The Immigrant Cookbook

The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great is a beautiful book collected and edited by Leyla Moushabeck. Immigrant chefs contributed their stories and recipes to create this treasured volume. It made my best cookbooks of 2017 list but to call it a cookbook doesn’t seem quite right – it is so much more than that.

More than 42 million people living in the United States came here from other countries, just as my great grandparents did.  These émigrés, from every corner of the globe, helped make America what it is today – a beautiful, diverse country of different cultures, religions, and ethnicities. 

Along with their hopes and dreams, these immigrants brought their recipes that transformed the way America eats and made us a true melting pot of flavors and people. The Immigrant Cookbook is a culinary celebration of the many ethnic groups that have contributed to America’s vibrant food culture. This beautifully photographed cookbook features appetizers, entrees, and desserts some familiar favorites, some likely to be new encounters by renowned chefs from Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Middle East, and Europe. An added bonus is that a minimum of $5 from the sale of each book will be donated to the American Civil Liberties Union to support the ACLU’s Immigrants’ Rights Project. 

Every page in this book is a jewel from the profiles of legendary chefs such as Salma Hage or Joan Nathan that include their recipe contributions of Vegan Lebanese moussaka and German plum tart, respectively to recipes from a new generation of immigrant chefs. For instance, we have Donkaas buttermilk fried pork from Thomas Kim and from Chicken adobo and mixed mushroom fricassee from Top Chef fan favorite Sheldon Simeon. This is a must have book for any serious cookbook collector.

Recently, I was talking to one of my best friends who owns a bookstore. We are dismayed by the many things that are happening in the world. She told me that she is visited by a nearly 100 year old Holocaust survivor who comes in her shop bringing her treats and stories of his life. This man fills her day with joy and I envy her this connection. The world would be such a sad, dull place without the sharing of experiences and my friend’s story and this cookbook makes that crystal clear.

There is a lady in a New York harbor that still beckons “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.”  What we don’t appreciate is that we have been given so much more over the decades from our immigrants that we can never repay. As a people and as a country, we have a great deal to learn but first we must know that America is great and will continue to be great as long as we open our doors and our hearts to those who bring us their world. 

Special thanks to the publisher, Interlink, for sharing the following recipe with our members and for providing two copies of this title in our giveaway below.  

Carnitas tacos Aarón Sánchez
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Origin: Mexico

At large gatherings, this dish was a family favorite. During summers in El Paso, we would get everyone together and throw these huge fiestas, and the carnitas tacos were always a big hit. It’s a communal dish that is rich and layered in flavor, and some of the best childhood memories I have are of eating this dish with family and loved ones.

Serves 6 to 8

  • 3½ lb (1.5 kg) boneless pork shoulder
  • 3-4 cups (11/3-1¾ lb/600-800g) rendered pork fat or lard (or more, if needed to mostly cover the meat)
  • Half a 7 oz (200 g) can chipotle peppers, in adobo, or more to taste 
  • Juice of 1 orange
  • Juice of 1 lime 
  • Salt and pepper


  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 stick canella (Mexican cinnamon)
  • 1 cup (7 oz/200 g) brown sugar
  • 1 cup (8 oz/225 g) kosher salt

To serve  

  • 18-24 small tortillas
  • 1 cup (240 ml) Mexican crema or sour
  • cream (optional)
  • ½ cup (3½ oz/100 g) pickled red onions 
  • ½ cup (4 oz/115 g) pickled jalapeño peppers (optional)
  • Cucumber slices, seeds removed
  • 1 bunch cilantro, leaves separated 
  • Lime wedges

In a nonreactive stockpot, combine the brine ingredients with enough water to cover the pork (about 8½ cups/2 liters). Bring to a boil, then remove from the heat and let cool completely. Add the pork to the pot, and refrigerate for at least 12 hours or up to 24 hours.

Once the pork has brined, preheat the oven to 275°F (135°C). Remove the pork from the brine, patting it dry with paper towels, and cut it into 2 inch (5 cm) pieces.

In a large Dutch oven, heat the fat over medium heat until it melts. Add the pork pieces, cover the pot, and roast in the oven until the meat is very tender, about 2 hours. Transfer the meat to a mixing bowl, discarding the oil. Finely chop the chipotles and add them to the meat with their sauce. Add the orange and lime juice, toss to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

To assemble, spread each tortilla with crema, if using, and top with a generous amount of the seasoned pork. Sprinkle with the pickled onions and jalapeños, if using, and top with cucumber slices, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime.

Pickled red onions or jalapeño peppers

Makes about 1 pint (1 lb/450 g)

  • 1-1¼ cups (240-300 ml) white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons table salt
  • 1 cup (4 oz/115g) thinly sliced red onion or jalapeño peppers 

In a small pot, combine the vinegar, sugar, and salt and bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Place the onion or jalapeño slices in a jar or tub, pour in the vinegar mixture to completely cover them, seal, and refrigerate for at least one hour before using, or for up to several days.

Recipe fromThe Immigrant Cookbook, © Aarón Sánchez   


The publisher is offering two copies of this book to EYB Members in the US. One of the entry options is to answer the following question in the comments section of this blog post.

Which recipe in the index would you try first?

Please note that you must be logged into the Rafflecopter contest before posting or your entry won’t be counted. For more information on this process, please see our step-by-step help post. Be sure to check your spam filters to receive our email notifications. Prizes can take up to 6 weeks to arrive from the publishers. If you are not already a Member, you can join at no cost. The contest ends at midnight on March 12th, 2018.

Post a comment


  • thewife1992  on  January 31, 2018

    I would try this, "Lentil and spinach soup (Dal palak) [Hari Nayak] (page 54)
    from The Immigrant Cookbook: Recipes That Make America Great by Leyla Moushabeck"

  • Marcia1206  on  January 31, 2018

    Tichis gazpacho jumps out at me. I love gazpacho and anything from Jose Andres has to be good

  • ejsimpson  on  January 31, 2018

    Lyonnaise salad with lardons (Salade Lyonnaise aux lardons) [Daniel Boulud] Because! It is one of my favorites!

  • LizyB  on  January 31, 2018

    spicy Ethiopian chicken stew

  • Lyla  on  January 31, 2018

    You teased me with the ripe for Carnival Tacos, so I would start there.

  • centraljersey  on  January 31, 2018

    Vegan Lebanese Moussaka

  • heyjude  on  January 31, 2018

    Duck e-fu noodles

  • monasli  on  February 1, 2018

    Chicken adobo with mushroom fricasse

  • AnnaZed  on  February 1, 2018

    Rye pancakes with pork belly and lingonberries [Emma Bengtsson] (

  • IslandgirlOK  on  February 1, 2018

    I’m torn between the Duck e-fu noodles and the Arroz con Pollo. I want them both!

  • Angryyew  on  February 1, 2018

    the vegan moussaka

  • Amdona  on  February 1, 2018

    Irish beef stew

  • TinaMarie122  on  February 1, 2018

    Having only read this review it's an easy question to answer…the Carnitas Tacos. My husband and I are constantly trying recipes to find out favorite and right now it is Frida Kahlo's recipe but we continue to look for perfection. To find the Carnitas recipe featured right here in the review may disqualify me…but on a different level, the recipes of other countries, especially those shared by Immigrants and their family (as almost ALL of us are Immigrants aren't we?) are extremely important, educational and must be passed on. What a wonderful review.

  • sarahawker  on  February 1, 2018

    Spicy Ethiopian chicken stew (Doro wot)

  • Sueskitchen  on  February 1, 2018

    The moussaka has my interest but the Ethiopian chicken stew is a must-try!

  • laffersk  on  February 1, 2018

    Lebanese peasant salad (Fattoush) [Barbara Abdeni Massaad]

  • Kerreydp  on  February 1, 2018

    Those carnitas tacos sound delicious!

  • catmommy9  on  February 1, 2018

    Mushroom and chicken chop suey (Moo goo gai pan)

  • annmartina  on  February 1, 2018

    I love e fu noodles sooooo much. It would have to be the duck e fu noodles. My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

  • kmn4  on  February 1, 2018

    Armenian-style chilled yogurt soup

  • cambridgecook  on  February 1, 2018

    baked fish kibbeh

  • EmilyR  on  February 1, 2018

    Chicken with charmoula [Mourad Lahlou] – anything with preserved lemons is dreamy!

  • rivergait  on  February 1, 2018

    Pork Ribs with Purslane, a beautiful weed that I am eating as I wander through our pasture this time of year. Kudos to EYB for categorizing each recipe as to national origin (some dual, such as Syrian/Canadian) so I can actually tell by description what I am making.

  • topdawg11  on  February 1, 2018

    Carnitas Tacos

  • lpatterson412  on  February 1, 2018

    Vanilla shortbread crescents!

  • LarissaPrusak  on  February 1, 2018

    What a great book! I would love to make the beet Linzer Torte.

  • akrupnick  on  February 1, 2018

    Gazan hot tomato and dill salad and anything from Africa.

  • lmalter  on  February 1, 2018


  • ravensfan  on  February 1, 2018

    Mama Chang's hot and sour soup

  • sgp  on  February 1, 2018

    Sweet sesame snaps

  • lean1  on  February 1, 2018

    Kushari is something I would like to try making.

  • Shelley.b  on  February 1, 2018

    Carnitas tacos

  • rchesser  on  February 1, 2018

    Salvadoran shrimp soup (Sopa de camarones) [Alicia Maher]

  • lesh4537  on  February 1, 2018

    Oh so many.. being eastern European I am drawn to many of those dishes.

  • hedder14  on  February 2, 2018

    Would love to try the Lefsa, Cod, and Peas.

  • DeepCreekKitchen  on  February 2, 2018

    Smoky eggplant dip

  • Scotsman61  on  February 2, 2018

    spicy Ethiopian chicken stew

  • hirsheys  on  February 2, 2018

    Agreed – doro wot!

  • jmay42066  on  February 2, 2018

    Mama Chang's hot and sour soup

  • t.t  on  February 3, 2018

    Smoky eggplant dip with pomegranates and walnuts

  • Laura1  on  February 4, 2018

    vegan moussaka

  • matag  on  February 5, 2018

    Smoky eaggplant dip

  • maria411  on  February 5, 2018

    irish beefstew

  • Dannausc  on  February 5, 2018


  • LaurenE  on  February 5, 2018

    Spicy Ethiopian chicken stew (Doro wot)

  • sgump  on  February 9, 2018

    Just in time for St. Valentine's Day = "True Love Cake" (with rosewater, of course)!

  • Siegal  on  February 9, 2018

    I want to make borscht

  • soffner  on  February 10, 2018

    Lamb fatteh [Naji Boustany]

  • choppergirl  on  February 11, 2018

    Lentil and spinach soup (Dal palak)

  • verorenee  on  February 11, 2018

    Mini madeleines [Dominique Ansel]

  • DimensionAEB  on  February 11, 2018

    Vegan Lebanese Moussaka

  • niniacedo  on  February 11, 2018

    Rye pancakes with pork belly and lingonberries

  • ampsmom  on  February 12, 2018

    Irish Beefstew

  • lgroom  on  February 13, 2018

    Ethiopian chicken stew, definitely!!

  • debbielovesbooks  on  February 14, 2018

    Garibaldi-style pozole de rojo

  • Karla123  on  February 14, 2018

    Immigrant challah would make delicious French toast.

  • Lmocooks  on  February 16, 2018

    The Buttermilk Fried Pork sounds interesting.

  • Julia  on  February 16, 2018

    Irish beef stew.

  • Orangerose  on  February 16, 2018

    German Plum Tart…I love plums!!!

  • Lucicat  on  February 16, 2018

    Midwest salat

  • eggplantolive  on  February 17, 2018

    Braised giant beans with spinach!

  • Lynled  on  February 17, 2018

    Kerala shrimp stew sounds fabulous.

  • infotrop  on  February 17, 2018

    Coconut dream fish from Ziggy Marley. what a great idea for a cookbook!

  • sequoia55  on  February 17, 2018

    spicy Ethiopian chicken stew

  • JenJoLa  on  February 17, 2018

    Mughlai fish curry (Machli ka salan)

  • TheCookbookCook  on  February 17, 2018

    Chipotle-lime chicken

  • Dmartin997  on  February 17, 2018

    Coconut dream fish

  • Execchef1225  on  February 17, 2018

    Ethiopian chicken stew. Had this once in my life and never forgot it.

  • ADeeRD  on  February 17, 2018

    Looks like a lovely book. Would like to try the Ethiopian chicken stew- have never had it.

  • kikilalah  on  February 18, 2018

    Armenian-style chilled yogurt soup (Serge Madikians).

  • kateiscoooking  on  February 18, 2018

    I'd have to start with Aaron's tacos! But, Ethiopian dishes sound interesting!

  • percussion03  on  February 18, 2018

    Island slaw, followed closely by the breads!

  • PeavineBlues  on  February 19, 2018

    Eggplant dip

  • RickPearson54  on  February 19, 2018


  • Sfgordon  on  February 19, 2018

    I would try immigrant challah

  • artthecat  on  February 25, 2018

    Cheese and salami spoon salad.

  • PennyG  on  February 25, 2018

    Coconut dream fish [Ziggy Marley]!

  • rachael_mc  on  February 25, 2018

    Braised giant beans with spinach

  • HomespunHouse  on  February 27, 2018

    cranberry bean soup with farro

  • bluestocking  on  February 28, 2018

    Roni Mazumdar's Chicken dahiwala, although I must say choosing is very difficult. This cookbook looks like a dream one for my family!

  • skyejaden  on  February 28, 2018

    I would start with Tichi's gazpacho!

  • jlh39  on  February 28, 2018

    The Vegan Lebanese moussaka (Maghmour) sounds delicious!

  • Cryambers  on  March 1, 2018

    Tiradito Lima Bangkok

  • orchidlady01  on  March 2, 2018

    Mama Chang's hot and sour soup and Portuguese bean soup

  • KarenDel  on  March 2, 2018

    I would like to make Reem's muhammara

  • hibeez  on  March 2, 2018

    Coconut dream fish

  • pcaradonna  on  March 2, 2018

    Irish beef stew

  • rejcooks  on  March 3, 2018

    Lentil and spinach soup

  • RSW  on  March 4, 2018

    Fennel salad with Castelvetrano olives and provolone [Ignacio Mattos]

  • Teruska  on  March 4, 2018

    Cranberry bean soup with farro ~ my wife loves cranberry beans!

  • Terrill  on  March 5, 2018

    Gazan Hot Tomato and Dill salad

  • jezpurr  on  March 5, 2018

    The Irish beef stew and the smoky eggplant with pomm/walnut dip!!!^_^

  • PollySBA  on  March 7, 2018

    Rye pancakes with pork belly and lingonberries. . . sounds scoopable; my kind of dish

  • Jenamarie  on  March 8, 2018

    Lebanese peasant salad (Fattoush) – my fave!

  • Coffeebean  on  March 9, 2018

    Eggplant dip

  • lcomer  on  March 10, 2018

    Ethiopian spicy chicken stew, the Irish stew, hot sour soup

  • rosalee  on  March 11, 2018

    Fennel salad with Castelvetrano olives and provolone–I've never had anything like it, but it sounds amazing

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  March 12, 2018

    Spicy fruit salad with shrimp …but so many look so good would be difficult to choose a first

  • NaomiH  on  March 12, 2018

    Mama Chang's hot and sour soup

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  March 12, 2018

    Id love the cutting board…so mad at myself that I didnt get me a great cutting board or wood topped bakers table, when I had the chance…Used to sell Boos products when I sold restaurant supplies…in another life…argh

  • bakeswithlove2369  on  March 12, 2018

    id love the roaster …i roast everything…..roasting brings out the natural flavors of the food…sometimes high and fast or slow and low…yum

  • JamieSchler  on  March 12, 2018

    Poisson yassa – I adore poulet yassa and have a fantastic recipe so I would love to try this one with fish!

  • aoiwowie  on  March 12, 2018

    I want to try Chicken dahiwala!

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