- 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: 131 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #122,284 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Truly Mexican: Essential Recipes and Techniques for Authentic Mexican Cooking Hardcover – April 19, 2011
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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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I moved to Arizona a few years ago and loving Mexican food I started visiting as many as possible, but.... I just thought it should somehow be BETTER, but I didn't even really know what I meant by that! Maybe we didn't go to the right restaurants (and yes, I would LOVE to eat at Roberto's restaurants - wish he had one here in Arizona) We have crossed the border and had a couple of meals in Mexico a couple of times (day trips) and that food was new to me and completely different to what I had found in AZ, and it all led me to decide that a major life goal for me was to make incredible Mexican food at home.
I am an avid cook who loves to cook across a wide variety of cuisines and who is a bit obsessive (I admit) about sourcing unusual ingredients. I see it as a challenge and extremely thrilling to source and learn how to use a new ingredient. Luckily, in AZ there are plenty of fantastic Mexican markets where I can buy fresh Epazote, Avocado leaves, tomatillos, a wide variety of fresh and dried chiles etc. What I can't buy locally I have sourced online.
Don't be scared off by that if you don't have a Mexican market locally. Roberto suggests subbing cilantro for epazote if necessary (if you can get fresh epazote though, it is worth it) If you can't get Mexican oregano use mediterranean, many recipes call for one chile OR another in case you can't get them all. Although that said there are lots of online resources for a wide variety of dried chiles.
I have now cooked the following recipes from Truly Mexican:
- Carnitas - to die for. I made this last night and I can't tell you how excited we are to eat it again tonight, Even my extremely fussy son loved it.
- Chipotle Avocado Leaf Black Beans - Avocado leaves are new to me, but this bean side dish is amazing (I also made it last night) and the avocado leaves add a nuance that I am not even sure I can describe yet. I need to think about that, but trust me, they are worth sourcing!
- Mexican white rice - I pride myself on my rice cooking skills (I love making Thai food) but these three rice recipes elevate rice incredibly!
- Mexican red rice
- Mexican green rice
- Zucchini and corn with cream (yum. Need I say more?)
- Cooked pork and stock (this and the poached chicken is the basis of a lot of the mole and pipiane recipes)
- Poached chicken and Chicken stock (as above)
-Ancho Adobo (At first I didn't like this one as much but Roberto suggests adding sugar and vinegar to taste. Once I added Agave and Vinegar it was very good. It needed a bit of sweetness and acid to lift the earthy toasted ancho flavor)
-Pork in Adobo (using the ancho adobo recipe)
-Mexico City-Style "Little Red Mole (a litlte bitter for my tastes. I didn't love this. Did I do something wrong? Not sure until I go to Roberto's restaurant - I'm saving my pennies!
-Red Peanut Sauce - Nice but the addition of peanuts to me is a bit too much like Satay. It confused me, because it didn't taste like what I think of as Mexican food. But then thats what this book is all about for me. Teaching me what I like and don't like so I can go on to improvise.
-Mole from Puebla (like another reviewer, I cooked this first cause I was desperate to know what the hype about chocolate chile mole was all about) It was earthy, heavy, sweet, and like nothing else. I made it with chicken. I am looking forward to using the frozen leftover mole for enchiladas or tamales (when I learn how to make tamales)
-Simple Pumpkin Seed Sauce - Oh Jeez! This was very quick and easy and hit the right note for me and my guests. I made it with shrimp, but you can also make it with poached pork or chicken. I am discovering that I love the fresher, lighter sauces and moles a little more than the heavy, thick, earthy dark rich ones. But they are all good and are all an incredible culinary experience and that's what this journey is all about for me!
I think that's it to date. I haven't even touched on the salsas and guacamoles. I have made a few so far, and created a few so far myself, using these recipes as a starting point, and they have all been wonderful!
IMPORTANT :For those reviewers complaining that this book is more about sauces and doesn't give recipes for main meals, well I couldn't disagree more! Mexican food is based on courses made with sauces!
Yes there are many pages of Salsas, pgs 44-99, Guacamoles 104-119, but then you have the Adobos 122-147, Moles and Pipianes 150-209, More Ideas for Using Mexican Sauces 212-243 then Sides 246-256. So that is a LOT of recipes for main courses! Pgs 122-243 are main courses! It's simple....For some recipes you add the meat as instructed and cook until the meat is done in the sauce. For others, you make the meat in stock (recipes are provided) Using pork, chicken or turkey and add the meat to ANY of the moles, pipianes, or other "sauces" as described in each recipe! And then you have your main dish! Each recipe that that the meat is not cooked IN, tells you which poached meat or meats is suggested for that "sauce" and when to add it. I am sure that a shredded BBQ chicken would be amazing in many of these recipes for those who are pushed for time!
Anyhow, I am happy to provide any info I have about sourcing various chiles etc, because well, as I said, I'm obsessive and before substituting an ingredient for a cuisine I am unfamiliar with, I want to use the recommended ingredient so I know exactly what the chef intended it to taste like, before I start substituting and playing with recipes. That's just me. Anyone who is currently cooking from this book or who has used another great Mexican book that I need to know about and who wants to chat about it, post a reply to this because new foodie friends are the best kind of friends :)
I will be among the first in line to purchase any more of Roberto Santibanez's books and one day I hope to visit his restaurant in Brooklyn, so that I can experience this food exactly as it is supposed to be, and refine my own skills. But until then I am thrilled with my purchase of this book and my new palette of flavors!
Then it tells you how to use these ingredients - combinations and techniques to make sauces, adobos and salsas, with a whole section devoted to nut and seed-based sauces. Once you get the hang of it, it's easy to devise your own means to use things you have on hand, rather than assiduously sticking to the recipe (though they themselves are quite detailed and can be made even by novices).
The devil is in the details. For the best guacamole, for instance, the onion, chilies and cilantro need to me mashed to- not chopped - fine with salt before adding the chunked avocado. It makes all the difference. Then you apply this technique to variations you may want to try.
After roasting peppers, soak them and then discard the soaking water. Blending them with fresh water gives a cleaner flavour. Supposedly simple things that make a world of difference.
No chipotle morita peppers? Try anchos instead. Replace the almonds in a sauce with pecans if you wish. Or the vinegar with a dash of tamarind (I do that all the time). I'm from India with almost zero knowledge of traditional Mexican cuisine. I've made several recipes from this book and these far surpass the Mexican food I've eaten in restaurants so far.
I have hundreds of cookbooks, but this one has already seen heavy use since I purchased it last month. The hardcover version is worth it. I didn't realise how nuanced and varied Mexican cuisine really is until I got this book.
And there are those cascabel peppers I first learnt about from this book. I got the pound bag from Amazon. How ever did I cook without them before? Now that I have them, I want to add them to everything.
If you want to master contemporary, true Mexican food, while respecting the rich history and tradition of its roots and origins, I highly recommend this book. If you add this book to your culinary library I also recommend that you not just race into the recipes, but rather you take the time to read and understand the first section (41 pages) titled "Basics" - it sets the stage for what Chef Santibanez provides in the rest of the book.
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I'm Mexican by birth, but I've been raised here all of my life.Read more