Striped

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!) — https://www.kickstarter.com/…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…

Kaliya Curry (Eggplant, Plantain, and Potato)

A traditional Sri Lankan curry from our Muslim community, featuring fried eggplant, plantain, and potato, simmered in a rich coconut milk curry.

1 large eggplant, cubed
2 plantains, cut into similar sized pieces
5-7 small potatoes, cubed
1 t. turmeric, 2 pinches of salt, dissolved into 2-3 c. water, divided into two bowls

vegetable oil for deep frying

1 large onion, sliced thin
1/2 c. vegetable oil
1 T ginger, minced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cloves
3 cardamom pods
1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces
1 stalk curry leaves (about a dozen)
1 inch pandan leaf (optional)
1 T Sri Lankan roasted curry powder
1 t. cayenne (optional)
1 T jaggery or dark brown sugar
1 t. tamarind paste
1 t. salt
1/2 c. + 1 1/2 c. coconut milk

2-3 c. water (enough to cover)

1. To prevent discoloration and add a little flavor, once you cube eggplant and plantains, submerge them (separately) in bowls of water, each seasoned with 1/2 t. turmeric and pinch of salt.

2. Heat oil for deep frying in a large, deep pan. Drain eggplant (water will make it splatter when it hits the oil, and can be dangerous). When the oil is hot, working in small batches, fry eggplant until lightly browned, then remove to a plate lined with paper towel. Repeat process with plantains and potatoes.

3. In a large pot, heat 1/2 c. oil (you can use the frying oil), then add sliced onion and sauté, stirring, until golden-translucent.

4. Add ginger, garlic, cloves, cardamom pods, cinnamon stick, curry leaves, pandan leaf (if using), curry powder, cayenne, jaggery, tamarind paste, salt, and 1/2 c. coconut milk.

5. Gently stir in fried ingredients; add enough water to cover, bring to a boil, cover, and turn down to a simmer. Simmer 10 minutes; vegetables should be cooked through.

6. Remove lid, add remaining coconut milk, stir very gently to combine, taste and adjust seasonings; you may want more salt or a little more tamarind. Simmer 5-10 more minutes, to a thick, rich gravy. Serve hot (or room temperature) with rice; dal is a nice accompaniment to add protein and make a complete meal.

Tandoori Chicken

We frequently get a whole tandoori chicken from local restaurant Khyber Pass, but day-after takeout tandoori chicken can be a little dry. Usually I like it fine on sandwiches with a little mayo and some chopped green chili, but sometimes I get motivated to do a little more:

Рsaut̩ the onions that came with them in butter
– make a roux (add flour and brown, add milk to make sauce, add salt to taste)
– add shredded chicken

– add cooked pasta

Several more meals for the family…

Yaalpana Kaththarikaii Poriyal / Jaffna Whole Eggplant Fry

(serves 2-4, 15-30 minutes)

Sometimes the simplest dishes are the most fabulous — the base version of this whole eggplant fry uses just a few ingredients (cayenne, turmeric, salt, and hot oil) for delicious and dramatic results. It also dresses up beautifully for a fancier night out, offering grace notes of shallot, green chili, and cherry tomato.

roughly 1 lb. small eggplants (you can use Indian, Chinese, or other varieties; the key is that they be relatively small)
1 T cayenne
1 t. ground turmeric
1 t. salt

oil for deep-frying

1 large shallot, diced small
1 green chili, diced small
1 stalk curry leaves, about a dozen
about a dozen cherry tomatoes, halved

salt & lime juice to taste

1. Make eight slits down the sides of the eggplants.

2. Mix the cayenne, turmeric, and salt, and rub the spices into the slits (it’s fine if they’re detached completely at the bottom, which will make it easier to rub in spices).

3. Heat oil for deep frying (around 375F if using a thermometer) and fry the whole eggplants until they brown evenly, about 3-5 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

NOTE: You can stop the recipe here and just eat the fried eggplants as is, with rice. Delicious! Or you can add a few more steps for a more complex version.

4. To a sauté pan, add a few T of the oil from deep frying, and add diced shallot, diced chili, curry leaves, and tomatoes. Cook on medium-high, stirring, about 5 minutes, until onions are golden-translucent and tomatoes have softened.

5. Add whole fried eggplant to pan and cook an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring; taste and adjust seasonings — you may want to add 1/2 t. salt, or up to a T of lime juice at this point. Serve hot with rice, and enjoy!

Marinated Ginger-Garlic Tofu

(20 minutes + marinating time, serves 2-4)

This is definitely a fusion dish — I combined our Sri Lankan ginger-garlic chicken recipe with a traditional marinated tofu recipe, for a result that I found delectably more-ish — I didn’t even wait to make rice, but just kept nibbling pieces right off of the serving plate. Yum!

8 oz. extra-firm tofu, cubed small
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ginger powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1/2-1 t. cayenne
1 T lime juice + more to garnish
2 T oil
oil to fry
2 shallots, sliced

sesame seeds, chopped chives, chopped cilantro to garnish

1. Combine tofu, spices, 1 T lime juice and 2 T oil in a bowl and stir gently to combine. Marinate for 20-30 minutes (or longer, if you like), for additional flavor.

2. Heat oil in a sauté pan and pan-fry on high, stirring, for about 5 minutes. (You may deep-free or bake, if preferred. If you deep-fry, you’ll likely get more textural contrast between the crispy outer tofu and the soft interior.) Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil.

NOTE: You can stop and eat it at this stage, but it will be even tastier if you continue…

3. In the same pan, sauté sliced shallots on medium-high (adding oil if needed), stirring, until golden-brown and slightly crispy.

4. In serving bowl / plate, top tofu with shallots, then garnish with another 1-2 T of lime juice (to your taste), a little white sesame seed, chives, and cilantro. Chopped cashews would also be nice as a garnish. Serve hot with rice.

Marinated Ginger-Garlic Seitan

(10 minutes + marinating time, serves 2-4)

My son would like to be vegetarian, so we’ve been working on developing recipes he’d enjoy — he gobbled up quite a bit of this last night, so I think we can declare seitan a success.

Seitan is wheat gluten, made by washing wheat flour dough with water until all the starch granules have been removed, leaving only the gluten. The resulting mass can then be cut into small pieces, which expand on cooking. For those looking for a chicken substitute, this has come the closest out of my attempts, in texture and flavor.

An easy and satisfying weeknight dish; I recommend trying it with rice and an eggplant or mango curry.

8 oz. seitan
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ginger powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1/2-1 t. black pepper (or cayenne, if you’d like it spicier)
1 T lime juice
2 T oil
1/4 c. besan / chickpea flour (or wheat flour)

oil to fry

1. Combine seitan, spices, lime juice and 2 T oil in a bowl and stir gently to combine. Seitan will break up into small pieces as you stir. Marinate for 20-30 minutes (or longer, if you like), for additional flavor.

2. Toss gently in flour.

3. Heat oil in a sauté pan and pan-fry on high, stirring, for about 5 minutes. Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve hot with rice or naan and a vegetable curry or sambol.

NOTE: Seitan can be made easily from scratch, if you’d prefer to buying it ready-made.

Marinated Ginger-Garlic Tempeh

(10 minutes + marinating time, serves 2-4)

This was my first attempt at a variation on Sri Lankan ginger-garlic chicken, and I think it works fine — IF you like the texture and flavor of tempeh, which is pretty distinctive. Tempeh is a traditional Javanese soy product that is made from fermented soybeans. Personally, I can enjoy a little bit of this — I’d like it tossed in a salad, for example, but don’t necessarily want a lot of it straight up as an entree.

8 oz. tempeh, cubed small
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ginger powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1 t. jaggery or brown sugar
1 T lime juice

2 T oil + oil to fry

1. Combine tempeh, spices, lime juice and 2 T oil in a bowl and stir gently to combine. Marinate for 20-30 minutes (or longer, if you like), for additional flavor.

2. Heat oil in a sauté pan and pan-fry on high, stirring, for about 5 minutes. (If you prefer, you can either deep-fry or bake the tempeh.) Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve hot.