Chicken Inasal


by Chef Zac Ardena Summer is slowly winding down, so I’m trying to find as many excuses as I can to be outside and grilling! One of my favourite things to grill is chicken Inasal, a super simple Negros specialty, where my dad is from. Like kwek kwek, the chicken takes on a nice orange colour from marinating in annatto powder. For this recipe, I used a boneless chicken breast pounded thinner for a faster, more evenly grilled piece of meat.  Serve it with rice, grilled veggies and atchara, another Ardena household staple!


  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, halved
  • 3 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 4 Tbsp annatto oil (this is made by infusing hot oil with crushed annatto seeds)
  • 2 Tbsp ginger, minced
  • 2 Tbsp garlic, minced
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, pounded and minced
  • 4 lime leaves
  • ½ cup spicy vinegar or pinakurat
  • 2 Tbsp calamansi extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pinch black pepper
  • Extra salt and pepper to taste


  1. In a medium-sized container, combine all the ingredients, saving 3 Tbsp of the annatto oil. Cover the container and let the chicken marinate for about two hours.
  2. Take out the chicken pieces and place between two sheets of saran wrap. Using a meat mallet (or a small pot or skillet), pound the chicken flatter until the entire piece is of an even thickness.
  3. Brush the flattened chicken pieces with the remaining annatto oil.
  4. Grill until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. Cover with foil and let rest for five minutes. Then it’s ready to serve!