My requirements for a cheap chic recipe? It has to be easy to make (because, much as I love puttering away in the kitchen, I do have other things to do). It has to be inexpensive. Most importantly, it has to taste good.
Tonight, we’re having Bacolod Chicken (or, ‘chicken inasal’ as we born-and-bred Bacolodnons put it) and it’s definitely a Cheap Chic Couple favorite.
Making this dish always brings me home to Bacolod City, figuratively speaking. While we also frequented the more upscale Bacolod Chicken House, owned by my University of St. La Salle batchmate Dino Cajli’s family, my fondest memories are of going to Manokan Country by the Seaside Reclamation area, choosing a stall from the dozens that lined the entire block, sitting at rustic, bare-bones benches and tables, breathing in the aroma of the chicken grilling just a few feet away wafted in the air, and in no time at all, being served ‘pecho’ (breast) or ”paa (thigh) with a plate of steaming hot white rice topped with fried minced garlic.
Here’s my recipe for Bacolod Chicken:
2 chicken breasts (or thighs, if you prefer dark meat) with skins on
1 c. coconut palm vinegar (found at Filipino or Asian stores)
1 bottle Sprite (20 oz.)
1 thumb-sized ginger, sliced
juice of 4 kalamansi (but if you can’t find kalamansi, use the juice of 1 lime or lemon
2 stalks lemongrass, pounded and cut into 2-inch pieces
2 T. salt
2 t. pepper
1/4 c. vegetable oil
2 T. margarine
2 t. salt
2 T. achuete/annato seeds
juice of 2 kalamansi (or juice of 1/2 lime or lemon).
To make basting sauce, heat oil, add margarine and salt. Drop in achuete/annato seeds and stir until color is extracted. Remove from heat and add kalamansi/lemon/lime juice.
Prick the chicken with a fork to ensure that it absorbs the marinade. Marinate chicken in vinegar, Sprite, ginger, lemongrass, kalamansi/lime or lemon juice, salt and pepper for at least an hour. Grill over medium to high flame while basting with sauce.
Don’t forget to make a side dip of ‘sinamak’ (coconut palm vinegar with minced garlic, ginger and chilis) since no self-respecting Bacolodnon would eat his or her Bacolod Chicken without dunking it in ‘sinamak’.