Photo: Chronicle Books
by Nirmala Narine
Photos by Diana DeLucia
Chronicle Books -- 2009
Buy it on Amazon
Nirmala Narine, founder of the spice company Nirmala's Kitchen, heads to South America in her latest cookbook, "Nirmala's Edible Diary," a colorful travelogue covering 14 countries, including the one of her birth, Guyana.
With snippets about her travels in each nation, Narine whets a reader's appetite and then satiates it with a handful of recipes.
See what we tested and whether the book's worth buying after the jump.
Takeaway Tips: You won't find too many kitchen tips in this book, but you will find foodie travel tips. For example, look for pizza and German pub fare in Uruguay. In the Falkland Islands, organic lamb is the food not to be missed.
Quality of pictures: Too few! We want more of Diana DeLucia's luscious closeups of prepared dishes. Travel photos from South America help put a face to the recipes.
We tested: Empanadas Rio Paraguay-Style
Empanadas are by nature a bit labor-intensive -- the savory filling has to be made, the dough has to be filled, then they have to be fried or baked. Narine simplifies things a bit with her Paraguay-style empanadas. She calls for store-bought dough (we used Goya frozen empanada wrappers), and her filling cooks in about 15 minutes.
Narine calls for minced beef tenderloin (our market was out so we substituted a sirloin steak), onion, garlic, tomato paste, jalapeno, celery, cumin, parsley, beef broth and black beans, which are cooked to a thick paste and then fried in oil.
We got about 18 empanadas out of a recipe that said it would make 20. Anticipating leftovers, we were so taken with the taste of these savory meat pies that they all disappeared by the end of the day.
Worth the investment: If you've always wondered about South American continental cuisine, "Nirmala's Edible Diary" is a good first bite.