Here Come the Plantains

I think I’d like them a little riper, ideally, for this dish, but this is what they had in the store, so that’s fine. Since this is for a party Sunday, I couldn’t exactly wait for them to ripen (which can take weeks). They’re still tasty.


Devilled Eggs

This is called devilled eggs in my cookbook, which always confuses people, because Americans mean something very different by devilled eggs. But I swear, that’s what we call them in Sri Lanka.

It’s really devilled onions with eggs — you hard-boil the eggs, and then slice them in half and top them with devilled onions. (I didn’t slice these yet, because they’re for a party on Sunday and I’m cooking in advance; I’ll do that step just before the party to maintain egg freshness.)

You can use devilled onions for whatever you like — even use oil instead of ghee and then they’re vegan. They’d be great on a sandwich with grilled mushrooms or eggplant, for example. And if you’re not vegan, then consider grilled chicken or pork. Yum!

The basic process is to:

– slice onions
– heat oil
– add mustard seeds and heat until they start popping (now you have mustard oil)
– add cumin seeds
– add onions — you can stand over them and stir on medium heat, but these days, I often put it on low and just come back and stir once in a while (which also makes it nicely compatible with playing a board game with Jed, who likes to think over his moves a little more than I do)
– once the onions are golden-translucent, add cayenne and salt, stir a few minutes on medium-high until the cayenne has cooked a little, then add ketchup (or if you are snooty, add chopped tomatoes, vinegar, salt, and sugar)

– that’s basically it — this is one of the first things I learned to cook in college, and I made it just like that — but if you want to fancy it up a bit, you can add a little lime juice, jaggery, and some curry leaves for added complexity

Actual recipe in Feast, of course. 🙂 Vegans, would it be helpful to have the devilled onion recipe in Vegan Serendib? I hadn’t planned on it, but it’s easy enough to add…

Vegan Serendib Kickstarter running here (stretch goal: a cocktail party recipe book!) —…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…

Here’s an Extra Special Fabulous Treat

Brilliant Sri Lankan American writers Nayomi Munaweera and Sugi Ganeshananthan very kindly agreed (on very short notice!) to record a podcast episode with me. In theory, we were going to talk about doing Sri Lankan research for our books, but in actuality, we mostly talked about other Sri Lankan writers we love, and food. Lots and lots about food. 🙂 ENJOY.

0:00: Mary Anne’s introducing topic and guests for the episode
1:27: Nayomi introduces herself
2:55: Sugi introduces herself
6:15: Contemporary Sri Lankan writers
12:00: On Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and his international success
15:05: Mary Anne on Sri Lanka and the civil war
20:10: Nayomi on writing for an international market
26:57: Intermission and SLF ad
27:35: Connecting to Vegan Serendib
34:17: On food writing and authenticity, and why milk rice wasn’t in A Feast of Serendib
38:47: On cooking Sri Lankan food for kids
42:08: To use, or not to use fresh coconut
46:46: On making idli and hoppers
49:47: Favorite Sri Lankan meals
1:02:30: Mary Anne on making fruit cake
1:05:30: On assimilation and bagels
1:08:54: On eating with your hands and the smell of curry

1:12:56: Where you can find Nayomi and Sugi on social media

Our First Stretch Goal

Morning, folks! I’m here with your Vegan Serendib Kickstarter update — and stretch goals!

We’ve blown through our $2500 goal, and are currently sitting very nicely at $4287 with two more weeks to go. More funds will let us do more stuff, so here’s the first stretch goal — if we make it to $5000, I’m going to release:

• Serendib Cocktail Party Sampler eBook (aiming for Oct. release, so you have it in plenty of time for the holiday season)

I’m planning to include a baker’s dozen of tropical recipes, including savory bites, sweet bites, and some fun drinks (both alcoholic and non).

As many of us are able to re-enter the party-throwing phase, maybe a little Sri Lankan inspiration will be helpful! (And if you’re still sheltering in place, you might want a little cocktail inspiration for yourself…)

You’ll be able to select the vegan or non-vegan version of the book, and all Kickstarter backers will receive a copy. It’ll also be available for purchase, of course, so a cute little holiday gift for yourself or someone you love?

Interested? Head on over to the Kickstarter and pledge, and/or tell your friends. Likes / comments / shares always appreciated for visiblity!…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…