My Sri Lankan cookbook, A Feast of Serendib, is coming out in bookstores next March, but we’re doing some early sales right now (we started shipping today!) for those who want to order before the holidays. We’re offering hand-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder too! Just got our first major review, from Publisher’s Weekly, and it’s glowing. I’d love to do signed / personalized copies for your gifting needs, or for your own cooking pleasure.
Buy the cookbook: http://serendibkitchen.com/shop/
Locals: Copies are also available now at Jake’s Place Books, 142 Harrison Street! You can also request porch pick-up from Serendib House, at 332 Wisconsin (near Harlem and Washington).
“Mohanraj (Bodies in Motion), a literature professor at the University of Illinois, Chicago, introduces readers to the comforting cuisine of Sri Lanka in this illuminating collection of more than 100 recipes. Waves of immigration from China, England, the Netherlands, and Portugal influenced the unique cuisine of Sri Lanka, Mohanraj writes, as evidenced by such dishes as Chinese rolls (a take on classic egg rolls in the form of stuffed crepes that are breaded and fried); fish cutlets (a culinary cousin of Dutch bitterballen fried croquettes); and English tea sandwiches (filled here with beets, spinach, and carrots). With Sri Lanka’s proximity to India, curry figures heavily, with options for chicken, lamb, cuttlefish, or mackerel. A number of poriyal dishes, consisting of sautéed vegetables with a featured ingredient, such as asparagus or brussels sprouts, showcase a Tamil influence. Throughout, Mohanraj does a superb job of combining easily sourced ingredients with clear, instructive guidance and menu recommendations for all manner of events, including a Royal Feast for over 200 people. This is a terrific survey of an overlooked cuisine.”
— Publisher’s Weekly
And here’s a sample recipe; this one’s popular with children. I make it at least once a week!
(30-90 minutes, serves 6-8)
The timing on this is so variable because you can either do it the long way described below, the way my mother recommends, which is definitely a bit tastier — or you can do a much faster version, where you mix the spices with the chicken, skip the marinating, and then just sauté the chicken in the pan on medium-high until cooked through and serve. I use both methods, mostly depending on how much of a hurry I’m in. Regardless of which method you use, this dish is best served fresh; if it sits, the chicken will tend to dry up and not be as tasty.
NOTE: This is my daughter’s favorite chicken dish, and one she always greets with delight; she started eating it when she was about five, with no added chili powder. Over time, I’ve added a little more chili powder when feeding it to both kids, serving with milk to help them along; you can also use black pepper if you’d prefer.
1 heaping tsp ginger powder
1 heaping tsp garlic powder
1 heaping tsp turmeric
1 tsp salt
12 chicken thighs, about 2 lbs., deboned and cut bite-size
vegetable oil for frying
1/2 to 2 heaping tsp red chili powder (to taste, optional)
1. Mix first four spices in a large bowl; add chicken pieces and rub with your hands until well coated. Marinate 1/2 hour.
2. Heat oil on high; add chili powder (if using) and cook 15 seconds, stirring.
3. Add chicken and sear on high, turning to brown all sides.
4. Reduce heat to low and cover; cook approximately 15-20 minutes, until meat is cooked through.
5. Uncover and cook until all the liquid is gone.
6. Tilt pan and push chicken pieces to one side; allow excess oil to drain to one side for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to dish and serve hot.
NOTE: If reheating a day or two later, I recommend reheating in a pan with a little coconut milk; just simmer 5-10 minutes, enough for the milk to thicken with the spices into a nice sauce. Or serve dry chicken with a nice coconut-milky vegetable curry, like carrot or beetroot curry.
(likes / comments / shares appreciated for visibility!)