By Christine Salins.
“Potatoes, tomatoes, peppers, corn and cocoa have become staple ingredients around the world. Wherever you are, you eat from Latin America every day, whether you realize it or not.
So says Peruvian chef Virgilio Martínez in his introduction to The Latin American Cookbook (Phaidon, $65), a comprehensive and definitive work that celebrates the rich culinary diversity and heritage of Latin America.
The book was compiled by Martínez and his team at Mater Iniciativa in Lima. Tasked with documenting indigenous Latin American foods, Mater Iniciativa is the research center of Martínez’s restaurant empire. His restaurant, Central, has appeared on the World’s Top 50 list and has been repeatedly named the #1 restaurant in Latin America.
With 600 recipes from 22 countries, from the Rio Grande to Cape Horn, the book brings together an abundant collection of recipes ranging from empanadas, moles and tacos to tortillas, tamales and caipirinhas.
The recipes are accompanied by beautiful photos, both of landscapes and of stylized dishes with regional crockery and linen. The book is a pleasure to hold with its textured cover woven in a pink and orange geometric pattern.
Martínez consulted more than 60 sources, including village elders, home cooks, anthropologists and cookbooks, to gather information and recipes ranging from iconic specialties to regional specialties and distinctive local recipes for cooking at the House.
The incredible range of cuisines documented, from the tropical coasts of Mexico to the cold islands at the foot of South America, brings to life the vibrancy of Latin America and its myriad influences – indigenous, European, Asian and beyond. of the. Martínez shows readers how to make everything from goat stew and Chilean sandwich cookies to green mango salad and drinks like fermented corn juice.
The book is organized according to food groups like breads and baked goods, grains, garden vegetables, fish and seafood, etc. Icons indicate which dishes are vegan, vegetarian, dairy-free, gluten-free, require 5 ingredients or less, or can be made in 30 minutes or less. Introductory texts accompanying each recipe place them in a specific culinary and cultural context.
Often referred to as the “pantry of the world”, the lands and coasts of Latin America produce a seemingly endless pantry. Luckily, at the end of the book, there’s a comprehensive glossary of ingredients to help you on your way.
These quinoa fritters are a staple of Bolivian mountain cuisines. They are sometimes stuffed with canned tuna, chopped vegetables, leafy greens, or grated cheese.
For 4 people
1 cup (170g) quinoa
2 cups (475ml) water
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon of flour
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
Rinse the quinoa in a colander under cold running water until the water runs clear. Pour into a saucepan. Cover the quinoa with water, bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes. Drain and cool.
In a bowl, mix quinoa with beaten egg and flour.
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Using a spoon, scoop out 18-20 small balls of the quinoa mixture, a little larger than a golf ball. Place in hot oil in two batches. Cook about 2 to 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Season with salt and serve.
Recipe and pictures of The Latin American Cookbookby Virgilio Martínez, published by Phaidon, $65.