At this time of year, you may be asking yourself, “which cookbooks make the best gifts?”, either for the food lovers and cooks in your life, or–better still, for yourself, when you’re asked what you would like! Here are the cookbooks we chose to share in 2022, with links to their full reviews and to the fabulous recipes we’ve been kindly permitted to publish from each book.
Thali: A Joyful Celebration of Indian Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan
As its title reveals, Thali: A Joyful Celebration of Indian Home Cooking by Maunika Gowardhan is a cookbook centred on Indian home cooking and the creation of thali–large plates made up of small servings of several dishes. The individual recipes throughout the book are all well suited to serving as part of a thali, but also work on their own for a simple and delicious meal.
Read our full review of Thali by Maunika Gowardhan and try these recipes from the book:
- Gujarati Surati Dal (Sweet & Spicy Dal with Chillies & Peanut)
- Goan Prawn Balchao (Hot & Sour Prawn Pickle)
Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian
This review is of a new edition of Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian which was originally published in the 1980s. Vegetarian cooking and eating is of interest to far more home cooks today, and this book showcases how well suited Middle Eastern cuisines are to meat-free diets.
Read our full review of Vegetarian Dishes of the Middle East by Arto der Haroutunian and try these recipes from the book:
- Syrian Pasta with Garlic-Tahini Sauce | Macaroni bil Tarator
- Leek and Walnut Eggeh (Baked Omelette)
- Avocado, Mushroom and Tomato Pilaf | Harem Pilav
Three by Selin Kiazim
Three by Selin Kiazim is not like most cookbooks; instead of sharing a collection of fixed recipes, Kiazim aims to give accomplished cooks the tools to play with their cooking, to adjust, adapt and freewheel recipes according to the building blocks of acid, texture and contrast. The recipes included are a starting point for the reader’s own experimentation.
Read our full review of Three by Selin Kiazim and try these recipes from the book:
Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around The Levant by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich
Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich are the husband and wife chef duo behind Honey & Co in London. Hailing from Israel, their food is full of the vibrant colours and flavours of the Levantine region that encompasses Israel, Jordan, Egypt and Turkey, amongst others. Their cookbook Chasing Smoke: Cooking Over Fire Around The Levant focuses on food cooked over fire; perfect for anyone who enjoys cooking and eating outdoors.
Read our full review of Chasing Smoke by Sarit Packer and Itamar Srulovich and try these recipes from the book:
- Grilled Cabbage with Chilli Garlic Butter
- Chicken Shish in Sweet Confit Garlic Marinade
- Whole Burnt Aubergine with Charred Egg Yolk, Tahini and Chilli Sauce
Cinnamon and Salt: Cicchetti in Venice by Emiko Davies
Cinnamon and Salt: Cicchetti in Venice: Small Bites From the Lagoon City by Emiko Davies is a cookbook reader’s book, perfect those who are as eager to read about the culture, history and stories of a cuisine as they are to make the recipes. Here, Davies focuses on cicchetti (pronounced chi-ke-tee), the small morsels of food served alongside drinks in the bars of Venice.
Read our full review of Cinnamon and Salt by Emiko Davies and try these recipes from the book:
- Mozzarella in Carrozza (Venetian-style Fried Mozzarella Sandwiches)
- Fegato alla Veneziana (Venetian-style Liver)
- Pevarini (Pepper Biscuits)
Taste Tibet: Family Recipes from the Himalayas by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa
Taste Tibet: Family Recipes from the Himalayas by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa relates the personal stories of the authors and their life together, and also of Yeshi’s childhood, and his family and community. It introduces and grounds the cuisine of Tibet and places it within the context of Tibetan life, culture and place. Alongside this cultural insight are a collection of simple, delicious and delightful recipes.
Read our full review of Taste Tibet by Julie Kleeman and Yeshi Jampa and try these recipes from the book:
- Tibetan Meatball Soup
- Dad’s Tibetan Rice
- Tibetan Vegetable Thukpa (Noodle Soup)
- Tibetan Sepen (Hot Chilli Dip)
The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey Along The Ancient Spice Routes by Eleanor Ford
The Nutmeg Trail: A Culinary Journey Along The Ancient Spice Routes by Eleanor Ford shares the recipes and stories of how “centuries of spice trading and cultural diffusion changed the world’s cuisine“. It’s a truly gorgeous book full of gloriously vivid illustrations, richly narrated history, and stories and food writing that bring the past to life. On top of this comes a fantastically diverse collection of recipes that are delicious, work exactly as written and are a delight to eat. This is one of my favourite cookbooks of the last five years!
Read our full review of The Nutmeg Trail by Eleanor Ford and try these recipes from the book:
Indian Vegan & Vegetarian: 200 traditional plant-based recipes by Mridula Baljekar
Indian Vegan & Vegetarian: 200 traditional plant-based recipes by Mridula Baljekar is a comprehensive collection of vegetarian and vegan recipes from across India. Baljekar introduces the cuisine–one that is naturally well-suited to a plant-based diet–and provides a regional overview as well as guidance on ingredients, accompaniments, cooking equipment and techniques before sharing 200 varied and tasty recipes.
Read our full review of Indian Vegan & Vegetarian by Mridula Baljekar and try these recipes from the book:
- Indian Paneer Pilau (Sanar Pulao)
- Chilli and Coriander Cauliflower with Eggs (Phulkobi Aru Konir Torkari)
- Potatoes and Chickpeas in Lime Dressing (Alu Kabli)
Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves
Live Fire: Seasonal Barbecue Recipes and Stories of Live Fire Traditions Old and New by Helen Graves is the barbeque cookbook I’ve been waiting many years for, written as it is by one of London’s BBQ queens! Even today the barbeque world is still heavily skewed towards men, and often presented as an arcane art that requires years of training and lots of expensive equipment. This fabulous collection of recipes proves those stereotypes wrong, sharing delicious and achievable recipes suitable for cooks of any skill level.
Read our full review of Live Fire by Helen Graves and try these recipes from the book:
- Charred Tomatoes with Cool Yoghurt, Pomegranate Molasses and Herbs
- Piri Pri Chicken Thighs with Tomato and Onion Salad
- Backyard-style Apricot-glazed Pork Ribs with Crushed Spices
Kin Thai: Modern Thai Recipes To Cook At Home by John Chantarasak
Having moved a few years ago from London to a small rural village in Wales, we’ve really missed access to East and South East Asian cuisines and Kin Thai: Modern Thai Recipes To Cook At Home by John Chantarasak has helped us to capture some of the magic of Thai food in our own cooking. Recipes draw on Chantarasak’s Thai and British heritage, presenting classic Thai dishes and flavours, but making use of British ingredients alongside traditional Thai ones. The result is a book that delivers all the complex flavours of Thailand, whilst allowing UK cooks to make the most of local, seasonal produce.
Read our full review of Kin Thai by John Chantarasak and try these recipes from the book:
- Grilled Beef Ribeye with ‘Waterfall’ Salad
- Phuket Town Black Pepper Pork
- ‘Red Fire’ Greens with Yellow Soybean Sauce
The Ultimate Japanese Noodles Cookbook by Masahiro Kasahara
One of several additions to our Japanese cookbook collection this year is The Ultimate Japanese Noodles Cookbook: Amazing Soba, Ramen, Udon, Hotpots and Japanese Pasta Recipes! by Masahiro Kasahara. Chef Kasahara is known for serving kaiseki-style cuisine at affordable prices, and in this book, he shares how to deliver the essence of Japanese flavours without the need for elaborate, long-winded and expensive ingredients and techniques. This is a great cookbook for anyone who seeks Japanese flavours but is short on time to make complicated recipes. All the recipes shared here are satisfying simple, pared down to a manageable list of ingredients and concise but clear instructions.
Read our full review of The Ultimate Japanese Noodles Cookbook by Masahiro Kasahara and try these recipes from the book:
Biting Biting: Snacking Gujarati-Style by Urvashi Roe
Biting Biting: Snacking Gujarati-Style by Urvashi Roe is the cookbook Urvashi Roe was born to write. Focusing on the art of snacking the Gujarati way, she shares tasty recipes that are perfect to enjoy as snacks, a quick offering to guests (unexpected or otherwise), or a quick and light meal. Most are firmly based in the flavours and techniques of Gujarati cuisine but some are a wonderful fusion of British tastes and ingredients and Indian classics.
Read our full review of Biting Biting by Urvashi Roe and try these recipes from the book:
On The Himalayan Trail by Romy Gill
Indian cuisine is a hugely popular category of cookbooks in the UK, with thousands of titles to choose from. But there are few books focusing on the food of Kashmir and Ladakh, in the north. On The Himalayan Trail by Romy Gill shares the experiences and recipes Gill learned during an extensive research visit to the region, and gives insight into what has shaped the food and culture there.
Read our full review of On The Himalayan Trail by Romy Gill and try these recipes from the book:
- Ruangan Chaman (Paneer in Tomato Curry)
- Ghushtaba (Mutton Meatballs in a Yoghurt Gravy)
- Kokur Yakhni (Chicken in Yoghurt and Saffron Gravy)
- Kashmiri Vers Masala Spice Cakes
Big Has Home by Hasan Semay
I love Big Has Home by Hasan Semay, not least for Hasan’s cheeky chappy, slightly sweary, spliff-smoking vibe! It’s a breath of fresh air that I really connect to and is a refreshing change from the somewhat-samey, uni-educated, well-travelled, shiny-big-kitchen and expensive-equipment-owning author that is still a dominant demographic in the food publishing world. The recipes–focusing on Turkish-Cypriot and Italian cuisines with a bias towards cooking outdoors–are as down-to-earth as the chef’s own personality. And of course, they are a joy to eat!
Read our full review of Big Has Home by Hasan Semay and try these recipes from the book:
- Firinda Makarna (Cypriot Beef and Bechamel Pasta Bake)
- Turkish Ezme (Salad)
- Helim, Sausages, Pickled Shallots and Honey
Van Life Cookbook: Resourceful recipes for life on the road: from small spaces to the great outdoors by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura
Written by veteran campervan enthusiasts, Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura shares a collection of tried and tested recipes that are well-suited to cooking in the modest spaces of campervans, caravans and boats, though they also work well at home and outdoors. The recipes are often pared back (which suits cooking with limited space and equipment) and many are also low budget. The recipes reflect the authors’ own diets which are “90% vegetarian” and many can be adapted to make them vegetarian, and in some cases vegan.
Read our full review of Van Life Cookbook by Danny Jack and Hailee Kukura and try these recipes from the book:
You might be wondering how it is that we recommend every book we’ve reviewed this year? The simple answer is that we prefer not to publish reviews of books we don’t fall in love with! We pick books to review that we think we’ll enjoy but sometimes it happens that they don’t appeal to us as much as we’d hoped. Rather than tear down an author’s work (which will no doubt be someone else’s cup of tea), we prefer not to cover those books on Kavey Eats.
With thanks to the publishers of all the books above for their permission to share full recipes extracted from their books. This post contains Amazon affiliate links.