Take a walk through London, New York or Amsterdam and it won’t be long before you will have stumbled upon a taco truck or a burrito bar. The popularity of Mexican dishes is soaring right now, so to encourage you all to have a go at cooking this flavoursome fare yourselves, we have compiled a list of our ten favourite Mexican cookbooks to inspire you.
Written by award-winning author and TV chef, Rick Bayless, Mexican Everyday is the busy person’s guide to wholesome Mexican cuisine. Packed full of delicious recipes, all of which take less than 30 minutes to prepare, this recipe book is one half of a two part best-selling series. Bayless understands that the majority of people don’t get home early enough during the week to spend hours stirring a rich broth on the stove, so none of his recipes require much preparation at all. Try his chorizo, potato and mushroom tacos for a speedy yet delicious supper, or for something even more impressive have a go at the snapper, zucchini and toasty garlic mojo combo.
Written by 2005 Masterchef winner and co-founder of the hugely popular Mexican street food restaurant chain Wahaca, Wahaca Mexican Food At Home is Thomasina’s Miers greatest book yet. In the opening pages Miers takes us back in time to when she first arrived in Mexico at just 18 years of age, completely mesmerised by the smells, colours and flavours that filled the country. We journey with her through her early career right up to the opening of Wahaca. The rest of the book is packed full of delicious recipes including chicken taquitos, esquites, corn pancakes and empanadas. All of this yummy goodness is broken up with detailed descriptions of the differences between types of chillies, variants of tequila and all those corn-based wraps.
The absolute definitive guide to Mexican cooking, Mexico: The Cookbook is more an encyclopaedia of authentic Mexican dishes than a standard recipe book. With over 700 detailed recipes included, even the most learned Mexican food expert would be pushed to think of a dish not already listed. A beautiful book in both design and substance, Mexico: The Cookbook is certainly a book you will be showing off to friends and family for years to come. Curated by legendary Mexican food authority, Margarita Carillo Arronte, there is no wonder that this book is so comprehensive. Arronte has worked as the Mexican Ministry of Agriculture’s chef, she led the campaign to get Mexican cuisine recognised by UNESCO, is the leader of the slow food movement in Baja and owns two restaurants. Mexican by birth and still living in Mexico City at 92 years of age today, her chosen collection of recipes can’t be faulted.
When most of us think of Mexican cooking we think of frying pans and hot plates, but in The Mexican Slowcooker Deborah M Schneider shows us just how delicious traditional Mexican fare can be after a few hours in the slow cooker. Moles, enchiladas, burritos, sopas, carnitas and all of the other classic Mexican favourites have their reserved spot in this recipe book and there’s even a helpful guide to choosing the right slow cooker in the introductory chapter. The only slight downside to Schneider’s recipes is the lengthy preparation times that many of the dishes take. Nevertheless, the enhanced flavour and tenderness the meaty dishes get from the lovingly prepared and slow-cooked process, is well worth that extra bit of effort and patience. Alongside the abundance of recipes, Schneider also gives advice on when it’s okay to use dried chillies in cooking and when fresh chillies are an absolute must, as well as listing all of the store cupboard essentials needed to get started on a spicy slow-cooking journey.
For those with a sweet tooth, Fany Gerson’s My Sweet Mexico provides readers with an extensive knowledge of the history of Mexican candied goods as well as suggesting many tempting recipes. The book has sections for authentic pastries, breads, candies, beverages and frozen treats – making sure that everybody’s sugar-filled vice is catered for. From Latin American staples such as churros and Garibaldis to the more innovative and unusual recipes like avocado ice cream and mezcal trifle – there is certain to be a dessert completely new to every reader. A brilliant added extra is the vocabulary section at the front of the book where Gerson explains to us which many of the unusual ingredients listed in some of the more traditional recipes are. Aguardiente is a type of clear brandy, and cream of tartar is the acid that is formed from the scrapings of wine casks – delicious!
The revolution to which this book’s title refers to, is the return to pre-Hispanic cooking methods and the world’s recent obsession with Mexican tapas-style dishes. In Viva La Revolucion Fiona Dunlop provides trend-loving foodies with a collection of recipes created by Mexico’s top chefs. Tortillas and tacos have just as much a place in this book as they have in any other Mexican cookbook, but equally as much focus is put on trendy new dishes. Think chillies with a passion fruit sauce, and clam and artichoke soup. Rather than being divided into the typical cookery book sections of appetiser, main course, side dish and dessert; Viva La Revolucion is divided by region. This way readers are able to learn about the different cooking styles and trends in each part of Mexico. Dunlop even includes a list of Mexican food suppliers in the UK and a list of websites where you can order harder to come by ingredients.
Shay Ola’s Death by Burrito is packed full of tasty street food recipes and stunning food photography. Forget cheesy beef mince tacos and greasy plates of nachos, the dishes in this book have terrific style. The traditional, authentic recipes do come with lengthy ingredients lists but for those special occasions when you want to make that extra bit of effort, they are just perfect. A few favourite recipes from Death by Burrito are the chipotle poppers, the drunken beans, the confit duck and mango, and of course, the arroz con leche (rice pudding).
Compiled by the founders of popular London restaurant Benito’s Hat, Real Mexican Food includes a host of hugely popular burrito, taco and salsa recipes, many of which have been tried and tested on the British public. Have a go at the guacamole with homemade tortilla chips (perfect for snacking on whilst the main course is cooking) and then take a chance on the pico de gallo and salsa brava before washing it all down with a Benito’s Hat margarita. An authentic and personal recipe collection, each dish has its own story which is explained in a box-out next to the ingredients and method. The recipes themselves are all relatively simple to make, and even the most inexperienced chef could easily knock up a delicious dish with just a bit of self-belief. A detailed list of UK and US suppliers and stockists is also included.
Australian celebrity chef, Ben Milbourne, lives by his eight commandments which he shares with readers in Mexican Craving. He tells us to cook because we enjoy it and to make it a celebration. With this book packed full of delicious, shareable dishes, celebrating daily cooking is certainly an easy task. The only Mexican food Milbourne knew as a kid was pre-packaged tacos, but now he is teaching the world how to make flavoursome beer bubble oysters, chorizo crumble, and Mexican ratatouille as if this is the type of cuisine he has been eating his entire life. Mexican Craving encourages people to cook with friends and to share their creations buffet style, so each meal is packed full of a dozen different tastes and textures. Helpfully, wherever Milbourne has suggested an ingredient that is hard to find outside of Mexico, he has given an alternative option too.
The Julia Child of Mexican cookery books, Diana Kennedy has a huge following of fans of Latin American fare, and her book The Essential Cuisines of Mexico is certainly a favourite. When Kennedy first started writing about this delicious and exotic cuisine a quarter of a century ago, she was well ahead of her time. Today the rest of us are just about catching up with her insightful culinary finds and beginning our own food-focused journeys around Mexico. A staple in any spice-loving foodie’s kitchen, The Essential Cuisines of Mexico spans across many generations. Grab a copy and get cooking her dried shrimp fritters, chalupas, pumpkin seed dip and chili seasoned pork.