7 Cookbooks to Enjoy This Hispanic Heritage Month

·6 min read

With recipes like savory empanadas and dulce de leche layer cake, your mouth will be watering before you even start cooking.

courtesy
courtesy

Latin America has a reputation for being an eclectic melting pot of flavors. From avocado to saffron, ordinary ingredients are transformed into incredibly decorative and delicious dishes that send our tastebuds traveling to warm and tropical lands. This month, in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month, spend some extra time in your kitchen trying out recipes from all over Latin America and the Caribbean. From Argentinean empanadas to Mexican carne asada quesadillas to Peruvian ceviche, the recipes in the seven cookbooks below will satisfy a hunger for comforting, flavor-packed meals.

Choosing just seven cookbooks to cover all 33 countries is an impossible task, but these picks go beyond food to incorporate the history, culture, and legacy of Hispanic heritage. Dive into these books to humor your inner chef, soothe your travel bug, and learn more about the tradition behind these foods.

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<em>Argentinian Street Food: Empanadas, Helados, and Dulce de Leche</em> by Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

One thing about street food is that it's made to be eaten on the go. By definition, it's hard to recreate the recipes and the euphoria of grabbing just the right palm-sized meal and loving every single bite. This homage to Argentinian street food focuses on recreating three of the most basic finds: empanadas, ice cream, and dulce de leche. The traditional recipes in this tome can easily be made at home and will immediately transport you to the streets of Buenos Aires and Cordoba. Enrique Zanoni and Gaston Stivelmaher, the chefs behind the cookbook, are an internationally recognized duo known for their three Parisian restaurants and a food truck, which sells authentic Argentinian street food. These recipes are the blueprint for bringing a taste of South America closer to home.

<em>Diasporican: A Puerto Rican Cookbook</em> by Illyanna Maisonet

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

This one is a bit of a tease. The book is currently available for pre-order until Oct 8, when it will be released to the public. But, fans of Illyanna Maisonet's Instagram page and blog "Eat Gorda Eat" are impatiently counting down the days. From its indigenous Taino roots to its African ancestors to its Spanish colonial past to its current U.S. territory status, Puerto Rico never pretends to be a one-trick pony. In fact, "La Isla del Encanto" is not one island at all. Instead, it is an archipelago of 143 islands and islets—with a variety of culture and flavor. Maisonet is a San Francisco-based food writer who is part of the Puerto Rican diaspora on the U.S. mainland. She has preserved her roots by researching Puerto Rico's food heritage. Not only does this cookbook share her family's classic recipes, passed down through the generations, but she also creates a cultural food map of sorts, tracing back recipe traditions to the many cultures behind them. From tostones to rabbit fricassee, you'll be tasting a rich and flavorful history on your plate.

<em>The Fire of Peru</em> by Ricardo Zarate

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

Peruvian-born, Los Angeles-based chef Ricardo Zarate opened the doors of his first restaurant Mo-Chica in 2009. Since then, he penned this book of 100 recipes that span the spectrum of indigenous, Japanese, Chinese, European, and American influences, which are the trademark of Peru's culinary scene. These recipes pair well with his accounts of growing up in Lima, a globally recognized food center. From the traditional ceviche to the more inventive Peruvian Fried Chicken with Rocoto Aioli and Salsa Criolla, you'll find ways to transform foods you once knew into artful plates that you didn't know would taste so good. An added bonus of this book: It offers substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients, so you won't be out of luck if your local grocery store doesn't carry an important item.

<em>Latin American Paleo Cooking</em> by Amanda Torres

TheCuriousCoconut.com
TheCuriousCoconut.com

Amanda Torres' blog "The Curious Coconut" is chock-full of tips and recipes for anyone with dietary restrictions. With over 80 gluten-, grain-, and dairy-free recipes, this unique book promises classic flavors from Cuba, Brazil, Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, and more. Torres put together this collection of tried and true recipes in collaboration with her Puerto Rican mother-in-law, Milagros Torres. With tasty favorites like Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef in Tomato Sauce), Empanadas al Horno (Baked Meat Turnovers) and Pollo a la Brasa (Marinated Roasted Chicken), you won't notice anything missing from these dishes.

<em>Mi Cocina</em> by Rick Martínez

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

With vibrant and colorful illustrations that pop off the page, this cookbook tells the love story between a chef and the country of his ancestors. Raised in Texas, Rick Martínez never lost sight of his Mexican roots. In fact, his exploration of Mexican cuisine is interwoven with stories about the indigenous to Hispanic heritages that inspired each dish. After visiting 156 cities across all 32 Mexican states, Martínez documented traditional recipes from home cooks and local chefs throughout the country. Whether you've got a taste for Tacos Gobernador or Albondigas en Chipotle, this beautiful book will offer step-by-step instructions to serve the most flavorful and meaningful dishes you'll have all month.

<em>Amalia&#39;s Guatemalan Kitchen</em> by Amalia Moreno-Damgaard

Amaliallc.com
Amaliallc.com

Amalia Moreno-Damgaard is a Guatemalan-American chef who is French-trained. Her bestseller cookbook shows her love for Guatemalan cuisine—which has traditions dating back to the ancient Mayan civilization—through 170 of her favorite authentic recipes. In the book, you'll find iconic dishes like mole de plátano and carne asada con chirmol, along with helpful suggestions for recipe variations that will expand your home-chef abilities, and both vegetarian and gluten-free options. The recipes will take you on an intoxicating tour of Guatemala's volcanoes, lakes, and rainforests, incorporating coffee, chocolate, and peppers in ways you won't soon forget. Plus, if you're interested in trying more of Moreno-Damgaard's spin on regional food, you can grab her latest title, Amalia's MesoAmerican Table.

<em>The Chilean Kitchen</em> by Pilar Hernandez and Eileen Smith

Amazon.com
Amazon.com

With an eye toward Chilean hospitality, this cookbook is ideal for the person who loves to host dinner parties and festive gatherings. Authors Pilar Hernandez and Eileen Smith evoke the spirit of lazy lunches and epicurean dinners that never end. The 75 seasonal recipes include everything from savory starters, like carmelized onion empanadas, through dessert, like dulce de leche thousand layer cake. Categorized by season, the book is designed with intention, to ensure the flavors of each book are as fresh and mouth-watering as possible.