Vegan Now a Project We Love

Hey, isn’t this lovely? Kickstarter has chosen Vegan Serendib as a “Project We Love.” I get a badge and everything. πŸ™‚ Congrats, little Kickstarter project!

We’re up to $1741 of the $2500 funding goal, so getting close! To pledge (and get books at a discount), go here:…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…

Speaking of discounts, I have a special treat to announce for today — Feast has been out for more than a year now, and with Vegan getting close to done, it felt like it was time — we’re dropping the price on A Feast of Serendib! $5 off on all editions — hardcover, paperback, and ebook. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep that sale price up — at least through the end of the Kickstarter, so through the end of June. So if you’re looking for a non-vegan Sri Lankan cookbook, I got you. πŸ™‚

Shop here:

Almost a Third Funded Already!

Took a break from cooking to check on the Kickstarter — you guys, we’re almost a third funded already, only about 6 hours in. πŸ™‚ That’s what you like to see in a Kickstarter!

This is also why you set your goal to the minimum of what you actually need. Much better to add stretch goals later, once you’ve funded, than risk not funding. If I’d know that with my first Kickstarter, I could’ve saved myself a lot of stress — we finally funded in the wee hours of the morning on the very last day.

Injii (Ginger) Sambol

1/4 c. minced fresh ginger
1 c. fresh grated coconut
1-3 green chilies, seeded and chopped
1 c. chopped red onion
1 sprig mint leaves
1 T lime juice
1/2 t. salt

pinch of jaggery or dark brown sugar

1. Combine ingredients in food processor, blender, or mortar-and-pestle and process until well-blended. Serve, garnished with fresh mint.

NOTE: May be frozen for later use.

It is sort of goofy how much a little green leafiness improves what would otherwise be a sort of bland food photo. πŸ™‚

Warmly Bathed

Aw, I just did the first flurry of posting about the Kickstarter launch of Vegan Serendib — and less than an hour later, I check to see 5 backers already, and $188 pledged.

Feeling warmly bathed in the glow of community support. πŸ™‚

Vegan Serendib Kickstart Has Launched

Good morning, my peoples! It’s Kickstarter launch day for Vegan Serendib, woohoo! This is a comprehensive introduction to Sri Lankan American cuisine, entirely vegan, featuring over a hundred delicious recipes.

We’ve taken all the non-vegan recipes out of Feast, and replaced them with a host of vegan fabulousness, so you’ll be getting a substantial, beautiful book full of yumminess.

The Kickstarter offers early-bird discounted pricing, a host of fun tiers with additional options (big discounts on buying multiple books, for example — one for you, one for a friend?), as well as the opportunity to support a minority-and-woman-owned indie publishing project.

We’re aiming to raise $2500, which will cover initial costs for book design, printing, and mailing. It would be really LOVELY to reach that quickly, as Kickstarters that fund early tend to get additional publicity, which would be super-helpful. If we make the $2500, we’ll be adding some stretch tiers with more great recipes.

And if I can ask you to like / comment / share this post for extra visibility, I’d really appreciate it! As a small incentive, we’ll choose one person from everyone who likes / comments / shares this post today (June 7th, before midnight CST) to receive a free hardcover copy of Vegan Serendib!

Thank you!

Praise for Feast: “Mohanraj does a superb job of combining easily sourced ingredients with clear, instructive guidance and menu recommendations for all manner of events…a terrific survey of an overlooked cuisine.” – Publishers Weekly


Rose Sambol

When you have an overabundance of roses, you might make rose sambol. Is it the prettiest sambol? I think it might be.

20 roses, stalks removed, petals rinsed
1 c. red onion, sliced
1 c. fresh grated coconut
5 dried chilies, broken into pieces
2 T lime juice

1 t. salt

1. In a mortar & pestle, or food processor, combine ingredients until well blended. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve with rice and curry, roti, or anywhere else you’d use sambol.

Super pretty. πŸ™‚

Rosappu Pachadi / Rose (or Hibiscus) Salad

(15 minutes, serves 4)

This is an ancient recipe, based primarily on a recipe N. Maheswari Devi saved from 13th-14th c. manuscripts in the Jaffna Library. The library, which contained over 97,000 books and manuscripts and was one of the largest in Asia, was burned by an organized mob on June 1, 1981, during the Sri Lankan conflict, one of the great tragedies of that era. The burning was one of the most violent examples of ethnic biblioclasm of the 20th century.

Although the library has since been rebuilt, many irreplaceable manuscripts were lost to the world. I offer this recipe to you with gratitude to the author for her work researching and saving many such recipes, and recommend her book to you, Jaffna Heritage Cooking.

Roses bloom lushly in the hill country of Sri Lanka; if roses aren’t available, hibiscus (shoeflower) also works beautifully here, lending a little more tang. You can prepare this recipe either as a lightly-dressed salad, or as more of a yogurt-based raita, a cooling element with a spicy curry meal.

Petals are quite perishable, so this should be made and served fresh for a salad; a raita will keep for a few days in the fridge.

NOTE: It’s important to only eat flowers that haven’t been treated with pesticides or other poisons when cooking; if you’re not growing the flowers yourself, be sure to buy from reputable sources that certify they are food-grade quality.

about 40 rosebuds, or 20 roses
3-5 green chilies, minced
1/2 c. fresh grated coconut
1/2 c. red onion, minced
1/4 – 1 c. vegan yogurt (determine amount depending on whether you’re aiming for a dressed salad, as pictured, or something closer to a raita)
1 t. fresh mint, minced

1/2 t. salt

1. If using rosebuds, remove the petals from the base. If using fully-grown roses, tear or chop the petals small (otherwise, the large petals will have an unappetizing slick texture). Rinse and drain them well before continuing.

2. Combine petals with remaining ingredients, stirring to mix well. Serve cold.

Boom! Tell me that wouldn’t be the star of your brunch table. πŸ™‚

Karapincha / Curry Leaf Sambol

Note that curry leaves (flat, dark-green leaves) are botanically known as Murraya koenigii; they are aromatic and an essential element of Sri Lankan cuisine; they’re becoming more available in the States these days, and can also be ordered online to arrive as fresh leaves. They can be frozen if needed for use in curries, but for this sambol, it’s best to start with fresh green leaves. Do not confuse them with the ‘curry plant,’ which has fuzzy grey-green spiky leaves which smell like curry; it is not edible.

This recipe is a variation on one found in N. Maheswari Devi’s Jaffna Heritage Cooking; she notes: “These recipes, which were found handwritten on manuscripts date back to the pre-Portuguese period. Cooking with honey is an ancient practice, which has endured from generation to generation, and many age-old recipes which use honey as an ingredient can still be found today.”

I mention this in part because I was honestly surprised to see honey as an ingredient; I hadn’t thought of honey as a typical component of Sri Lankan cuisine. But honey is actually perfect in this recipe, beautifully balancing the savory and spicy elements.

10 stalks curry leaves (about 100 leaves / 2 c.)
8-10 dried chilies
1 c. red onion, chopped
1 c. grated fresh coconut (or desiccated coconut reconstituted with a little warmed coconut milk)
2 T honey
1-2 T lime juice (to taste)

1 t. salt

1. In a sautΓ© pan, toast curry leaves on medium-high, stirring, until lightly toasted.

2. Either with a mortar and pestle, or in a food processor, combine all ingredients until well-blended. Taste and adjust seasonings, then serve with rice and curry, roti, etc.

This was a hard choice — I think this would have been a beautiful green if I hadn’t toasted the curry leaves, but it wouldn’t have tasted as good — tastiness trumps aesthetics, every time.

AAPI Heritage Month Pick of the Day

Whoa, that’s exciting. Just swung by Twitter, and saw that Boston Public Library has picked A Feast of Serendib for their #AAPIHeritageMonth pick of the day! πŸ™‚