was no lechon!

Read all about our Starry, Starry... Pig? adventure -- aka, the Case of the Missing Pig.

We served lechon manok & lechon sauce during our New Year's Eve party:
A Starry, Starry Night in Vancouver -- Evoking the Philippine Christmas Spirit

[eatingclub] vancouver Filipino food
Mama's Ampalaya (Bitter Melon)
Faux Kamote-Que
Philippine-Style Chicken "BBQ"
Fried Hasa Hasa (Mackerel)
"Savory" Chicken Wings
Sinamak (Chile-infused Vinegar)
Pan-roasted Halibut w/ Fava Beans, Potato-Onion Cakes & Bagoong Butter Sauce
Bulalo & Bangus: an even simpler Filipino meal
Baked Tahong (Mussels)
Adobo Kangkong (Adobo Water Spinach)
Oyster Torta (Oyster Omelette)
Chicken Tinola (Chicken Soup w/ Green Papaya & Pepper Leaves)
(Chinese) Roast Pork Belly / Lechon
Tilapia wrapped in Banana Leaves
Pork Belly, Two Ways
Chicken Adobo
Salabat (Ginger Tea)
Lechon Manok (Philippine Roast Chicken) & Lechon Sauce
"Chinese Adobo" Clams and Oysters
Bistek (Citrus Beef with Caramelized Onions)
Beef Kaldereta (Beef Stew with Bell Peppers)
Atsara (Green Papaya Pickle)
Sardinas na Bangus (Milkfish in the style of Sardines) and Pressure Cooker Fear


  1. How I wish I lived in Vancouver and closer you! This looks amazing and the addition of lemongrass is great! I love that you went and made your own sarsa - homemade is always better than Mang Tomas :)

  2. Hee, I think Joelen and I will argue cos I love Mang Tomas. You can amp up the flavor of the sauce by roasting the livers as you would the chickens (or nonexistent pig :) Looks yummmmmy!

  3. make that 3 ppl having dinner at your house :) love this! try making it with smaller size chickens too for a quicker meal hehe

  4. Wow, it looks so good and exotic! The chicken skin turned out beautiful.

  5. Wow, those chicken look so brown & gorgeous!

  6. Your chicken looks delicious. I love roast chicken because it's simple, comforting, and always a fabulous crowd pleaser....with LEFTOVERS!! God bless the leftovers.

    When you marinated the chicken, was it just the 3 ingredients? And what kind of ratio did you use of soy to citrus? I want to TRY!!!!

  7. I love the lemongrass stuffed inside the chicken. Gives me a great idea for a new roast chicken recipe combining my recipe for Vietnamese lemongrass chicken.

  8. oh wow, there is nothing i don't like about this - crispy skin, lemongrass out the wazoo. oh i can just smell it in the oven now. oh and that chicken liver "sauce" - are you kidding ME?

  9. Filipino styled roast chicken looks really good. They looked so perfectly browned and succulent.

  10. The chicken looks perfect. I love lechon sauce and always wondered how it was made. Thanks for the recipe.

  11. Joelen:
    Thanks! And yeah, JS had been wanting to make a lechon sauce from scratch for a while now.

    Haha, actually a cousin of ours tasted the lechon sauce and was HORRIFIED that it tasted like liver! She didn't know lechon sauce had livers in it. So she's definitely sticking tot he Mang Tomas, which she actually eats and enjoys.

    Haha... pretty soon we'll be having a party with all these new guests showing up! ;D

    noble pig:
    Thanks! That lacquered look can't be beat. Soy sauce is your friend. =)

    Choosy Beggar Tina:
    I did a 2:1 ratio -- 2 parts soy sauce to 1 part citrus juice. You can also choose to baste. Of course, being lazy, I chose NOT to baste. =)

    Wandering Chopsticks:
    Oh, we haven't tried making the Vietnamese lemongrass chicken/pork. We should, though, they're really popular with EVERYBODY when we do go eat at Vietnamese restaurants.

    we are never full:
    "...lemongrass out the wazoo," teehee.

    Thanks! You can roast chicken in this style now, with your new oven and all. =)

    Welcome! This is more liver-y than the bottled sauce.

  12. Never had chicken this way... The lemongrass in the chicken sounds like a great way to really infuse it with flavor.

  13. Love the idea of stuffing the chickens with lemongrass. And didn't that skin crisp up PERFECTLY?

  14. Jude:
    Really? Actualy, I didn't know that lechon manok was stuffed with lemongrass in the first place.

    That soy sauce is chicken skin's best friend, in terms of its bronzed effect.

  15. Wow, these look really good! I'm sure they smell and taste heavenly.

  16. Chowhound:
    Thanks for the visit! Glad you liked the post. =)

  17. This is very ebtertaining and informative at the same time.. I laughed out loud since you have sarsa but no lechon!?

    My friends and I is planning to prepare lechon manok for our English friends and I found this.. Thanks for the info..

    Lesley, UK


  18. Lesley:
    Hehehe. Glad you liked the story. We hope your lechon manok turned out great!

  19. Hi! I just want to ask if you're doing some kind of business with the lechon manok? I'm currently in the US and was thinking it might be a good idea but dont know how to satrt. Maybe you can help me out? thanks! my email is Hope to hear from you soon!

  20. jan:
    Sorry, we don't have a lechon manok business. Good luck if you decide to embark on one!


LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs