Chef Tom and The Adobo of Your Dreams

Chicken Adobo is a favorite dish from the Philippines. Simple ingredients and a ton of flavor.  Traditionally it’s cooked stovetop, boiled in its marinade, until the liquid goes away, the chicken gets a lovely, caramel burnish, and the flavors become a concentrated umami. I especially love biting into the whole peppercorns. No wonder it’s one of the most popular dishes.

The Philippines

It’s always served with plenty of steamed white rice. I discovered a method for making steamed rice that is literally foolproof. Well, unless said fool is so loaded at the time that he forgets to pay attention, the water boils away and the whole thing burns, filling the house with acrid smoke (happened to a friend of mine).

Added bonus. It’s Fall, so that means the markets are full of squash of all kinds. One of my faves is Delicata. Nice, nutty flavor, pretty to look at, and you can eat the peeling. I love that part. You’ll see, too, that when it’s done and plated it looks like a Winter landscape, so it’s the perfect holiday side dish. Sprinkle some snipped chives over the top and you have Christmas on a plate.


Chicken Adobo

Serve 6 (or a hungry 3)


6 large chicken thighs

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 cloves garlic, crushed

1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns

1 1/2 bay leaves

Combine the chicken thighs, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large pot. Cover and marinate the chicken in the refrigerator for 1 to 3 hours.

The traditional method is to cook the chicken and sauce on the stove top with a gentle boil, until the liquid evaporates and the chicken is tender. An easier method is to place the chicken (skin side up) and marinade in a baking dish and roast at 375 for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken has an internal temp of 165.

Serve with steamed rice.


Best Steamed Rice Ever

Serves 4-6


2 cups white basmati rice
½ teaspoon salt


This recipe calls for a steamer pot. The kind with two inserts, one for pasta and a smaller one for meat and veggies. If you have a steamer pot with just one basket, it should work too.

Remove the larger steamer, put rice in the bottom of the pot and fill with enough cold water to cover the rice. Using your hands, scoop up the rice, scrub it together between your palms a few times, then carefully pour the starchy water out. Repeat until the water is clear. Fill the pot with enough water to about an inch over the scrubbed rice. Add the salt and give a stir.

Set the pot over a med-high flame and bring to a boil. Boil for five minutes, covered. Dump the pre-cooked rice and water into the top steamer in the sink to drain the water. Put an inch of fresh cold water in the bottom of the pot, place the steamer with the pre-cooked rice in the top and cover. Bring the water to a boil over med-high heat and steam rice for ten minutes. Test to see if done.

Been using this method for years now. The grains are nicely separated and the rice is fluffy. Works with any rice, you just have to adjust both the pre-cook boil and the final steam times to make sure the rice is done. So easy.

Serve with the chicken adobo.



Roasted Delicata Squash with Goat Cheese and Pomegranate

Serves 4-6


3 Delicata squash

1/4 cup olive oil

Salt and Pepper

6 ounces goat cheese

½ cup pomegranate seeds

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wash and dry the squash. Cut lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Cut the squash crosswise into 1-inch  thick slices.

Put sliced squash in a large bowl and toss with olive oil and salt and pepper. Place squash, evenly spaced, onto two lightly oiled baking sheets. Roast for 30 minutes, flipping halfway through. Top roasted squash with crumbled goat cheese and pomegranate seeds.



Chef Tom is currently Resident Chef for a small tech firm in San Francisco. He also teaches cooking classes, caters small parties and leads overseas culinary tours. His specialty for the last twelve years has been cooking for people with food allergies and sensitivities. His motto is “Food should give you pleasure, not pressure.”

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