Von Diaz shares recipe for lemongrass adobo grilled chicken with pineapple from new cookbook

Check out the delicious cucumber side dish to serve with it!

March 15, 2024, 7:57 AM

Want a taste of a tropical island without paying to book a trip? Von Diaz has the culinary ticket to transport your tastebuds with recipes from her new cookbook.

The Puerto Rican-born and Southern-raised cook joined "Good Morning America" on Friday, equipped with recipes for home cooks from "Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking."

PHOTO: The cover of Von Diaz's new cookbook, "Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking."
The cover of Von Diaz's new cookbook, "Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking."
Lauren Vied Allen/Chronicle Books

Check out the full recipes below and find all the kitchen tools you need to make the recipe.

Adobo seasoning

Island: Puerto Rico
Yield: About 4 1/2 teaspoons (13 grams)
Total time: 5 minutes

"Adobo is an all-purpose seasoned salt commonly used in Puerto Rico and across Latin America. It's a great addition to just about any savory Puerto Rican dish. Unlike Sazón (left) it doesn't include annatto, sonit doesn't add the same vibrant orange color. It's an incredible cheat, and is particularly good in marinades for grilled meats."

2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more as needed
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well with a fork. Taste and add more salt if desired.

Lemongrass adobo grilled chicken with pineapple

PHOTO: A plate of lemongrass adobo grilled chicken with pineapple tips.
A plate of lemongrass adobo grilled chicken with pineapple tips.
Lauren Vied Allen

Island: Hawaii
Yield: 4 to 6 servings
Active time: 30 minutes
Total time: At least 2 hours

"Inspired by the diverse communities of immigrants -- Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Filipino, Portuguese and Puerto Rican among others -- who came to call Hawaii home as agricultural workers, this recipe blends garlic, yuzu, ginger, adobo, and pineapple for a deeply tropical dish. Serve it as an entree with coconut rice and sauteed bok choy, or on top of a green salad with lots of fresh cucumber."

2 tablespoons chopped fresh lemongrass
1 tablespoon chopped peeled fresh ginger
3 large garlic cloves
1 tablespoon Adobo Seasoning (recipe above)
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
2 tablespoons yuzu juice or sour orange juice (see Tips)
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for garnish
1 teaspoon mirin
6 large boneless, skinless chicken thighs (about 1 1/2 pounds or 680 grams)
1 fresh pineapple, peeled and sliced into 1-inch (2.5-centimeter) rounds
1 to 2 tablespoons grapeseed or vegetable oil
Lemon or lime wedges, for garnish


Make the adobo seasoning according to the recipe above and set aside.

In a small food processor, combine the lemongrass, ginger, garlic, adobo and salt, and pulse until well chopped, stopping to scrape down the sides with a spatula as needed. Add the vinegar, yuzu juice, cilantro and mirin, and pulse to combine, scraping down the sides and lid of the food processor as needed, to form a loose paste.

Pat the chicken dry with paper towels, then place in a large resealable bag. Pour in the marinade and seal the bag, leaving a little air so the marinade can fully cover the chicken. Shake well and gently massage the marinade into the meat. Marinate in the refrigerator for 12 to 24 hours if possible, or for at least 30 minutes at room temperature.

When ready to cook, heat a grill to 400 F (200 C). In a large nonreactive mixing bowl, toss the pineapple slices in the grapeseed oil until fully coated. Remove the chicken from the bag, shaking off any excess marinade. Reserve the remaining marinade for basting.

Place the chicken and pineapple on the grill, turning every few minutes and basting the chicken between turns. If anything starts to burn, move it to the cool side of the grill (see page 233). Grill for 15 to 25 minutes, until the chicken is tender and breaks easily when pressed with tongs. The pineapple may cook more quickly than the chicken, so keep a close eye on it and flip often, brushing with additional oil if it starts to look dry.

Transfer the cooked chicken and pineapple to a rimmed baking sheet and tent loosely with foil. Let rest for 7 to 10 minutes before serving with lemon wedges.

Tip: If you can't find yuzu or sour orange juice, substitute 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh lime juice mixed with 1 teaspoon orange juice.

Cucumber chow

"A recipe to add to your weekly rotation, cucumber chow comes together in seconds, and is so easy that you can make just enough for the meal you're about to have. It's crunchy and refreshing -- and because it's quick and adaptable, it's a perfect side dish for Chamoru Barbecue Chicken (page 60) or Pork Ribs (page 64), or to add balance alongside rich stews such as Haitian Soup Joumou (page 173)."

Island: Trinidad/Jamaica
Yield: 4 servings
Active time: 5 minutes
Total time: 20 minutes

2 large cucumbers, peeled and chopped
3 medium garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup (20 grams) finely chopped fresh culantro leaves
1 small scotch bonnet pepper, seeded and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
2 tablespoons kosher salt


In a medium bowl with a lid, combine the cucumbers, garlic, culantro, pepper, lime juice and salt. Cover and chill for at least 15 minutes, then serve. Cucumber chow will keep for up to 2 days in the refrigerator.

Excerpted from "Islas: A Celebration of Tropical Cooking" by Von Diaz, © 2023. Published by Chronicle Books. Photographs © Lauren Vied Allen.

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