"Kusina" = Kitchen; "Manang" = older sister

A Filipina's unabashed chronicle of her adaptations in the American kitchen. Includes step-by-step photos on how to make pan de sal, ensaymada, pan de coco, siopao, hopia, pandelimon, pianono, atsara, crema de fruta,etc., and if you are lucky, you will find videos too!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Manang's Lechon Manok (Rotisserie Cornish Hens)

Cornish Hens to make Lechon Manok
Syempre hindi kumpleto ang Pinoy food cravings ko kung walang lechon manok. ["Of course, my Filipino cravings would not be satisfied without rotisserie chicken.] That is the main reason why I got myself a rotisserie. Actually, my friend Ana has it, and cooked lechon manok in it using cornish hens. That's what gave me the idea of getting myself this rotisserie.

My favorite back when I was in Pinas was the Baliwag style, although Andok's was more ubiquitous. But I had a different experience when I bought some at one of the MRT stations near JR Memorial Hospital (can't remember the name of the stall). The outlet was small, yet the machine was more high-tech, and I love the spicy taste (although it was a bit too hot for my kids). I think the different spice flavor was due to the five-spice, which I tried below. And I added some other spices to experiment. If you notice, the two chickens below have different colors. That's because of different flavors. The chickens were the smallest ones among our very own homegrown chickens. Love them with atsarang papaya and steamy rice, plus sarsa ni Mang Tomas, of course. Hubby had the potato with it, and does not care for veggies.

Cornish hens (will fit in the rotisserie)
5 cloves garlic each
1 onion each
lemongrass stalks
celery stalks
whole peppers
several fenugreek seeds (I love the smell of it)
kosher salt to taste (in the cavity and on the skin)
various spices (I experimented with five spice, paprika, curry powder, ground pepper, etc -- up to you to experiment. Use your nose to see what you think will give you superb flavor)
Blocks of butter to keep skin moist.


Photos below pretty much self-explanatory. Cooking time depends on weight of chicken (about 2 hours for these two small chickens to make sure they are done. You can always check by prying with a fork or using a thermometer).
Add the veggies one hour before done.
Let sit on the platter for about 10 minutes before attacking to allow for the juices to redistribute.

Reposted for the purpose of submission to foodbuzz daily.


  1. Wow, if only I can smelll those chicken, sarap! I love achara with chicken :)

  2. That looks and sounds delicious, manang! You're making me want one of those rotisseries even through I don't have any space for it :)

  3. manag, looks good, i miss andok's as well kaya i cook it at home din =D ....now i want achara! I bet those smell so good habng niluluto :D

  4. The way we prepare food is like the way we communicate with people - gadgets! You sure have come full circle manang, with your high-tech accessories.

  5. julie,
    truly felt and smelled and tasted like home when I had this pair!

    You can say that again! I had to get a shelving system to place all my bulky gadgets in, to free up my countertop space...I still don't have enough!

    If you have access to green papaya, it is easy enough to make atsara.

    That is soooo true! Kulang na lang is a big rotisserie for lechon!

  6. your lechon manok made by mouth water, its very popular din sa Cebu. I remember pag may birthday or Sundays we buy it for dinner.

  7. WW,
    What spices do Cebuanos use for their lechon manok? Anything you can share?

  8. Great flavors there!

    Since you are using homegrown chickens, would you like to enter this post in our Grow Your Own roundup this month? Full Details at


  9. usually simple lang yung ingredients, bunch of lemon grass, scallions, some add smashed garlic and shallots ( sibuyas tagalog ) din sa cavity. I think they make a brine that is made of toyo and calamansi, (my uncle adds sprite) marinated overnight. Then there's a dry rub of rock salt and cracked pepper corns. This is the best with pusu (cooked rice in palms leaves )and sukang Pinakurat:)

    you should try it, then post some pictures ok?

  10. Manang...try this brine...in a blender, put 2 cups cold water first ( and another 2 cups cold water later so you have a total of 4 cups cold water), 2 tsp. garlicky seasoned salt ( i make my own mix), 2 tsp. salt., 2 tsp freshly ground pepper, 4 large cloves peeled garlic, a few drops of atsuete oil or yellow food color. Now, blitz that for a few seconds. Put that in aplastic bucket. Add 2 more cups of cold water and submerge the chicken in it. Make more brine if needed. Keep it overnight in the fridge. Next day, drain. Then you can rub your paste (my boys prefer the lemongrass paste I make and use for Vietnamese Lemongrass Pork Chops or chicken...rub the paste inside the cavity of the chicken)...and roast. I use the barbecue grill to roast it. It takes quite a bit of time. You will be surprised how moist it is, with just the right seasoning.

    Sometimes the simplest things are the best. I also use this brine for chicken legs, or wings. For chicken legs, BARBECUE is the only way to go. Barbecue them over medium to low heat and it will take about 30 minutes or so. The meat remains tender and moist and skin crisps up while barbecuing on medium to low heat. It truly tastes like LECHON!!!I usually barbecue 20 legs at a time for a family of 4. WE LOVE LEFTOVERS!...for salad rolls, donairs, wraps, etc.

  11. Manang...I don't get it why the seasoning and meat is highlighted in blue! I DID NOT HIGHLIGHT THOSE WORDS!!!!

  12. WonderWoman,
    That calamansi is one thing I have never really found here in my area. Paborito ko pa naman to marinade. So I might not be able to experiment. Iba naman lasa ng lemon kasi.

    Thanks for the recipe. I did try some brine before (a simpler one) with lots of garlic plus whole peppercorn, kosher salt, and bay leaf, then I soaked the chicken for 4 hours. Unfortunately, my husband found the garlicky flavor too overwhelming that he said he could not really taste the chicken anymore. He would not mind masking the taste of store-bought chicken, but for our very own homegrown chickens, he prefers minimal flavor. I had to agree with that, since if I used the simplest of all, both on our chicken and on homegrown pig, the less, the better. Grocery-bought just does not compare.

    However, I will try your recipe for a bunch of Filipino friends maybe by summer, just because that kind of flavor mix kinda defines the Filipino taste. :)

  13. Hello sa lahat ng may plano about sa lechon manok,

    Mayroon na akong plano, computation at ingredients.
    Need ko nalang ng magkapital at ako ang mag work, sa nagkapital ay sa audit lang pero kung gusto din nya mag work ok din. Ang Buong capital lang ay 100K. Ito yong plano ko
    Link: http://www.tomsworld2012.webs.com
    Nanjan din yong details ko, PM an txt nyo nlang po ako para m update kung sakali na gusto nyo makipag usap sakin,

    For more details pls contact me @ 09107084040 – email: tomnjerry101010@yahoo.com


  14. The best! It is serves in full flavor.

  15. Manang, do you sell your lemongrass? I can't find any in my place.

    1. Hi Anonymous, I don't sell lemongrass. I buy lemongrass from the grocery store, then soak the bottom in water until it roots, then I plant outside. However, I also tried ordering lemongrass from ebay: http://www.ebay.com/itm/LEMON-GRASS-Herb-Plant-Culinary-Live-Plant-/190685295850?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item2c65bab4ea#ht_1565wt_1163

  16. I love love lechon! see my very own Lechon manok preparation tips.

  17. really good piece of information, I had come to know about your site from my friend shubodh, kolkatta,i have read atleast nine posts of yours by now, and let me tell you, your site gives the best and the most interesting information. This is just the kind of information that i had been looking for, i'm already your rss reader now and i would regularly watch out for the new posts, once again hats off to you! Thanks a lot once again, Regards, cornish hen recipe


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