Pollo con Wasakaka (Roasted Chicken with Garlic Sauce)

Pollo con wasakaka (Roasted chicken with garlic sauce)

So you have guests, and you want to impress them with your mad cooking skills, but you don’t want to go out hunting for fancy, exotic ingredients. Few dishes seem to impress people more than a meat roast, it looks like the kind of thing one ought to eat at a restaurant, but fear not, I’ve got you covered.

Pollo con wasakaka (Roasted chicken with garlic sauce)

In the almost 10 years that I’ve been keeping this website I’ve received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails requesting recipes that we didn’t have (and many we did have). I love getting these requests for new recipes – they are like meandering paths to exploring the richness of our cuisine, and I’ve discovered many new dishes this way.

But sometimes I get the strangest requests, not least the ones for dishes that no Dominican ever prepares at home (hello? nobody makes telera, our Christmas bread, that’s what we have supermarkets, colmados and roadside vendors for). This is one of those dishes.

Pollo con wasakaka (Roasted chicken with garlic sauce)

This is actually the flagship dish of a popular chain of restaurants in the Dominican Republic, think of the Colonel, but with a tropical flair. Their recipe is not common knowledge, but I can make an educated guess as to its ingredients and preparation.

The chicken at the restaurants is prepared over coal fire, but in this recipe we’ll give you with an option that can be prepared using a regular oven. The wasakaka is a thin sauce used to moisten the chicken.

Buen provecho!

Aunt Clara
Pollo con Wasakaka (Roasted Chicken with Garlic Sauce)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Pollo con Wasakaka (Roasted Chicken with Garlic Sauce) is the flagship dish of a restaurant chain in the Dominican Republic, think Colonel, but with a tropical flair.
Serves: 6 servings
  • 1 large whole chicken (or 2 doz. drumsticks)
  • ½ bitter orange (or 1 lime)
  • 1 tablespoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon of oregano
  • ¼ cup of cooking oil
For the wasakaka
  • ½ cup of bitter orange or lime juice
  • ¼ cup of olive oil
  • 2 sprigs of curly parsley, chopped (approx. 3 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed garlic
  • 1 cup of water
  • ½ teaspoon of salt, or more to taste
  • ¼ teaspoon of pepper, or more to taste
Roasting the chicken
  1. Pre-heat the oven at 300°F (150°C).
  2. Scrub chicken with bitter orange or lime inside and out, then season with salt, pepper and oregano inside and out.

  3. Brush with oil to keep the skin from drying too much.
If you are roasting a whole chicken
  1. Cover the tip of the wings and thighs with foil to prevent them from burning.
  2. Use cooking twine to tie the thighs together, do the same with the wings to keep them flat against the breasts.
  3. Roast at 300°F [150°C] for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove the foil and turn up heat to 450°F [230°C] the last fifteen minutes.
  5. Chicken should be golden brown and skin should be crispy. I suggest you use a thermometer to check for doneness, or pinch on the inside of the thigh, the juices should run clear (no hint of blood).
If you are roasting drumsticks
  1. Roast at 300°F [150°C] for 25 minutes, or until skin is crispy and golden brown.
Making the sauce
  1. Mix with the bitter orange juice (or lime), olive oil, parsley, garlic and water.
  2. Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and let it rest until it cools to room temperature.
  3. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Serve sauce alongside the chicken.
As I mentioned above, this dish is usually bought at a local restaurant. Their recipe is not common knowledge, but I can make an educated guess as to its ingredients and preparation. The chicken at the restaurants is prepared over coal fire, in this recipe we give you with an option that can be prepared using a regular oven.

The sauce is best served at room temperature.

Needless to say that this is definitely not the exact sauce as the one from the above-mentioned restaurant, it's a decent approximation at best, and a darn-tasty adaptation at worst. I leave it to you to decide.

This dish is usually served with some boiled yuca, or some tostones, but I found that my guests had no complaints about my choice to go with some tasty oven-fried potatoes with spices (they are not really fried). Some fresh salad finishes this nicely.

You need to use a roasting tray with rack, or else the bottom of the chicken will just boil in its own juices.
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{ 18 comments… add one }

  • Ronnie December 11, 2014, 8:47 PM

    I prepared this chicken yesterday and it was so delicious. The sauce was also a hit! Thank you :)

  • Sharon October 4, 2014, 3:46 PM

    What is curly parsley? If I can’t get it can I substitute it with regular parsley?

  • Minerva March 21, 2014, 1:34 PM

    Making this recipe right now with a Moro de habichuelas negras con coco and the chicken looks wonderful I can’t wait!

  • Maria Hernandez August 30, 2013, 1:09 PM

    As a teenage girl, who’s parents are full blooded Dominican, I have to say that your recipes are the best and so tasteful! I always go on your website whenever I wanna show my big sisters or friends that I know how to cook more than the average :)

  • Sarah March 13, 2013, 8:06 PM

    This is my second time making this wonderful recipe the only thing i change was the bitter orange instead I mix lemon and pepper seasoning, oregano and salt .Thank you this was fantastic .

  • Nellie December 27, 2012, 3:04 PM

    This recipe sounds delicious but I had just one question. At what point do you use the sauce for the chicken?

    • Aunt Clara December 27, 2012, 4:11 PM

      I thought the pictures gave a pretty good idea, but thanks for asking. I guess I need to be more specific.

  • Diandra May 31, 2012, 12:38 AM

    I just prepared this and the sauce is PERFECTION! I tweeked it by using more garlic and other spices. Also the chicken legs were not done in 25 minutes @ 300 degrees. After 25 mins I raised the temp to 450 for about 10 mins and the skin was also PERFECTION… Thanks for a new and amazing dish for me and my loved ones!

    • Aunt_Clara June 3, 2012, 8:19 PM

      Did you use chicken legs or drumsticks? The recipe calls for drumsticks, not chicken legs (which would take longer to cook as you found out).

  • Amrita May 9, 2012, 7:20 AM

    Love this! I'm always on the lookout for roast chicken recipes and this one is such a twist off the traditional roast chicken.

  • Lucy January 28, 2012, 11:08 AM

    I love your website. My boyfriend is 100% Dominican and this helps me learn how to cook the foods he loves…..Thank You!

    I'm making Wasakaka Chicken with White Rice and Sweet Plantains for his Birthday dinner….Wish me luck!

  • Tiffany Peterson (@T December 22, 2011, 8:33 PM

    You never mentioned where the garlic is used in this recipe.

    • Aunt Clara December 23, 2011, 7:31 AM

      I put the recipe in our new standard format to make it easier to follow. Please see step 10.

  • Julia Woodburg September 6, 2011, 4:58 AM

    I'm so happy to have stumbled on this site. I recently discovered Dominican cuisine and I can't get enough of it. My little "hole in the wall" restaurant makes the most delicious chicken – very similar to this recipe I would say – and pork ribs in Dominican sauce that is a gastronomic delight. ….I look forward to exploring the recipes further.

  • Cris March 20, 2011, 2:45 PM

    I put it in the regular oven right? not the broiler?

  • Carmen Rosa January 19, 2011, 9:49 AM

    omg, that looks so delicious! your pictures make me hungry!