Rose Fizz

We may not be able to visit a tropical island right now, but I did make myself a cocktail to enjoy poolside in a plastic cup. 🙂

Rose Fizz

1 oz. rose simple syrup
2 oz. vodka (I used rose-grapefruit vodka)
1/4 t. citric acid (you could use lemon or lime juice instead, but then your finished drink will be cloudy and yellow)
ginger beer

Mix syrup with citric acid and vodka, add ginger beer, top with rose petals and enjoy.

*****

(Rose simple syrup is basically boil water and sugar until sugar dissolves, reduce heat to simmer, add rose petals and cook for ten minutes, strain out rose petals; should store well in fridge for months. This batch I’m using is actually from last summer — planning to make ice cream with it tomorrow.)

A Vast Sea of Hopper

Hey, so it turns out that if you are completely bewildered as to where your hopper pans might have gone (did I loan them out to someone?), but your friend gave you some hopper batter that you really want to use, you can totally make (giant) hoppers in a wok.

I mean, a single egg looks a little goofy in a vast sea of hopper, and the ratios are a little off, in terms of spongy versus crispy texture, but when you’ve got a desperate hopper craving, it will totally do.

(Enjoyed with eggplant pickle and coconut sambol.)

A Desperate Hopper Craving

Hey, so it turns out that if you are completely bewildered as to where your hopper pans might have gone (did I loan them out to someone?), but your friend gave you some hopper batter that you really want to use, you can totally make (giant) hoppers in a wok.

I mean, a single egg looks a little goofy in a vast sea of hopper, and the ratios are a little off, in terms of spongy versus crispy texture, but when you’ve got a desperate hopper craving, it will totally do.

(Enjoyed with eggplant pickle and coconut sambol.)

Easy, Frugal, Yum

Maybe it’s just me, but I kind of think chilaquiles and kottu roti are kind of the same thing? Along with kedgeree / khichuri, and probably lots of other similar dishes from around the world. (Casserole is related, though baking rather than stovetop is a different process.) All ways to salvage dried out leftovers and transform them into something fabulously delicious.

For example, I had some leftover restaurant fish tacos. They were cold and dry and completely unappealing, but we don’t waste food in this house, so I was going to make myself eat them. But we also try really hard not to eat sad food in this house, so I had to make them delicious first. A variation on chilaquiles was the obvious answer.

– I chopped a shallot and some green chili and sautĂ©ed it in a good amount of oil
– I chopped up the tacos and added them to the pan, sautĂ©ing them all together
– I poured in some jarred tomatillo sauce (Kevin made a batch a while back, so it was particularly tasty tomatillo sauce, but any will do)
– I could have stopped there, but we had fresh cherry tomatoes, so I chopped some of those and stirred them in too, after taking it off the heat — a great contrast
– if we’d had fresh cilantro, I would have topped it with that. A little queso fresco would be nice too. Could’ve added some chopped raw onions for a little more bite and freshness

But this took may 5-10 minutes to make, saved the tacos, gave me lunch today and probably breakfast tomorrow, and was SO, SO tasty.

This basic process, of rehydrating and cooking dried out protein + starch in a sauce, ideally with some fresh elements added too, is a pretty key cooking skill, I think. Easy, frugal, yum.

Serendib Kitchen Summertime Flash Sale!

Serendib Kitchen Summertime Flash Sale! Buy a cookbook, get an extra treat ($10 – $15 value).

Today only, July 15, get a free gift when you purchase any edition of A Feast of Serendib, a Sri Lankan cookbook! To claim your freebie, let us know which option you’d like in the ‘notes’ section at checkout!

Your choice of one of the following:

• 8 oz bag of homemade Sri Lankan curry powder (only in US, sorry, regulations!)
• 2 bars homemade soap
• assortment of handmade bookmarks and Serendib Kitchen recipe postcards (6×9)
• a mask sewn from my fabrics (pattern subject to availability)

Mask fabric options can be viewed at our Shopify site — for soaps, we currently have two: lilac & lilies and orange creamsicle, alternatively, bath salts in lavender or rose & passionfruit.

FINE PRINT: One small but important note that we couldn’t fit into the graphic — if you get a print edition, shipping for the treat is included in regular shipping costs. If you get a digital edition, shipping will be extra (and we might need to sort out the specifics with you via e-mail, because it gets a little complicated). Local porch pick-ups, no shipping to worry about, of course!

Order here: https://serendib-kitchen.myshopify.com

*****

• Lots of sample recipes here: http://serendibkitchen.com
• Check out one of our cooking videos on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWsyMUej2ppby36zPmisRbQ

PUBLISHER’S WEEKLY starred review: “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 sautĂ©ed 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.”

Beet Curry with Jed

In just 7 minutes, Jed Hartman will teach you how to make Sri Lankan beet curry. Okay, actually, I do the teaching, but Jed is very cute in the video, so that’s even better. . We recorded this back at Christmastime, finally getting it up now. Funfun. Beet curry is SO GOOD.

Sri Lankan Varai

This isn’t so much a recipe, but a what-do-you-do-with-veggies-that-you-need-to-use-up approach to cooking. My default is to turn it into a Sri Lankan varai, a lightly cooked vegetable dish.

In this case, I had leeks, cabbage, and carrot that I needed to use.

  • Chop leeks (remember to rinse them, or you may end up eating grit)

  • SautĂ© in a bit of oil until golden-translucent, with mustard seed and cumin seed.
  • Add chopped cabbage. Add carrots, cut up small. (This method also works with thawed frozen mixed veg; drain the excess water).

  • Stir on medium-high for 5-10 minutes, until partially cooked and a little browned. If you want it spicier, add chopped green chilies (or crushed red pepper, or cayenne).

  • Stir in desiccated (not sweetened!) coconut, salt (1 t.), and a little turmeric

  • Cover and turn to medium low for 5-10 minutes, so veggies can cook through (depending on what veggies you’re using, you may be able to skip the covering stage — peas don’t need it, for example)

  • Remove lid and cook a few minutes more, stirring, until water has evaporated. Serve hot with rice and curries.

NOTE: Day after, this is easy to reheat with a little oil and leftover rice, scrambling a few eggs in, to make a healthy and filling vegetarian meal. You could also sautĂ© some ground beef, and stir this in with rice similarly; we’ll be doing that for dinner tonight.

Sri Lankan Chicken Curry

This is a dish you can get in restaurants and homes all over Sri Lanka, just a classic. It’s my parents’ 50th anniversary today, and this is one of the dishes I learned from Amma. She made chicken curry probably once a week for my entire childhood, and my recipe is still pretty much identical to hers, almost thirty years later. Standing the test of time!

3-5 medium onions, diced
3 TBL vegetable oil
1 tsp black mustard seed
1 tsp cumin seed
3 whole cloves
3 whole cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into 3 pieces
1-2 TBL red chili powder
1 TBL Sri Lankan curry powder
12 pieces chicken, about 2 1/2 lbs, skinned and trimmed of fat. (Use legs and thighs — debone them if you must, but they’ll be tastier if cooked on the bone. Don’t use breast meat — it’s not nearly as tasty.) (Alternately, use 6 pieces of chicken, and three russet potatoes, peeled and cubed)
1/3 cup ketchup
1 heaping tsp salt
1/2 cup milk
1 TBL lime juice

1. In a large pot, sauté onions in oil on medium-high with mustard seed and cumin seed, cloves, cardamom pods, and cinnamon pieces, until onions are golden/translucent (not brown). Add chili powder and cook one minute. Immediately add curry powder, chicken, ketchup, and salt.

2. Lower heat to medium. Cover and cook, stirring periodically, until chicken is cooked through and sauce is thick, about 20 minutes. Add water if necessary to avoid scorching. Add potatoes if using, and add milk, to thicken and mellow spice level; stir until well blended. (Be careful not to cook on high at this point, as the milk will curdle.)

3. Cook an additional 20 minutes, until potatoes are cooked through. Add lime juice; simmer a few additional minutes, stirring. Serve hot.