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Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking Hardcover – April 19, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 116 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


TRULY MEXICAN by Roberto Santibañez with J. J. Goode and Shelley Wiseman focuses on sauces, with chapters on salsas, guacamoles, adobos and moles. So rather than create composed dishes, you can use his unusual red peanut sauce or deep, rich adobo D. F., made with chiles and Mexican chocolate, to dress rotisserie chicken. Try a few more recipes from Mr. Santibañez — Rosa Mexicano's culinary director before he opened Fonda in Brooklyn — and anchos, pasillas and guajillos could become regulars in your cupboard. (New York Times Dining Section, November 2011)

Santibañez, a Le Cordon Bleu–trained chef and owner of the Brooklyn eatery, Fonda, born and raised in Mexico City, didn't set out to pen a "comprehensive" guide to Mexican cooking or the rich history of the country's food, but instead focuses solely on sauces--from salsas to adobos to moles--emphasizing techniques that home cooks can master and use in various dishes. With the goal "to convert as many readers as I could from people who would love to cook Mexican food to people who cook Mexican food they love," the author lays a solid foundation with a chapter on ingredients, technique, and equipment. The 140 recipes include a selection of guacamoles including departures from the classic such as a blue cheese guacamole, an apple-tequila guacamole, and a seafood guacamole. Recipes for adobos lead readers to main courses featuring various proteins such as adobo-braised lamb or a grilled skirt steak marinated in adobo. While one won't find desserts or suggested menus, the author's expertise is conveyed in a straightforward and inspiring tone that will instill confidence in cooks eager to prepare Mexican meals at home, regardless of previous experience or skill level. (Apr.) (Publishers Weekly, March 2011)

From the Back Cover

Praise for Truly Mexican

"Roberto Santibañez is that rare bird—a great chef and a great teacher—and it's the combination of these talents that makes this book so wonderful. It's an excellent tutorial on Mexican sauces: the ingredients, the techniques, the multiple dishes you can make from each of them, as well as the lip-smacking side dishes that go with them. If you want to cook Mexican food at home more often—and who doesn't?—this is the book for you."
Sara Moulton, author of Sara Moulton's Everyday Family Dinners

"Truly Mexican breathes the soul and spirit of Mexican cuisine. It is an exceptional book that discloses the essence of Mexican cuisine, from simple street foods like tacos to complex masterpieces like moles. An essential work for anyone who is passionate about this amazing cuisine."
Mark Miller, author of The Great Chile Book, Tamales, Tacos, and other books

"With this text, Chef Santibañez has moved the understanding of Mexican cuisine forward in a significant way. Although the recipes in this book are, by themselves, a wonderful collection, Roberto delivers them in a format that leaves the reader with true knowledge of the Mexican kitchen."
Mark Erickson, Certified Master Chef and Vice President–Dean of Culinary Education at The Culinary Institute of America

"Roberto Santibañez's excellent Truly Mexican is a book that should be on the shelves of home cooks who really want to know what Mexican food is all about."
Zarela Martinez, www.zarela.com


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1 edition (April 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470499559
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470499559
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 1.1 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (116 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #80,089 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
I got this book because I love Fonda, Roberto Santibanez's restaurant in Brooklyn, and because I just moved to a college town in the midwest and was hurting REAL BAD for good mexican food. We don't get that here-- just things with sticky orange cheese sauce. So if I wanted good Mexican, i had to learn how to make it. And since Fonda was the restaurant that really opened my eyes to the endless, fresh, and elegant possibilities of Mexican food, this book seemed like a good choice.

My first time out, i did exactly what you are NOT supposed to do and tackled the most complicated recipe in the book, the black mole from Oaxaca. He suggests you start simpler and work up to that, but I was hungry and ambitious. I invited a friend over and we made an evening of it, taking turns with the roasting, seeding, and frying, and then we waited, while it burbled gently on the stove, and read People en Espanol. We poached chicken breasts and also made the fresh tomatillo salsa, and then we sat down to eat with our friends. You have never heard such amazement-- from us and from them. We made this?! We made this! We can;t believe we made this! It was worth every minute, and that is a recipe i would not have wanted to attempt in less capable hands.

Since then, I've made the Pistachio pipian, carnitas, a bunch of the salsas (try the cucumber!) and three adobos. And I am a Mexican cooking goddess, right here in the snowy midwest.
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Format: Hardcover
I have Santibanez' first book and his Enchiladas Suizas are my go-to recipe. I've seen him occasionally on TV. He is not as well known as Rick Bayless, but he is the real deal. I love the way this book is organized--three notable chapters are (1) SALSAS: recipes using mostly fresh ingredients such as tomatoes, tomatillos, fresh peppers, onions, and sometimes mixed with dried chiles, etc. (2) GUACAMOLES: about a dozen variations to play with; (3) ADOBOS: recipes using dried chilies and very few pantry ingredients such as salt, vinegar, sugar, etc.. Another chapter on MOLES is there when feeling more adventurous to use more ingredients and when the time allows. I jumped in w/the Adobos. Used some guajillos I had stored. I got my feet wet with the dried guajillo adobo paste, then marinated and grilled a skirt steak with it. I am 'jumping ahead' today to a 3-chile blend adobo. Dried chilies are available most everywhere now and tons of places online so no excuse to not make these. Even the layout of each chapter shows thought and clear planning as well. The one-chili adobo recipes come first, then the two-, and 3-chili blend adobos. I find this so user friendly when entering a new domain of cooking with chilies. He explains that adobos can be used as a thicker paste to marinate and coat a meat/fish for grilling/frying, or using more of it with broth it can be used for slow cooking and braising. He gives specific recipes using all kinds of meats while recommending specific adobos for each. The only change I make is to add more sweetener by a tbs. or two (agave, honey, etc) than he lists and sometimes when he doesn't. Unless you're a 'Truly' Mexican chili head, you may agree with me. To my palate, it helps to balance out the heat.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
I'm slightly scared to write this review, because another reviewer got flamed pretty bad for saying the same thing. But I have to reiterate. Regardless if it is forewarned in the description that - this is not much of a mexican "meal" cookbook (as in, preparing an entire dish/entree). I bought this as a gift for someone to learn some mexican recipes, to cook actual mexican meals. But I have returned this book because it probably only contains maybe 2 dozen (if that) actual recipes for entrees (and thats pushing it too because there are seperate recipes for each one chicken with X sauce, pork with X sauce, fish with X sauce. There are roughly 160 pages dedicates to sauces, salsa, guacamole (this is not an exaggeration). Needless to say - without knowing any better - sauces must be important to mexican cooking - but this book would have been much better if titled "Mexican sauces, salsa, and guacamole... and a few things to put it on". I'm writing this review because I'm confident it will help someone else who might want to buy this book.
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Format: Hardcover
Living in Northern California I have many options for good, authentic Mexican food. However, reproducing some of the more complicated items at home can be a challenge. With regional variations and a different version of common recipes between each family, molé and other things can be tough to tackle on your own.

The Truly Mexican cookbook provides a resource to solve this problem. In many ways it seems to reflect a more normal way of preparing these dishes at home. The style and approach is more of an assemblage rather than a more traditional cookbook. In other words, you get recipes for sauces, for meats to go with sauces and a variety of side dishes to combine with your meals as you wish.

Most home cooks will find this more accurately reflects figuring out what to fix for dinner. Often the though process goes something like this: I have pasta...what shape...okay, left over tomatoes for sauce so then what style...do I want to use the leftover chicken or some beef? In the same way you can tap the layered, fabulous flavors of traditional Mexican cooking and still use what you have on hand. In a hurry, this cookbook can be a bit frustrating. You are unlikely to be able to get a meal on the table in 20 minutes using this book. Be sure to save your explorations for those opportunities when you have a little more time and maybe even have a glass of wine while you're cooking.

You'll find sauces that clearly originated with Spanish settlers, traditional combinations from New World ingredients specifically from various regions in Mexico. Fortunately, the author provides substitutions if you don't have access to the traditional, local ingredients. One of the side dishes turned out to be our favorite.
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