Fish dish with vegetables. Fish dish with vegetables. Put a little pizzazz in your next dinner. (Photo: shutterdandan / Shutterstock)

5 new global cookbooks to watch for this year

Want to step out of the culinary box? Feast your eyes on these international guides.

Informative and creative cookbooks are opening up a world of possibilities and shedding light on the aromas, flavors and cultural significance of far-flung foods. We’ve picked out five of the best global cookbooks to introduce new flavors to your kitchen.


So you want to cook: Italian

Get the book: Pasta by Hand: A Collection of Italy's Regional Hand-Shaped Pasta

Pasta by Hand cookbook

Jenn Louis, the successful chef behind Portland’s Lincoln Restaurant and Sunshine Tavern, as well as Culinary Artistry catering company, focuses her attention on an Italian classic: pasta. In particular, the humble dumpling is given prominence, with Louis highlighting numerous regional specialties and variations that go far beyond your standard store-bought gnocchi. There are more than 60 recipes in total, covering various dumplings, pastas and sauces, too.

As the title indicates, this book is all about traditional hands-on methods, making the recipes accessible for enthusiastic home cooks. Louis offers up one piece of advice for first-timers: “If at all possible, I recommend using a digital scale to measure ingredients. Measuring flour with a spoon or cup may vary from cook to cook. Weighing ingredients will help consistency and give great results.”


So you want to cook … Israeli

Get the book: Zahav: A World of Israeli Cooking

Zahav cookbook

Israeli-American chef Michael Solomonov is one of the most talked-about chefs on the planet. With a wildly popular clutch of Philadelphia restaurants – among them Zahav, Federal Donuts and Percy Street Barbecue – and a James Beard award under his belt, he’s now sharing his insight into Israeli cooking. Written in conjunction with his restaurateur partner Steve Cook, the book is due out in October 2015 and sets out to showcase Israeli cuisine in all its multicultural glory.

Speaking to Portland Monthly Magazine, Solomonov described Israeli food as “the last frontier ... wonderfully diverse and fresh.” Expect recipes for Zahav favorites, such as fried cauliflower and hummus, as well as bigger family-style feasts, like roasted lamb shoulder with pomegranate and chickpeas.


So you want to cook … Ethiopian

Get the book: Teff Love: Adventures in Vegan Ethiopian Cuisine

Teff Love cookbook

After gaining a following with her Ethiopian recipe zine, Portland food blogger Kittee Berns has authored a cookbook in the same vein. Berns shares her know-how, identifying commonly used ingredients and spices, as well as expounding on the background of staple Ethiopian foodstuffs such as injera (flat bread) and wots (stews). With plenty of whole foods like legumes, grains and vegetables, the recipes are generally affordable and often pantry-friendly.

Offering advice for beginners, Berns said, “I'd recommend purchasing a few pre-made ingredients like injera and berbere, especially for those that live in a city and have access to Ethiopian markets. Although injera, a fermented, tangy flat bread used to showcase and scoop up the food to eat, is not hard to make at home, it does take time. As does making berbere, the hallmark red chili spice blend used to make the spicy sauces and stews. Once these ingredients are acquired, I recommend making a seasoned oil, which is quite simple and quick to make, and then diving into the recipes which come together surprisingly fast.”


So you want to cook … Latin American

Get the book: Empanadas: The Hand-Held Pies of Latin America

Empanadas cookbook

For her upcoming cookbook, due out April 21, 2015, food writer and professional cooking instructor Sandra Gutierrez hones in on empanadas. A ubiquitous snack in Latin America, these pastry pockets come in many different sizes, shapes and forms. Fillings range from appealing savory combinations, like shrimp and spinach béchamel, to unexpectedly sweet stuffing, like candied pumpkin or pineapple.

Designed to suit both novice and more experienced cooks, the recipes have all been thoroughly kitchen-tested. Gutierrez offered up the following tip: “There are a few tools which are helpful when making empanadas, most of which you’ll probably own already, such as a rolling pin, kitchen scissors, parchment paper, measuring cups and spoons. Also, a kitchen scale is helpful (although I've included volume amounts as well). However, the most helpful tool in making empanadas is a tortilla press because I developed most recipes to work with one. Pressing the dough with a tortilla press forms perfect round discs without having to roll the dough out on the counter. This makes the process easier and quicker than traditional methods.”


So you want to cook … Southeast Asian

Get the book: Chinatown Kitchen: From Noodles To Nuoc Cham

"Chinatown Kitchen" book cover

Self-taught cook Lizzie Mabbott is a major figure in the London food blogging scene, thanks to her popular Hollow Legs blog. In her debut cookbook (to be released April 2), she provides a crash course on the ingredients, dishes and techniques common to Southeast Asian cooking. Mabbott picks out typical regional ingredients and explains what to do with them in the kitchen. She also tackles a boggling array of noodle variations and sets out classic and inventive recipes from all across the region, from Chinese chive breads to Korean stews, kimchi to nuoc cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce).

For home cooks trying out her recipes, Mabbott advised, “Have everything chopped and ready to go before you start cooking. A lot of Asian food is longer on preparation time, and short on cooking time so you want everything to be there and waiting for you before you get going – so you're not running around like a headless chicken!”

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