We have Feast on a book table here at Scintillation

We have Feast on a book table here at Scintillation in Montreal — I brought one demo copy, and people are SUPER-EXCITED about it. I think if I can actually get this book into bookstores, we will actually sell copies. Must hustle a bit doing all the production prep! Jed has ALMOST finished my ebook; I need to review what he’s sent, probably tomorrow, and then there are just some small bits to finish off. SO CLOSE TO DONE.

Note that we will be CLOSING BackerKit next Wednesday, so we can do a count and get everything we need ready for shipping on 10/31. So if you are wanting curry powder, lovely food notecards, postcards, Kriti Festival tote bags, etc., to be shipped along with early copies of Feast, now is basically the time. They should arrive in time for the holidays. 

The tentative plan is to still take book orders in November for a few more weeks, and then shut it all down for the winter, so we can start prepping for the real launch in early March.

Bulk Spices for Sri Lankan Curry Powder

I need bulk spices, because in the next week, I’ll be making up 118 4 oz. packets of my dry-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder to send out with Kickstarter orders. 118! (Possibly plus a few more; we’re going to be closing pre-orders next Wednesday.)

Suggestions on where you’d buy masses of coriander seed and such? Pete’s has a decent selection of Indian spices, so I may just go there. My real inclination is to swing by the Indian neighborhood on Devon, with a side trip to Geetha’s for Sri Lankan goodies for my freezer (so nice to have effortless idiyappam on hand), but if you have other recommendations, send them along.


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!


Lunch with Amanda Daly

On my way back from lunch at Léa with Amanda Daly (which was lovely, of course, so excited to hear about how her Daly Bagel shop is coming along — can’t wait for launch!), I dropped off a comp. copy of Feast at Carnivore Oak Park — mostly because I love having a local butcher in walking distance from me, and they’re sweethearts. (I also picked up some pork shoulder for making Sri Lankan black pork curry, probably for tomorrow night’s dinner.)

But also, we’ll be doing a launch event with them in the spring, so I wanted to get them a copy early so they could hopefully start trying recipes, and maybe they’ll even carry the book in the store? And, maybe, curry powder too? Milk toffee? Hmm…would need a serious food license for that, though, and access to a commercial kitchen. Something to think about.


I’m a little confused about ebook editions and updating.

I’m a little confused about ebook editions and updating. So, one thing that seems like I should be doing is when I bring out a new ebook (like Feast of Serendib), I should include links at the back to my other ebooks (like Vegan Serendib, the Marshmallows of Serendib, Perennial, etc.). That’s straightforward enough.

BUT. It seems like I should also upload new versions of those earlier books with links to the new ebook, yes? And my question is, does that ‘count’ as a new edition, in the eyes of librarians, booksellers, and academics? Do I need to change the ISBN? That seems sort of goofy, since I’m essentially just changing advertising copy, not the actual text of the original book.

Is there settled practice on this? Or are we just in a Wild West of chaotic ISBN-assigning? (Yes, I know a lot of ebook writers don’t even bother with ISBNs, but that makes the librarian and academic in me cringe — I couldn’t do that myself.)


Reactions to Sri Lankan food

One of the things that was fascinating to me about Sunday’s event was seeing people’s reactions to cooking and eating Sri Lankan food for the first time!

For one, several of them said that it seemed much lighter to them than Indian food, which surprised me — I think that’s perhaps because they’ve only had Americanized restaurant Indian food, which tends to be loaded with extra butter / oil. (Which I think is common in lots of restaurants?)

But yes, Sri Lankan food is generally fairly light, I think. Unless you really load up on the rice, or the fried treats at parties.

Instant pot egg bites

As we enter the season of fall baking (planning on baking pumpkin-chocolate mini-muffins later today, for Anand’s birthday party), I keep thinking about how we show love with food. The kids are so delighted when they come home and find surprise apple-cheddar crescent rolls; it’s very clearly a sign of love. And that’s fine, but at the same time, my family doesn’t do great, health-wise, if we have a ton of starches around (sweet or otherwise) — it’s so easy to reach for the easy carbs.

For the family, we try to always have fruit on hand; I just picked up a double-decker fruit basket, so we can fit even more out on the island. When the kids were younger, I did a lot of cutting up fruit for them, and I still do sometimes, to encourage them to eat it, but at this point, they’ve learned to like it enough that they just grab it and either bite into it, or cut it up themselves.

I haven’t quite gotten them to liking hummus yet (must work on that again), but sometimes when they come home from school, it’s a plate of veggies with ranch that’s waiting for them, and they’ll happily snack on that if it’s out. The specific veggies the kids like does vary over time, which is a little frustrating! But thankfully, they are consistently fans of bell pepper, so there’s at least one raw veg. I can count on them eating. They also like cooked broccoli. Bell pepper and broccoli are on a very steady rotation around here. Yes, it’s boring, but needs must.

For myself, I’m trying really hard to prep more healthy options on the weekend, to make busy weeks easier. This weekend, I grilled Sri Lankan-style shrimp (recipe soon), to toss in a Caesar salad, or with quinoa and tangerine dressing, or just nibble straight up when I want a bite. Better I reach for one of those, instead of a scone. I made two batches of soup on Sunday (chicken and tortellini for the kids, Vietnamese chicken soup for me and Kev — same base, divide into two pots, season and add veggies, etc. appropriately), and Kevin grilled some chicken breast for Kavi’s Caesar salads. Of course, I’m traveling at least one weekend out of four, and I’m not always as organized or energetic as I was this weekend. But still, something to aim towards.

Pictured, a batch of mushroom-swiss egg bites, in the new silicone egg cooker — I did these in the Instant Pot, and I have to say, it was easier than doing them in the sous vide, and I’ll probably take this option going forward. I think you could also just do them on the stovetop, with a steamer tray, if you took a little care with temps.

The kids and Kevin don’t like mushrooms, so this batch is just for me, but I think I’ll try cheddar bites next time, and then if they’ll eat that (they do like scrambled eggs, but this form is going to look weird to them), maybe cheddar-broccoli? For me (and maybe Kev), Sri Lankan green-chili & onion bites will be appealing, but it may take a while to get the kids on board with that. I’m not sure they’ll ever greet them with the excitement of a batch of muffins or scones, but I think I can be okay with that.

And it’s not like the easy carbs are going away entirely — I’m still going to bake! But I guess this is a reminder to myself, more than anything else — there are lots of ways to show love with food.

Here, have something delicious and also healthy, because I want to make it easy for you to take better care of yourself. Let’s make sure we have plenty of fruit and veg and lean protein in the shopping cart this week. I love you.

Pumpkin-Toffee Scones with Jaggery Drizzle

Pumpkin-Toffee Scones with Jaggery Drizzle

These little bites of heaven were designed to appeal to my daughter, who can be quite resistant to trying new foods. When I brought one upstairs for her to try, she initially refused. I broke off a small piece and asked her to please try it, that I’d designed it especially for her, with flavors I thought she’d love. Kavya hesitated, but unwilling to disappoint her mother entirely, eventually took it. A few minutes later, she asked for the rest, please.

Kavi then admitted that she hadn’t wanted to admit that I was right, but it was too good, so she had to give in. She’s twelve-and-a-half now; the tween years are…interesting. Two strong-willed women in one house. 🙂

This is another scone where I was aiming for autumnal + South Asian. My pumpkin spices are a little punchier than you might find in most American recipes, with cardamom and ginger added to the classic cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves. The jaggery drizzle adds a molasses-like complexity; Kavi and I like our drizzle with some lime, because we are all about the tang. The brightness of the lime highlights the pumpkin in beautiful ways; I love this scone with a cup of chai.

But straight up sweetness (Anand’s preference) works here too, pairing with the toffee bits; if you were going to have this with black coffee, for example, you might be just fine with a pure jaggery drizzle. Feel free to also skip the drizzle entirely; the pumpkin-toffee scone will still be delicious, especially warm, slathered with butter.

2 3/4 cups flour
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup cold butter
1/2 c. toffee bits

1/2 c. pumpkin puree (blot with paper towel if watery)
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of cloves
1/2 cup milk

Jaggery Drizzle:
1/4 c. jaggery, dissolved in 1/4 c. boiling water
1 T lime juice (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 375F. Spray mini scone pan with Baker’s Joy (or butter and flour pan, which will be kind of a pain). Alternately, cut and shape these by hand, and bake on a regular baking sheet, placing them quite close together. If you pop them in the freezer for 30 minute before baking, they’ll hold shape better.

2. Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl. Chop butter in small pieces and cut into flour with a pastry cutter (or with your fingers) until mixture resembles coarse meal. (It’s fine to have small lumps.) Stir in toffee bits.

3. In a medium bowl, beat eggs lightly and combine with remaining 9 scone ingredients. Pour into dry mixture and stir with a fork until a soft dough forms.

4. Turn out onto a lightly floured board and knead a few times. Cut into 16 equal pieces and press into the cavities of the pan.

5. Bake 20-25 or until medium brown. Let cool 20 minutes in pan, then remove from pan to wire rack and cool completely. Serve warm, with coffee or tea.

6. Optional: Jaggery drizzle. Dissolve jaggery in boiling water, add lime juice if desired, and pour over scones.