Rough Estimates

Oh, it’s going to be a little difficult deciding which recipes to include in Vegan Serendib. The temptation is, of course, to put more and more in, to make it really comprehensive. But every time you add a recipe with a color photo, you add some cost to the production of the book. So add 10 recipes, and you have to add a few dollars to the cost, to even have it break even.

The question is whether to make it the same size as Feast(100+ recipes) and the same similar $40 cost, or let it be a little smaller and more affordable. We should be able to do a paperback without photos as a compromise (maybe $25 instead of $40) but that does have similar price concerns regarding length — if I made it shorter, I could make that cheaper too.

80 recipes for $30 hc / $20 pb?

60 recipes for $25 hc / $15 pb?

(Rough estimates…)


Brainstorming possibilities now — here are a few I’m considering adding. More will come. If there are any here you want to advocate for, now is the time. 🙂 I’ve *starred the definite additions.

Vegetables (mostly as curry or varai):

1) ash plantain (mild or spicy, with kaliya curry variation)

2) poosanikai / ash pumpkin (wintermelon) curry

– vellai (white), variation rasavangi (tamarind)

3) bitter gourd curry

4) breadfruit curry

5) elephant foot // karanai yam (substitute sweet potato) curry or roast

6) plantain flower (if I can find some)

7) snake gourd // pudalangai (substitute summer squash)

8. ridged gourd (substitute zucchini)

9) green chili curry

10) hibiscus curry or sambol

11) sweet pumpkin (or acorn squash, or butternut squash)


* milk rice

– jaggery rice

– tamarind rice


– dhal rasam (lentil soup)


* brinjal moju

– fried jackfruit seed

– quick-pickled cucumber-carrot relish

– acharu (vegetable pickle)

– lime pickle

– green tomato chutney (daily)

– pickled dates

– passionfruit jam

– green banana peel chutney


– bonda

– kolukattai


– thengai paal / coconut milk payasam

– parippu piyasam

– laddu and variations

– coconut milk ice cream

– passionfruit sorbet


And this is what’s already confirmed, recipe-tested, etc., and WILL be included (about 40) — these are all in Feast:


Dried Chili-Mango Cashews / Kari-Maangai Kaju

Vegetable Cutlets

Lentil Patties / Kadalai


Basic Approaches to Vegetables

Cashew Curry / Kaju Kari

Eggplant Curry / Kathrikkai Kari

Green Mango Curry / Mankkai Kari

Green Jackfruit Curry / Pilakkai Kari

Okra Curry / Vendikkai Kari

Deviled Potatoes / Ooralai Kulunga

Cauliflower Poriyal

Eggplant, Potato, and Pea Pod Poriyal

Tempered Lentils / Paruppu

Cabbage Varai / Muttaikoss Varai

Green Bean Varai



Pickled Beet Salad

Green Coconut Chutney / Thengai Chutney

Mango Pickle / Maangai Oorukkai

Coriander Soup / Kothamalli Rasam

Bitter Gourd Sambol / Paavakkai Sambol

Chili Onion Sambol / Lunu Miris Sambol

Coconut Sambol / Thengai-Poo or Pol Sambol

Eggplant Sambol / Kattharikkai Sambol

Kale Sambol

Sweet Onion Sambol / Seeni Sambol

Coconut Milk Gravy / Sothi


Golden Rice Pilaf

Vegetarian Biryani

Herbal Porridge / Kola Kenda

Hoppers / Appam

Stringhoppers / Iddiyappam

Plain Roti / Godambu Roti

Chopped Roti Stir Fry / Kottu Roti

Savory Rice Pancakes / Thosai

Steamed Rice Flour and Coconut / Arisi-Maa Pittu

Stir-Fried Semolina / Uppuma

Sweets and Drinks: Tropical Fruit SaladFresh Sweet Lime Juice / Thesikkai SaaruMango or Passionfruit LassiArrack SourMango-Passionfruit Punch or Mimosa

Eggplant Sambol / Kattharikai Sambol

(1 hour prep, 20 minutes cooking, serves 8)

My vegetarian friends are particularly fond of this dish. It offers a bright note, with its raw onion and lime juice, that wakes up a plate of rice and curry.

1 eggplant
1 rounded tsp salt
1 rounded tsp turmeric
oil for deep frying
3 fresh green chilies, sliced thin
1 medium onion, sliced thin
lime juice

1/4 cup coconut milk, optional

1. Cut eggplant into quarters lengthwise and then slice thinly. Rub with salt and turmeric, spread on a few layers of paper towels and leave at least 1 hour. Bitter water will rise to the surface of the eggplant; blot that water with more paper towels. This will make for much tastier eggplant.

2. Heat about an inch of oil in a deep frying pan and fry eggplant slices slowly until brown on both sides. Lift out with Chinese spider (mesh metal spoon) and put in a dry bowl.

3. Mix with remaining ingredients; serve warm.

Calling for Vegan Test Cooks

I’d love to find some vegan test cooks for the new vegan edition of my Sri Lankan cookbook.

I’m hoping to get 5 volunteers who are willing to test cook maybe 10 new recipes over the course of the next month. You’d let me know if any of the instructions need clarifying, and I’d love your thoughts on flavor profiles, cooking techniques, etc. as well. In exchange, I’ll be happy to send you a hard cover + ebook edition of either the vegan cookbook, or, if you prefer, the original Feast of Serendib cookbook (you can even mix and match one of each).

I’d love to get some experienced vegan cooks to take a look at these recipes; if you’re familiar with South Asian and/or Sri Lankan cuisine already, that’s great, but not necessary, since I’m hoping this cookbook will be accessible to a broad range of readers.

UPDATE: I think I’m up to 5 test cooks! That was fast! But if you’d like to follow along on my wall, I’ll be posting the recipes here over the next month, and I’ll be giving out some free ebook copies here as well! All my posts are public, so no need to friend me — a follow should work fine.

Feast Featured in Publishers Weekly

A Feast of Serendib was featured in Publishers Weekly’s Holiday Gift Guide under Cookbooks!

Holiday Gift Guide 2020: Nonfiction

These stellar books reveal the lives of myriad artists and writers, from rock stars to sommeliers and literary luminaries. Borges and Me: An Encounter Jay Parini (Doubleday) ISBN 978-0-385-54582-2, $27.95 In this astute memoir, novelist Parini writes of leaving Pennsylvania in 1971 to pursue a PhD in literature at St.

Any Vegan Sri Lankans in the House?

Do I have any vegan Sri Lankans in the house? I’m starting work on expanding Vegan Serendib, and I’d love to hear more about what dishes you particularly love and would want to see in a cookbook like this.

Other vegans are welcome to weigh in too, and other Sri Lankans, and, well, anyone, really.

Cover not final, but isn’t it spiffy? 🙂 Jeremy John Parker does great work!

Another Venue

The McKay article about Feast made it to another venue, the Roanoake Times:…/article_f434d713-fd26-58b7-9379…


The flavorful, and often overlooked, foods of Sri Lanka

Mary Anne Mohanraj missed a lot of things when she went off to college, but the thing she was most homesick for was her mother’s cooking. When her parents immigrated to Connecticut from Colombo, Sri Lanka, in 1973, they brought with them their fiery curries, coconut sambols and countless rice dishes.

Vegetables at Dinner

School lunch today — apple-cheddar crescent rolls + slices of apple. Vegetables at dinner, really. 🙂

I admit, I use Pillsbury crescent rolls to make these, because while I *can* and *have* laminated dough for croissants, I definitely don’t have the time during the school week! So these aren’t fancy, but the kids adore them.

Slice apples and roll up each crescent roll with a slice of apple and some grated cheddar, sprinkle more cheddar on top, bake at 350 about 12 minutes or so.

The Way to Someone’s Heart

Just a nice Sunday lunch — omelette with melted swiss and prosciutto on fresh-baked bread, still warm and crispy, with apple slices and apple cider.

Mostly, I leave the kids to fend for themselves for lunch, but every once in a while I surprise them with something like this, and they are SO HAPPY. When Anand writes me a Mother’s Day list of things he likes about me, the first thing on the list is always: “Mommy is a good cook!”

What’s that they say about the way to someone’s heart? 🙂