500 Mexican Dishes by Judith Fertig – review

Mexican food has become more popular over the last five or so years. More of us have travelled to Mexico and even more of us have tried Mexican and Tex-Mex food in the USA. It’s a cuisine that has every reason to be popular. Many dishes contain chilli and it’s easy to become addicted to that. Chocolate plays a key part in many recipes, even the savoury ones, and the desserts are sweet and moreish.

cookbook review 500 mexican dishes There is an increasing number of Mexican fast food outlets. We have been introduced to the delights of tacos and burritos and there is even a reputable Mexican restaurant in London, Mestizo, which has become the haunt of expats. But what if you don’t live in a large city and you want to eat real Mexican food? 500 Mexican Dishes offers a raft of recipes for you to choose from.

Mexican meals don’t have to come from a box. Yes, those kits are tempting and probably a good way of getting a taste of Mexican food but they are never going to give you the vibrant fresh flavours of the real thing. Well, OK, so you now want to cook the aforementioned real thing but where does one get the fixin’s? You must be computer-literate or you would not be able to read this marvellously well-written review. That being the case you’ll have no problem finding a supplier for all the spices and condiments you might need.

500 Mexican Dishes is another in that chunky series from Apple Press. Always well written and with gorgeous photographs to persuade one to get cooking. There are dishes here that you might have heard of, such as Pico de Gallo, but there is so much more which will be tempting.

The Antojitos chapter is the first and offers snacks. Queso al Horno with Tortilla Chips is embarrassingly easy and you’ll make it often. Just the thought of melted cheese, tomato and chilli scooped up with something crunchy is mouth-watering. Have this with drinks before a meal or as a dip for a buffet … but I expect you’ll make a batch to eat in front of the TV. Make the authentic Guacamole as well. Another iconic dish for scooping, with healthy avocado to counteract the guilt of all that melted cheese.

Tamales offer an unmistakable flavour of Mexico. Masa flour has a unique taste and the aroma of real tamales cooking will bring back memories for every Mexican living away from home. These are corn husk-wrapped bundles filled with a variety of savoury treasures. This volume suggests several alternatives, my favourite being Chicken Tamales with Yellow Mole. This is surely the most comforting of Mexican food. Soft and flavourful and fun to eat.

Mango Ice Cream has few ingredients and is simple to prepare. It makes for an exotic end to any Mexican meal but equally for the conclusion of spicy meals of any ethnic persuasion. Mexican Rice Pudding is rich and creamy with the sweetened condensed milk so often present in Mexican desserts. This is perfumed with cinnamon and studded with dried fruit. The recipe has a grating of Mexican chocolate as garnish but any dark chocolate would work.

500 Mexican Dishes is a well-researched collection. The author, Judith Fertig, has selected the most traditional dishes from the diverse regions of Mexico and has listed several variants to all those recipes. The photography of Ian Garlick gives confidence to the novice cook in a most appealing fashion. An attractive book and great value for money.

500 Mexican Dishes
Author: Judith Fertig
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £9.99
ISBN: 978-1-84543-351-2


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018


See more books by Judith Fertig here