The world focus on the Philippines has not dimmed. The global community has their eyes on us especially after the fierce typhoon Haiyan (Yolanda in the Philippines) made landfall in the Visayas. The city of Tacloban in the province of Leyte was hit the hardest. And like many Filipinos, I am putting aside my personal preference for the regional cooking I grew up with (Pampanga favorites).
Instead, I choose to honor Tacloban in the Visayas by recreating this Chicken Waray. This was a chicken dish, similar to Chicken Inasal, which was served at the recent fundraisers for the typhoon relief. At the last fundraiser hosted by UmiNom’s Chef King, together with Chefs Romy Dorotan and Perry Mamaril, this beautiful and succulent chicken entrée was served to all diners who came and donated to Kusog Tacloban.
I was at the Tulong-Tulong sa Pilipinas fundraiser (“Tulong” means to help) for the relief of typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda families. This was the 3rd one we put together. The first 2 were at Purple Yam restaurant in Brooklyn, NYC to benefit Gawad Kalinga and rebuild homes. The third was hosted by UmiNOM restaurant and proceeds went to Kusog Tacloban for typhoon relief projects.
After Chef Perry served me the Chicken Waray, I sliced my chicken and the lusciousness of it just took my breath away. The layers of flavors complimented each other. Beneath each tender piece, I sensed the strong presence of calamansi and limes blending with hints of coconut. The chicken pieces were char-roasted to a shiny dark sheen with a crisp, tantalizing skin. It was nestled next to the freshly steamed bright green baby bok choy pieces and accompanying turmeric rice. I wanted to have a second serving really bad, but I was busy collecting the fundraiser money so I had to stop at the first dish.
When I got home, after asking Chef Romy for chef cooking tips and the recipe I tried my best to recreate this Chicken Waray. Winter and snow prevented me from using my outdoor charcoal grill, so I oven roasted the chicken instead. The results are in. As you can see here, it was beautiful. It was one of the best chicken dishes to ever come out of my oven.
Make it for your family and honor Tacloban. Think of Tacloban and those that have been displaced. Think of those who have lost homes, families and all that they have on this earth. Say a prayer. Do an act of kindness for anyone you meet. Donate to a worthy organization. Just have Tacloban in your hearts, please. I am one with Tacloban and will be for a long time.
Chicken Waray- Inasal-style
- 2.5 pounds bone-in quartered pieces, about 4-5 pieces chicken
- 2 Tablespoons frozen concentrate, unsweetened from Asian markets or use fresh calamansi or lemon juice calamansi juice (the Filipino lime)
- 2 Tablespoons orange juice
- 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric powder
- 1 stalk trimmed and finely chopped (from Asian markets) lemongrass (tanglad in the Philippines)
- 2 pieces choppped shallots
- 4 cloves chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup I use canned, from Asian markets coconut milk
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- for serving boiled white rice
- for serving steamed bok choy or any vegetables desired
- In a medium bowl, blend together the marinade ingredients: calamansi and orange juice, soy sauce, turmeric, lemongrass, shallots, garlic, coconut milk, salt and black pepper. Pour the marinade over the chicken pieces and mix all over well. Cover with a plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight.
- To bake chicken: Preheat oven at 375 F degrees. Arrange chicken pieces on a pre-greased roasting pan. Cover entire pan with aluminum foil. Bake in the center of the oven, for 55 to 60 minutes or till chicken pieces are thoroughly cooked.
- Separately, in a small sauce pan over medium heat, place the liquid marinade. Let boil then reduce the heat to a low simmer. Let the liquid cook to a reduction for about 8 to 9 minutes. Remove from stove top. Pour this reduced liquid over the baked chicken after it has cooked thoroughly.
- Serve chicken with steamed vegetables and boiled white rice on the side.
- To charcoal grill chicken: marinate the chicken as directed. Pre-heat the outdoor grill to a medium heat. Place the chicken pieces on the center rack. Grill chicken till it is cooked thoroughly. For this amount (2.5 pounds with bone) grill over medium heat for 55 minutes. Baste pieces with a little marinade and turn around every 15 minutes to cook evenly.