How to cook: Inasal na manok (grilled chicken, Bacolod style)

When Speedy asked me once if I knew how to make inasal na manok, I said yes without a second thought. In fact, I was rather surprised because the implication was that inasal na manok is something complicated or that the recipe is a tightly guarded secret. Literally, inasal na manok means roasted chicken, inasal being derived from the Spanish word asar which means “to roast.”

In contemporary Filipino cooking, however, inasal na manok has become synonymous with grilled chicken as it has become popular in Bacolod City, capital of Negros Occidental. While there is no single and definitive recipe for inasal na manok, what seems to set it apart from other grilled chicken dishes is the lack of anything sweet in the marinade. Even the dipping sauce — a mixture of vinegar, shallots, garlic, ginger and chilis — is sour.

This is my version of inasal na manok. »

Spring rolls with braised beef and herbs

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Thick and fat spring rolls filled with moist and tender braised beef and a variety of herbs. Seasoned with oyster sauce and hoisin sauce, the spring rolls are subtly sweet and ultra savory. The addition of toasted sesame seeds add a surprising crunch … »

How to make: Masala chai (spiced tea)

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Chai means tea in several South Asian languages. Masala (literally, a mixture of spices) chai means spiced tea although many people associate masala chai with spiced milk tea.The addition of milk is a British influence. Tea has been grown in some … »

How to make: Spicy cucumber and mint raita

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My first raita experience was at Baba Ghannouj. The meal was preceded by small triangles of pita served with raita and another dipping sauce. I loved the raita but didn't really have a craving for it -- until I saw Elise's cucumber and mint raita, … »

Dill hedges in Albay

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Last night, I was reading Planning for that summer vay-cay that says it isn't too early to make plans right now since the Holy Week break is but five weeks away. And I remembered Albay where we spent four days last year. I have written about Waway … »

Easy hors d’œuvre: fish and fresh dill spring rolls

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The third in the four-part series on easy hors d'œuvre featuring tilapia fillets is fried lumpia (spring rolls) with whole strips of fish fillets and chopped fresh dill as filling. Now, I'm not saying that you absolutely have to use fresh dill. It … »

About annatto seeds and how to make achiote oil

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What we call atsuwete (achuete, achiote) is annatto (Bixa orellana)--a natural red food coloring. In Philippine cuisine, it is commonly associated with sotanghon guisado and kare-kare. Although atsuwete has a distinct, but mild, flavor and aroma, it … »