Cuba: The Cookbook – review

Cuba cookbookCuba: The Cookbook is a stunning volume from Phaidon, who are celebrated for publishing unique international recipe books to tempt and inspire the home chef. This one is no exception.

Cuba’s launch (the book, that is) couldn’t be more timely. News of the island is hitting the headlines at the moment, and people are taking notice of one of the US’s closest neighbours, in geographic terms at least. Cuba is a political tapestry, and a culinary one too!

Cuban food is becoming better known outside that country. Its appeal is its vibrant flavours, but this book also presents recipes in their gastronomic context.  There are 350 dishes in this worthy tome and they can trace their heritage to Spain, the USSR and to Asia. This is a truly evolved cosmopolitan cuisine but without intricate or unfamiliar culinary techniques.

Cuba: The Cookbook is divided by type of dish, although it’s more likely that you will be so intrigued that you will want to leaf through its pages from front to back of the book, noting your favourites along the way. It’s an absorbing book of accessible dishes that would work well in any home kitchen with any cook who might even have more enthusiasm than skill. Some ingredients might be less common in Europe, but those will likely be found online or in the nearest Caribbean or Latin supermarket.

Cuban Fried Rice is bound to be a winner

I certainly have my favourite recipes. Macabi Fish Dumplings are actually fried portions of seasoned bread and fish combined, and one doesn’t have to use this suggested indigenous fish. I would think that any firm white fish would do. Serve this with a tangy salsa.

Cuban Fried Rice is bound to be a winner with the whole family – simple comfort food. Red Beans and Rice is another staple and used as a side dish to roasted meats. But the dish that shouts ‘Cuba’ louder than many others is the humble plate of Picadillo a la Creola. This is seasoned minced beef, rice, plantains and a fried egg.

Cuba: The Cookbook takes advantage of chillies, vegetables, beans and fish. Meat is mostly pork so these dishes are not only delicious but they won’t break the bank, either. These are exciting and colourful recipes and many of them will seem familiar …but with a very Latin twist.

Cuba: The Cookbook
Authors: Madelaine Vazquez Galvez and Imogene Tondre
Publisher: Phaidon Press (1 Jun. 2018)
Price: £29.95
Language: English
ISBN-13: 978-0714875767