Sure, the Lechon Manok–or Filipino Roasted Chicken–nowadays can be seen almost everywhere, because almost every corner you go into along the main roads in busy cities here in the Philippines, there’s always a shop that sells lechon manok (litson manok).
But why not make it special even only for once and try to make this superb dish at home? This is completely doable, and it is not as hard as it seems! Continue to read this recipe article below and see for yourself how to make this, and learn some tips and some trivia as you go through.
What is Lechon Manok?
The lechon manok is basically a whole chicken that is roasted along with essential ingredients to add flavor such as garlic, onions, fish sauce, soy sauce, calamansi juice, sugar and some common seasonings like salt and pepper.
This is similar to roasted chicken in other countries but is quite unique because of its distinct flavor and is usually roasted using a charcoal spit.
The story of the lechon manok is quite peculiar. It is said that during the 1980s, there was this certain person who placed skewers in a bicycle chain placed over coals and put up a whole chicken to roast there.
This type of cooking the whole chicken spread like wildfire all over the Philippines and it especially spread in the city of Cebu, where there are stores and stands with vendors selling their own version of the famous lechon manok.
How to Cook Lechon Manok?
There are a lot of ways you can roast the chicken and make lechon manok, but in this recipe, we are only going to use our handy oven, which is readily available in most of the households. There’s no need for charcoal or rotisserie when you have your oven.
To start with cooking the lechon, let us break down the process into two easy main procedures. First, you have to marinate the whole chicken, and this will take overnight. Second part is the roasting of the chicken in the oven.
When roasting the chicken, it is important to keep the chicken moist and avoid drying. It is essential that you baste the chicken with oil and the leftover liquids from the marinade every now and then, so keep an eye on the chicken while it is in the oven.
Some ovens have the rotisserie function included, so if your oven has that, be sure to use that function so the job will be easier for you.
Lechon Manok Tips:
- If you happen to have a spit roaster available with you, you can use that since it is more close to the traditional way of cooking the lechon manok.
- Once you’re done with marinating the chicken overnight, the next step is to prepare the chicken by skewering the whole chicken and then securing it on the grill.
Notes on Ingredients
The ingredients included in this recipe are the most commonly used spices and flavorings to make the lechon manok. This will result in an absolutely delicious homemade lechon manok, but feel free to add spices and seasonings of your choice.
For a quick reference about this recipe, see the recipe table below:
Lechon Manok (Filipino Roasted Chicken) Recipe
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 pc onion, chopped
- 1 head garlic, minced
- 2 stalks lemongrass, pounded
- 4 pcs bay leaves (laurel leaves)
- ¼ cup fish sauce
- 3 tbsp soy sauce
- ¼ cup calamansi juice
- 1 tsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp vegetable oil
- salt and pepper, to taste
- In a large bowl, add-in the chopped onion, minced garlic, fish sauce, soy sauce, calamansi juice, brown sugar, and salt and pepper. Combine well until incorporated.
- Place the chicken in a resealable bag and then pour-in the marinade. Seal the bag and refrigerate overnight.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Take out the chicken and reserve the marinade.
- Stuff the lemongrass and the bay leaves inside the chicken cavity.
- Place chicken in a wire rack on a baking tray and then put inside the oven. Roast for 60 to 90 minutes.
- Combine the reserved marinade with the vegetable oil and then baste the chicken every 20 minutes while roasting until cooked.
- Transfer to a serving tray or serving plate. Serve and enjoy!
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