Amá: A Modern Tex-Mex Kitchen, by Josef Centeno

10 Sep
ama josef centeno

Three of 5 stars

This Tex-Mex cookbook did not really win me over.

On the plus side, the photographs look delicious and I would happily try any recipe from this book that someone cooked for me. The dishes are very much from scratch and use a lot of spice and peppers. There is a fried chicken recipe I’m dying to taste, and a chicken fried steak recipe which you rarely see in cookbooks these days.

On the minus side, these dishes are from scratch. The ingredient lists are long, and although mostly consisting of spices, there are also several different chiles and peppers required that are not always easy to obtain. I have had issues finding some of these peppers even living in a big city with easy access to Mexican supermarkets. It would have been very helpful to have a list of substitutions and/or similar types of peppers for options so a cook who is unfamiliar with the types (or has no access to them) could still attempt a particular recipe.

Several recipes also take a great deal of time to create, and it would be helpful if time estimates were provided for cooks who are unfamiliar with this type of cooking. Most recipes call for many pots and pans, and several burners going at once. Small kitchen operators should be careful.

That said, if you are a cook who is experienced in Tex-Mex or Latin cooking and are looking for a gorgeous cookbook with from-scratch recipes, I would say this is for you. My comments are not serious complaints, only warnings that this book is not for beginners and require access to some possibly hard to get ingredients. Every single photo in the book looks scrumptious (wait until you see the desserts!) but the time involved in cooking these dishes – not to mention the clean up from all the pots and pans – makes this a no for my cookbook shelf. But if someone else wants to cook these recipes and have me over for a meal, I will be there with bells on.

Many thanks to NetGalley for the ARC given in exchange for an honest review.

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