Video: Grilled Achiote Chicken (Inasal)

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Video: Grilled Achiote Chicken (Inasal)


2 teaspoons Annatto seeds

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2.5 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs (use what you like)

3-4 inches ginger, rough slice

8-10 cloves garlic, rough chopped

1 tablespoon kosher salt

Fresh cracked pepper

2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup white vinegar

2 cups soy sauce


Take a small sauce pot and add the vegetable oil and annatto seeds in it. Gently heat the oil on low to extract the flavor and color of the annatto seeds. Do not cook the seeds in a high temperature to avoid it burning. Stir the entire time and cook for only about 2 minutes to bring out the color and flavor. Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

In a large mixing bowl, add the chicken, ginger, garlic, salt & pepper, sugar, vinegar and soy sauce. Marinade for at least 3 hours.

Heat the grill. Add the chicken to the grill and cook evenly. About three quarters of the way until the chicken is fully cooked, start to brush the chicken with the annatto oil to enhance the flavor and color.

Serve with your favorite sides.


Hi everyone. I am Momma Cuisine Johanna Cook and you’re watching this week’s episode of Great Everyday Meals.

This week I am going to make one of my favorite family recipes. It’s actually my mom’s recipe for grilled achiote chicken which is a traditional dish from her part, her province in the Philippines in Bacolod called “inasal”. It’s just chicken. I got here boneless, skinless chicken thighs. You can us whatever you want, breasts, legs.

I just did this so that it will be quick without the bones and it’s lean. I like dark meat. So I’m going to use that about – up to two pounds and a half of that and annatto is an herbal plant. You could get it in seeds just like this or you can get it in powder. So that’s what going to get – it’s beautiful. Like right now, it looks like a deep orange but you can make like yellow rice with this or deep orange rice. This is going to give this grilled chicken dish a beautiful orange tint and it has an earthy flavor. You could find it usually in the Mexican aisle of your grocery store and any Mexican market you will find this.

We’re going to do lots of ginger, garlic, soy sauce, vinegar. What else? A little bit of sugar. I already said ginger, salt and pepper. Very simple stuff. The key is to marinate it all for a very long time. My mom says at least three hours or overnight and we’re going to do that today. So go ahead and grab your ingredients and let’s cook.

So we’re going to take two knobs of ginger and we don’t really need to make this – we don’t need to peel it or anything because this is for the marinade. So we just want to slice it, open it up. My mom says use lots of ginger for this recipe. I’m just going to slice this. Roughly you don’t need to do really anything. Oh, that smells so good already. I’m going to plot that in to our chicken. Lots and lots of garlic. Again, no need. We’re just going to roughly chop this. Run your knife through it. Yeah, roughly chopped. Beautiful. Stick that in there.

OK. That’s 2.5 pounds of chicken. We’re going to do about one tablespoon of salt. Don’t be shy with the salt. We have pepper, freshly ground. OK. We’re going to add a little bit of sugar, couple of tablespoons of sugar. The marinade is so good. Here with vinegar, just regular white vinegar. You can use apple cider, lots of this.

Soy sauce, I have a vat of soy sauce here. Don’t mind me. We’re going to do about a cup of soy sauce. All righty. What you want to do now is get this together. Massage that all in there.

That looks good. All right. That’s our marinade. We’re going to let that sit there for a couple of hours or overnight and we’re going to head over to the grill and grill it and I’m going to show you how to make that annatto, that achiote kind of sauce on top with the oil. We’re going to brush the chicken or dip the chicken in after we finish grilling.

So we have here a saucepan. We’re going to turn it on to medium. I’m going to put about half a cup of vegetable oil right down there. Now we could do two things with this. My mom likes to use a powder of this achiote powder. This one is Con Culantro Y Achiote. So that’s what I have here or you could just do the seeds. I actually want to try the seeds today because this has been sitting in my pantry and I want to use it.

We’re going to take maybe – I don’t know. Let’s take maybe a teaspoon and a half. You want to make sure that your oil is not hot. You want to do this at low heat or else you will burn the seeds. We should see this turn – start to turn yellow and then you could always add more. You want to do this very slow. You don’t want to start frying the seeds. You just want to extract the color and that earthy flavor. It’s about one teaspoon. Let’s do two teaspoons of those seeds in there.

If this fails, I will do it my mom’s way. But you can see right away now it’s already starting to turn yellow. It’s such a great color and then we’re just going to have it – do it like this. So that looks very good to me already and you have to also make sure to stir it the whole time. Don’t leave it alone. You have to keep stirring or else the seeds at the bottom will stick to the bottom and burn which we do not want that burned taste with the oil because then your chicken will taste burned.

So that’s good right there. We’re going to set that out to the side. We have our chicken here that has been marinating at least three hours. We’re going to head over to the grill. Grill this, brush it and that’s our achiote grilled chicken.

All right guys. We’re outside. It’s our first time filming outside I think. This is so nice and it’s so hot which we love so much. So we here, we have our grill. It has been heating. What we’re going to do now is get our marinated chicken. These are chicken thighs, boneless, skinless. Use whatever you want and we’re just going to put this on the grill.

Start cooking this and about three quarters of the way through we’re going to take that achiote oil with the annatto seeds and brush our chicken for one of my favorite dishes which is inasal, a Filipino dish that my mom makes often that we love so much. So I hope this recipe – that I do her right with this recipe. Do right by her.

There you go. Just go heat that. This is about medium. High heat. I’m just going to let that grill.

We are all good. Our chicken is ready to be flipped. It’s almost done. It doesn’t take that long because it is skinless and boneless chicken thighs. What we’re going to do at this point, you could brush it with the oil. Remember we made that achiote oil earlier. Actually what I’m going to do is just dip the chicken in here. You do want that. Beautiful. You don’t want it too much. Just lightly or you could brush it. I’m just going to dip it just for the sake of doing this quickly. Delicious.

 What I’m going to do now is just grill this uncovered to let it finish cooking all the way through. I’m going to watch it. I’m not going to leave this alone now and just make sure that it’s all done and then in a couple of minutes, we will be all done. We will slice it up.

So we finished our grilled achiote chicken which is one of my most favorite dishes that my mom makes called “inasal”. It’s from her region of the Philippines in Bacolod and it’s really a traditional dish and I hope I got close to her recipe. I’m going to link the full ingredients below. You could just click on that and see the full ingredients. But it is so simple to make. The key to inasal grilled achiote chicken is that achiote oil that we use at the very end that you brush or in our case, I just dipped the chicken in there and put in on the grill, that earthy flavor that really brings it out.

So I’m going to go try this now. I want to make sure. I was very liberal with that oil. It is so good. It’s not a chicken that you’ve tasted before, I promise you, and very simple to make.

I hope that you try this recipe at home. Fire up the grill. Make this recipe and let me know how you do. Thank you so much for watching this episode of Great Everyday Meals. I am Momma Cuisine Johanna Cook. I will see you next week. Bye.

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