Photo: Oxmoor House

Chicken Inasal

I asked my Filipino friends for an authentic recipe for chicken inasal, which basically means, "chicken grilled." The variations are endless, but lemongrass, citrus, and annatto oil are standard for bright flavor and color. Don't skip the vinegar dipping sauce--tartness is a defining flavor of Filipino cuisine. After it's grilled, the chicken needs that acidic spark.

Oxmoor House MARCH 2014

  • Yield: Serves 4 (serving size: 1 chicken thigh, 1 chicken drumstick, and about 2 1/2 tablespoons vinegar dipping sauce)
  • Hands-on:37 Minutes
  • Total:2 Hours, 37 Minutes


  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons annatto seeds
  • 2/3 cup chopped peeled fresh lemongrass
  • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice
  • 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons lower-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 4 chicken drumsticks (about 1 1/4 pounds), skinned
  • 4 chicken thighs (about 1 1/4 pounds), skinned
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1/2 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped


1. Heat a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Stir in annatto seeds, and remove from heat. Let stand 15 minutes. Discard annatto seeds, reserving oil in pan.

2. Place lemongrass and next 9 ingredients (through garlic) in a blender; process until finely chopped. Pour mixture into large zip-top plastic bag; add annatto oil and chicken pieces. Seal bag, and marinate in refrigerator at least 2 hours or up to 8 hours.

3. Preheat grill to high. Remove chicken from bag; discard marinade. Place chicken on grill rack coated with cooking spray; grill 19 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally.

4. While chicken cooks, place a small skillet over medium-low heat; add honey and butter, and cook 5 minutes or until butter melts. Baste chicken with honey-butter mixture. Cook chicken 5 minutes or until done, turning and basting frequently with honey-butter mixture.

5. Combine cider vinegar and remaining ingredients in small bowl, stirring until sugar and salt dissolve. Serve chicken with sauce.

Nutritional Information

Amount per serving
  • Calories: 458
  • Fat: 21g
  • Saturated fat: 5g
  • Monounsaturated fat: 8.4g
  • Polyunsaturated fat: 4.7g
  • Protein: 46.2g
  • Carbohydrate: 18g
  • Fiber: 0.4g
  • Cholesterol: 189mg
  • Iron: 3.2mg
  • Sodium: 531mg
  • Calcium: 47mg

Go to full version of

Chicken Inasal recipe