I promised a reader I’d post a recipe of an Ilonggo icon —INASAL NGA MANOK  or chicken barbeque.  But having lived in Bacolod for more than ten years (was born there, so am Negrense as well) before finally settling in Iloilo, I have come to discover a difference between the timplada (flavor/taste) between the two inasal.

Bacolod Inasal has a slightly sour base (aslum) while the Iloilo Inasal is sweet (tam-is).

Now, that made me wonder:  shouldn’t be the Bacolod inasal the sweeter of the two–with all the sugar in the province?  Perhaps you have a theory about this.  Come and share it with iloveiloilo.

Anyway, the secret of Bacolod inasal is  dalisay nga langgaw or pure coconut vinegar.  I’ll check first with my brother for the specific spices that go into the Bacolod inasal.  But definitely, it has to be colored by istiwitis or annatto seeds .  (check out our entry on istiwitis).

How about the Iloilo Inasal?  I have tasted a variety of inasal all over Iloilo and apparently, Ilonggo tastebuds prefer it sweet and even tocino-like.  This is the kind of chicken barbeque served at the now popular Mang Inasal, a chicken place with a fastfood approach to service.  This is also the similar flavor of inasal on carts.   There are exceptions however.  The roadside inasal at Valeria extension borders on the aslum or sour version.  The inasal at Valeria is special because its not the “45 days” (the white leghorn) but the Bisaya nga manok or native variety.  If you are into organic stuff, this one is for you.

Here is a basic CHICKEN INASAL RECIPE – Ilonggo style

Actually, the recipe varies from vendor to vendor, resto to resto.  Find your best combination.

Wait!  To be truly authentic, you must learn how to slice your chicken into the right inasal cuts and skewer them on bamboo sticks perfectly.  (A student of mine did a feature on these bamboo sticks.  Very interesting.  Await the post).

You will need:

* sea salt (we Ilonggos, just like other Filipinos, don’t measure like the westerners do.  Tantya-tantya lang (just estimate).  Taste the marinade for the saltiness).

* garlic, crushed well

* sugar, brown or white will do (taste the marinade, when its sweet, that’s it)

* a bottle of Sprite or 7-up

* soy sauce (some use this sparingly; others don’t include it at all)

* black pepper  (optional)

* vetsin or monosodium glutamate  (personally, i have banned it from all my cooking but since we’re talking about the typical inasal recipe in Iloilo, well, I should say, Ilonggos in general like putting vetsin into their cooking)

* 2-3 pieces calamansi (optional too or it will border on the Bacolod version)

* just a little langgaw or vinegar (some manug-inasal put this to preserve the meat, in case it will have to stay longer on the shelf)

* about a kilo of chicken (that’s 4 basic cuts–2  pecho (breast + wing) & 2 paa (leg+ thigh) and the remaining parts)

Well, I guess that’s about it.  Mix everything in a deep bowl and let stand for  20 minutes or more.  Then, you’re ready to tuhog (to skewer) them on thick bamboo sticks and sugba (grill) over charcoal.

Ilonggo inasal is not complete without the banyos (the basting sauce if you may call it).  Some use the marinade alone.  Others add banana catsup and cooking oil to it.    Others extract the color from istiwitis and add this to the marinade.  Others cook a tablespoon or two of istiwitis in cooking oil.  Experiment on your best combination.

I wish I have a picture to accompany this blog.  I’m afraid you’ll just have to imagine for now.

Gudlak sa pagluto! (G oodluck to your cooking!)