Beetroot Curry

I asked Jed which vegetable dishes he’d like for the party, and one of the ones he requested was beet curry. (We tend to call it beetroot, actually, not just beets.) He ended up on beetroot-prep duty, and has the hands to prove it!

I keep wanting to make edits to the cookbook, and it’s too late now. So I’ll just note for you folks that AFTER I handed the book in, I made beetroot curry, and I was a little busy and distracted, and I had the heat on higher than normal when I was sautéing the beets with the onions, and I almost burned them — but not quite, and they came out SO GOOD; closer to roasted than I’d typically get on the stovetop, with even more depth of flavor. So if you make this, you might want to try to do that. But don’t let them burn — it’s a fine line. 

*****

Beet Curry
(30 minutes, serves 4)

This dish has a lovely sweet flavor with just a hint of spice—beets have a higher sugar content than any other vegetable. The lime tang beautifully balances the sweetness and the spice, for a flavor characteristic of Sri Lankan cuisine.

3 medium onions, chopped fine
3 TBL vegetable oil
1/4 tsp black mustard seed
1/4 tsp cumin seed
4 large beets (about one lb), peeled, cut in thick matchsticks
1-2 rounded tsp salt
1 rounded tsp turmeric
2-3 tsp lime juice
1-3 chopped green chilies
2 dozen curry leaves, optional
2 cups coconut milk

1. Sauté onions in oil on high with mustard seed and cumin seeds until onions are golden/translucent (not brown). Add beets, salt, turmeric, lime juice, chilies, and curry leaves. Continue cooking on high about 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, just enough so onions and beets don’t burn—you want that beautifully caramelized flavor coming through.

2. Lower heat to medium and add coconut milk. Cook, stirring frequently, until beets are cooked through and coconut milk has reduced to simply coating the beets, about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Marietta Aunty and her daughter Genisha

Feast sneak peek party help from my wonderful relatives, Marietta Aunty (my mother’s first cousin) and her daughter Genisha. They couldn’t even stay for dinner, but they insisted on helping. It gives my cookbook a little bit of added luck, having their hands in the mix — this is what a Sri Lankan community cookbook should be like.

Feast is meant to be a celebration of our food, culture, community. Any time my mother was cooking for a party, her sisters would be there, helping to cook, exchanging family news and advice in the kitchen, strengthening bonds.

This was the perfect way to start things off. ❤️

***

Let me also take this opportunity to point you all to my aunt’s organization, which currently is running three labs in northern Sri Lanka: Sponsor A Mind Build A Life (SAMBAL) was established to provide charitable assistance to children who are disadvantaged due to war, poverty, natural disasters and other calamities primarily in Sri Lanka, India, Malaysia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. http://www.sambalnow.com

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Party prep and salmon curry

Party prep — I can’t take credit for the gorgeous Turkish delight or passion fruit meringues — I picked them up at Jed’s local grocery store, Piazza (and just cut the Turkish delight up into smaller pieces). But aren’t they pretty? Salmon curry is mine, though Marie Aunty kindly insisted on chopping onions for me! She and Genisha stopped by Jed’s for coffee, and they really didn’t have to cook, but none of the women in my mother’s family are good at sitting still when someone else is working…

*****

Salmon Curry
(45 minutes, serves 6)

2 lbs salmon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 onions, chopped
1 TBL mustard seed
1 TBL cumin seed
1 tsp fenugreek / methi seed
1 tsp fennel seeds
6-12 curry leaves
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
2 cups coconut milk
Juice of one lime

1. Wash fish and dry on paper towels. Cut into roughly 1 inch pieces.

2. Sauté onions on medium-high with seeds, curry leaves, and salt until golden-translucent, stirring as needed.

3. Add cayenne, curry powder, and coconut milk. Simmer for about 5-10 minutes, until well blended. Add lime juice, stirring so it doesn’t curdle.

4. Add salmon and simmer an additional 10-15 minutes, until fish is cooked through, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust seasonings as desired. Serve with rice or stringhoppers and an assortment of sambols.

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

At Green Elephant for lunch

Tired after a three hour flight delay and broken sleep, but Jed took me to Green Elephant for lunch, a local Burmese place, which revived me somewhat. Tea leaf salad, eggplant and fish in spicy garlic sauce, a potato thingie that I’m forgetting the name of, and the yummy roti-like bread with sauce that is called something different in Burma than Malaysia but is always delicious regardless.

Resting a little now, then coffee here with my cousin Genisha and Marie Aunty, while cooking for tonight’s Feast potluck dinner at Jed’s. I say potluck, but I’ve got five dishes planned, plus substantial leftovers from lunch, oh well…

Hey, is this the first official Feast-with-books-in-hand event? I think it is. Neat. 🙂

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Frantic rush

Whew — it was a bit of a frantic rush this morning, as I tried to simultaneously figure out on the phone with Heather what was up with the signing up for GSuites for Nonprofits for the SLF and work with Stephanie on getting the review copies ready to send to my high school for their alumni event, to Sophia du Brul, a high school compatriot who is kindly hosting an alumni book party for me, and to Booklist, Library Journal, and Publisher’s Weekly, for hopeful review.

I’m not sending a review copy to Kirkus, at least right now, because they only review indie-published titles if you pay them — and I understand that they’re deluged, but it’s still frustrating. (Can’t remember the exact amount, but around $400, I think?) For one of the others, they at least give you two options, of either guaranteeing a review by paying them or submitting it and taking your chances. I suppose if they almost never review the latter, that might mean that indie publishers would be better off saving their print/mail costs for the book, but it’s nicer having the option, I think. I suppose I still might suck it up and pay for a Kirkus review, but not right now, as production costs have been mounting steadily.

We’re working on a big chart, which I’ll post when it’s ready. I’ve made a lot of costly mistakes, which is painful, but I’m trying to chalk that up to learning a new business. If I were going to take a publishing seminar, that might cost a few thousand dollars, right? Maybe not, but it’s a comforting illusion, anyway, so don’t take it away from me….

Then all that segued into very quick packing, and now I’m heading into campus to teach my classes, and from there, to the airport. These books are big! I’m delivering about eight copies to a few people who pre-ordered in the Bay Area, and it turns out when I was packing that I can actually only fit about ten copies of the hardcover book in my carry on suitcase + backpack. I think I managed to pack so I didn’t incur extra fees for heavy suitcase — we’ll see! It does mean an extra heavy backpack, so it’s a good thing that though I’m small, I am also MIGHTY. 

I’m going to the Bay Area for the weekend (coming back Monday night), and this really is a personal vacation rather than a business trip, though I’m doing a few book things while I’m there — it’s my very good friend Alex’s 50th birthday, and he and his wife Christa are combining that with a housewarming for their new place. I waffled for a good long time about going, because I wasn’t sure I could afford the time, but one of my big resolutions this year is to invest in significant relationships, for the sake of my own mental health and happiness. So here I go.

Also, this is a threefer, as I get to also stay with Jed for a few days, and even have dinner with my in-laws, who I haven’t seen in many months. Bonus! So good all around, I think, and with any luck, I’ll get a fair bit of work done on the plane too. We’ll see how exhausted I am after teaching; sometimes, it’s draining enough that all I want to do afterwards is sleep. In which case, I’ll do that on the plane instead, or at least doze and watch dumb tv. Rest also good, or so I hear…

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Hardcovers of Feast!

Hardcovers!!! This is what 100 hardcover cookbooks look like. And yes, I pored over it obsessively tonight until I finally found both a typo and a word choice I’d like to edit, but that just means God won’t smite me down for hubris, because otherwise, this cookbook is pretty close to perfect. 

I think I started seriously working on this book in the summer of 2017, so more than two years ago.

A long (but tasty) road.

(Side notes: Jeremy John Parker, I was setting up a book event today, and the cafe owner asked who had done the book design, because it was really, really good. I agree. Thank you for making this labor of love so beautiful.

Pamudu Tennakoon, every time the book falls open to one of your illustrations, it makes me smile (and for the paperback, which has no photos, your illos absolutely make the book). Paul Goyette, it’s a privilege having one of your photos on my cover, and so many of them in the book.)

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Just jotting down a few notes…

I am NOT working on the Wilding memoir right now. There’s so much else in the queue ahead of it. Let me just jot down a few notes on things that came into my head in the car on the way back from the doctor…

Five minutes later:

– incident — buying house, destroyed by construction, plants coming up, reported to village by trustee who walked by regularly (so we heard), tried to resist, had to go to court, cried, was fined the smallest fine, had to cut it all down. Gave up and started over, rather than wait another year to figure out what I had (knowing it’d look like weeds in the process)
– cut down tree of heaven (mistake)
– massive tendency to fail to water, cost so many plants!
– layering in hardscape, trees, shrubs, perennials, edibles, annuals, groundcover (correct order?)
– how much grass to leave in front (aesthetics) and back (children playing)
– plan for an organic garden, mostly because of small children and edibles — almost no fertilizer (and only organic), no pesticides or herbicides for seven years
– natives outperforming and crowding out ornamentals
– collecter versus designer (design effects: limit number of plants in garden, plant in odd numbers (3,5,70, plant in paisley
– layered bulbs
– Martha Stewart digs out a massive trench and throws down daffodil bulbs willy nilly
– early spring bulbs and hellebores
– spring garden first, then filling in summer and autumn
– Kirsten’s gift of autumn book (British gardening vs.)
– frustration with garden magazines
– Garden Club question about burdock (paint poison with a paintbrush)
– attempts to espalier fruit trees
– difficulty of planting vegetables when you keep giving over all the sun to flowers
– beneficial non-native versus invasive
– planting the hellstrip instead of green grass
– heavy pollen plants / bees in hellstrip

*****

I may be in some trouble here.

Milkweed pods

As I’m pausing in the alley to take a photo of the milkweed pods by my garage, a passing neighbor — “Your garden is so beautiful. Next year, you should plant vegetables too, so we can all get fat.”

(I’m actually really bad at vegetables. Working on it. My cherry tomatoes are okay this year — I think I’m going to try some on ornamental trellises in the front parkway strip next year. Maybe Atomic Grape, since it’s so pretty.)

Bay Area plans finalized for this weekend

Bay Area plans finalized for this weekend. We’re doing potluck dinner at Jed’s house in Mountain View this Friday night, 9/10 — friends, if you didn’t get an invite, let me know — just sent them out!

I should have the Kickstarter editions of my new cookbook Feast of Serendib on hand (definitely the paperback, and hopefully the hardcover, if they arrive on schedule tomorrow), so if you’ve preordered, you can pick them up! If you haven’t pre-ordered yet and want to, you can do so here at the Kickstarter rate: http://serendibkitchen.com/shop/ — but you can also just come hang out with me. No purchase required. 

Hope you can make it — if not, I’ll also be stopping by Writers with Drinks in S.F. on Saturday evening, possibly at the tail end, so we could coordinate a book handoff there. Note that it tends to sell out, so if you’re coming to see the show, you may want to get there early to queue. (http://www.writerswithdrinks.com)

But we could also meet afterwards — I’m planning to stop at Curry Up Now a few blocks away when the show is over, before driving back to Mountain View to stay at Jed’s that night. Probably not out for too long, though! Let me know if you want to meet up there.

(And oh, if you want copies of any of the other recent books — The Stars Change (SF) or Perennial (cancer/garden romance with poetry) — let me know; I can bring some of those too, if I know how many are wanted. Those are $10 each.)

***

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen

Meal prep for sous vide egg bites

I’m trying to get better about prepping on the weekend, to make the week easier. I’ve become a big fan of sous vide egg bites, and have three variations I keep in rotation now. Eggs with onion, green chili and cream cheese (Sri Lankan style!); eggs with broccoli and cheddar (vegetables at breakfast, mmm….), and eggs with onions, mushrooms, and swiss. All yum.

Pictured here is an egg scramble I made on a Sunday, after sauteeing a big batch of onions and mushrooms; the rest went into the canning jars, along with beaten eggs seasoned with salt and pepper, plus a nice slice of swiss cheese, making breakfasts for the rest of the week.

So satisfying to pull an egg bite out of the fridge, microwave for 30 seconds, and eat with a spoon. I’ve been trying to find more easy savory low-carb breakfasts; thank goodness for eggs. .

The only downside is that I don’t find that they freeze well; the consistency changes in ways I don’t like, moisture separating out from the eggs. So next plan is to try some of these flavor combos in a baked frittata; I think those freeze better. Will report back…

*****

My new Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, launches on March 6, 2020, but we’re doing a long, slow pre-launch of the special Kickstarter edition in the interim. Right now, we still have discounted Kickstarter pricing available for pre-orders, along with Kickstarter goodies — you can pre-order here: http://serendibkitchen.com/a-feast-of-serendib/

If you’d like to support the development of more mostly Sri Lankan recipes, I’d love to have you join the cookbook club — for $2 / month, you’ll get recipes delivered to your inbox (fairly) regularly: https://www.patreon.com/mohanraj

And here’s all the foodie social media:

Serendib Kitchen blog: http://serendibkitchen.com
Serendib Kitchen Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/serendib_kitchen/
Serendib FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/132029834135500/
Serendib FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/mohanrajserendib/

Thanks for your support!

#serendibkitchen