From Romania to Sri Lanka: five new cookbooks to try now

A collection of flavoursome curries, street food snacks and rice dishes.

By Chloé Braithwaite
Published 14 Jan 2023, 11:00 GMT
Five of the new cookbooks for autumn.

Five of the new cookbooks for autumn.

Photograph by National Geographic Traveller UK

1. Hoppers: The Cookbook

by Karan Gokani

As co-founder and creative director of Sri Lankan restaurant chain Hoppers, Karan Gokani is no stranger to big flavours. And his first recipe book is full of them, from devilled dishes to spiced snacks. 

Hoppers: The Cookbook is an ode to the country and cuisine Gokani has spent years exploring, interspersing recipes with travel tips, stories and celebrations of the people he’s met along the way. There are detailed guides to the Sri Lankan larder, too, showcasing essential herbs, spices and curry powders, as well as simple substitutions for hard-to-find ingredients.

Among the recipes are many of Gokani’s signature dishes, including bone marrow varuval — beef bones in a rich, spiced coconut-based sauce. And, of course, there’s also a recipe for hoppers: crispy, bowl-shaped pancakes made from fermented rice and coconut, which serve as the perfect vehicle for the heady chutneys, curries and sambals found elsewhere in the book. 

Other highlights include mini dosas and hot buttered squid, as well as what’s described as Gokani’s ‘desert island dish’, lamprais — rice, curry and sambol, wrapped in banana leaves. £30, Quadrille

2. Tava: Eastern European Baking and Desserts From Romania & Beyond

by Irina Georgescu

In her new cookbook, Georgescu showcases Eastern Europe’s diverse range of sweet and savoury baked goods. Alongside recipes such as honey-soaked brioche, she weaves in folklore tales from Romania’s culinary history, as well as advice on travel and traditional cooking techniques. £27, Hardie Grant

3. Parsi: From Persia to Bombay: recipes & tales from the ancient culture

by Farokh Talati

Head chef of London’s St John Bread & Wine, Talati has delved into his Parsi heritage to create this collection. Descending from Persian Zoroastrian migrants to India, Parsis use a fusion of flavours in their cooking. Recipes include lamb stewed with cinnamon and Hunza apricots. £18.20, Bloomsbury

4. The Giggling Squid Cookbook

by Giggling Squid

This recipe collection from the chefs at the Giggling Squid Thai restaurant chain features recollections from Pranee Laurillard, who, along with husband Andy, launched her first restaurant two decades ago. Look out for signature dishes such as Golden Money Bags (spiced chicken and veg in pastry bundles). £25, Ebury

5. Oren: A Personal Collection of Recipes and Stories from Tel Aviv

by Oded Oren

Each of the 10 chapters in Oren’s first book celebrates one of the staple ingredients the East London-based chef grew up with in Tel Aviv. The recipes work both as standalone dishes and as part of a mezze-style spread. Don’t miss the baked butter beans with barrel-aged feta and slow-roast tomatoes. £26, Hardie Grant

Published in Issue 18 (winter 2022/23) of Food by National Geographic Traveller (UK)

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