Savory-style Chicken

Together with Max’s chicken, Savory chicken is one of the popular commercially-available chicken in Manila.  The big difference between the two is that Savory chicken is oven roasted, while Max’s chicken is deep fried.  Savory chicken also has Chinese spices added. This is an attempt to come close to the famous Savory chicken recipe.

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Savory-style Chicken


  • 1 whole chicken
  • 1 bundle lemon grass ('tanglad'), crushed
  • Sesame oil

  • Marinade:
  • 1 bundle lemon grass, crushed, chopped
  • 1 head garlic, crushed
  • 2 cups soy sauce
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground pepper
  • 1 tsp ngohiong powder (Chinese five-spice powder)
  • Spring onions, chopped
  • 2 pcs bay leaves

  • Gravy:
  • 3 tbsp. cooking oil or olive oil
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 tbsp. peanut butter (unsweetened)
  • 1/8 tsp ngohiong powder(Chinese five-spice powder)
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Mix all marinade ingredients (except bay leaves) and put in a blender. Blend marinade mixture on low until lemongrass and garlic are finely chopped. Set aside for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Filter and discard solid particles of the marinade mixture using a sieve.
  3. Combine chicken, marinade mixture and bay leaves in a plastic zip-loc bag, marinate overnight in refrigerator.
  4. The following day, stuff chicken with lemongrass. Let stand for about 30 mins.
  5. Roast chicken in oven at 425°F for 1 1/2 hour (Note: a better way is to use a probe thermometer and when the internal temperature of the thickest part of the chicken reaches 175°, pull the chicken from the oven).
  6. Prepare basting sauce by mixing 2 tbsp. sesame oil to the marinade, baste chicken in oven every 15-20 mins.
  7. Roast until golden brown.
  8. Serve with the prepared gravy.
  9. ---- How to Make the Gravy:
  10. Mix cooking oil and 1/4 cup flour.
  11. Stir mixture in a sauce pan over low heat for about 4 minutes, until the color changes to brown.
  12. Mix the remaining flour into the chicken broth and pour in to the pan.
  13. Add ngohiong powder (5 spice), peanut butter
  14. Bring the mixture to a boil and stir cook for a few minutes until the mixture thickens
  15. Add more broth if necessary.
  16. Add salt and pepper to taste.

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