Inihaw Na Manok (aka Filipino BBQ Chicken) is one of Janelle’s comfort foods
so I veganized it for anyone who needs some Filipino comfort :)
It’s been yet another few months since I’ve posted here but don’t worry, I have lots of recipes coming soon that I have been meaning to share with you. The last couple months have been filled with complicated feelings and grief, peppered with family obligations and playing catch up. My dad passed away but we weren’t close, and I haven’t mentioned it too much here but we were essentially estranged for the last 3 years. He passed away earlier this fall and it was faster than we had all expected and a lot of us weren’t really prepared. But it’s been almost seven weeks now and I have had a lot of time to heal and process through it all.
If you are interested in hearing more about that little life update, I did post a mukbang/chatty video about it all on my YouTube channel.
But in lighter news, I finally feel like I’m on my feet. Our home is no longer in garbage bags (although I mean, we still have some stuff still needing treatment but that’ll be done over time), we haven’t seen any bed bugs in about a month, and then aside from the two dead ones we saw a month ago, we hadn’t seen any for about 3 months before that. Fingers crossed we’re totally in the clear now!
Finally with the wedding chaos over and done with, family stuff mostly sorted, and my busy season of Veg Fests for the most part done with, I’ve been developing recipes, filming tons of videos and cooking up a dream project that I can’t wait to share with you.
Today’s recipe is something inspired by Janelle, who is my best friend and is half Filipina. She has been sort of on the fence of wanting to go vegan or eat more plant-based for a while, but she was feeling conflicted about how she wouldn’t be able to eat foods from her culture. I was eager to help her veganize this inihaw na manok (which translates to BBQ chicken) with soy curls! There are tons of vegan protein alternatives to chicken out there, but I feel like soy curls are the easiest, most affordable, and tastiest of them all. Although double-frozen tofu is a very close second.
Traditionally, inihaw na manok is made with a sauce that’s already vegan. Taking your traditional components of a BBQ sauce: salt, acid, and sweetener; inihaw na manok uses soy sauce, brown sugar, lemon juice, vinegar, and banana ketchup as a base. I’ve never had banana ketchup before this, but it was a less acidic sweet ketchup that was kind of aspic-gelatinous in texture. It’s the reason the BBQ is such a bright orange colour, but it creates a really mellow, lush base for BBQ sauce. In the video, I added a bit too much brown sugar, so I’ve adjusted the sweetness down below in the recipe, but you can always adjust and play with this recipe to get the profile you like. More sweetness, more saltiness, a bit more punch; all done with playing with the ratios.
The video is pretty long, but mostly because I left a lot of us gabbing about growing up and eating foods from our culture and how it was received in school by kids and people around us. I think it’s definitely something a lot of people of colour growing up in the West experienced, and honestly for me, it felt really validating to hear that I wasn’t the only one with this experience growing up. I’m so thankful that we live in a time where we can talk about this and connect with people with common upbringings, and Janelle and I have definitely bonded a lot over our shared experiences with having one foot in Canadian culture and one foot in our Vietnamese/Filipina heritage.
I hope you enjoy this recipe and video, and stay tuned for more Adventures in Veganizing Filipino Food with Janelle!
- 227 g (about 3 cups) of dried Soy Curls (you could also use tofu or seitan)
- 1 tbsp mushroom broth seasoning (optional)
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) lemon-lime soda (I used Sprite)
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) lemon juice
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) soy sauce
- 3 tbsp (45 mL) vinegar
- 2 tbsp (30 mL) packed brown sugar (we originally used 3 tbsp)
- 3/4 cup (186 mL) banana ketchup (you could substitute regular ketchup but it would be more vinegary)
- 4-6 cloves (11 g) garlic, peeled and minced
- 10-15 wooden skewers
- In a large mixing bowl, rehydrate the soy curls by covering with hot water (I generally use boiling water) and season with mushroom broth seasoning. Mix carefully to get all the curls soaked in some liquid and let stand for 10 minutes.
- In another large bowl, combine all the ingredients and stir until the sugar dissolves. You may need a whisk to completely incorporate the banana ketchup.
- Once the soy curls have sufficiently rehydrated, drain and squeeze out as much liquid as you can.
- Add the soy curls to the marinade bowl and stir well to make sure everything is well coated. Let marinate at least for 1 hour, ideally marinade overnight.
To assemble the skewers
- Soak wooden skewers in water for at least 10 minutes so that they don't burn the BBQ.
- Turn on the BBQ and let preheat to about 400F.
- Skewer the soy curls (you may need to fold the longer curls so they stay on the skewers well). Cook for about 5 minutes on each side until you get some light charring. Enjoy immediately!