Mas Paan: Perfection

One of my favorite snacks is mas paan (buns stuffed with beef and potato curry) and malu paan (buns stuffed with fish curry). It is very comforting, having a few dozen in the freezer, knowing that you can pull one out whenever you’re having a curry craving, and just toast it up in the toaster oven and enjoy with a nice hot cup of sweet milky tea. Perfection. I did develop a dough recipe for the cookbooks, but the truth is that I never actually make it from scratch. I just buy frozen bake-and-serve dinner rolls at the grocery store and use those. I recently had both beef curry and cabbage varai on hand, and I thought they might go well together — Dear Reader, they are DELICIOUS in a roll, and now you’ve got entire meal in there, with a veg. as well as the bread and meat. Perfection. I also tried cooking some carrot in with the beef and potato, and that worked great too. (I recommend at least two rolls for lunch. Three or four if you have a hearty appetite. If using the frozen rolls, follow the instructions on the package to let them thaw and rise. Then tear them open and stuff them with curry and shape it into a ball again, with the seam on the bottom. It’ll look lumpy, but don’t worry about it, and don’t feel like you need to let it rise again — just pop those in the oven for 15-20 minutes, and they’re good Hmm…I think I need some breakfast.

I can’t take any credit for this recipe.

I pretty much exactly followed the one I found here.

Came out great – I only regret that I don’t have enough elderberry syrup left from this summer’s berries to make many truffles. Vaguely healthy too – dark chocolate, cashew butter, and elderberries are supposed to be good for warding off winter colds. Shipped some off in the Patreon boxes, and there are a few boxes left for the flash sale. And then that’s it until next summer. 🙂


Was really happy that people seemed to love the food; I got a lot of compliments. 🙂

Someone asked me what my signature dish was last night, and I was totally stumped. I don’t actually have one! But I do like all of these.

I wanted to keep this event vegetarian for the South Asia Institute, so I skipped some of the classic Sri Lankan short-eats – if it weren’t vegetarian, maybe mutton rolls would be the signature dish. I don’t like the typical vegetarian version nearly as well, though. Maybe I should try making it with jackfruit…hmm.

This layout worked pretty well for an event, so noting for the future:

• three kinds of frozen samosas – these I just baked / fried as instructed. Pumpkin samosas from TJ’s (which I haven’t tasted yet, so not sure if they’re any good), paneer-chili samosas (don’t remember the brand, but spicy, good), and potato & pea Punjabi samosas (Swad). I’m really glad I got a deep fryer, because it makes this kind of thing SO MUCH easier.

Set the temp. to 350F (or whatever is appropriate), and then it’s just popping them in, waiting five minutes, popping them out to a paper-towel-lined plate. Transfer to foil pans, pop in warm (low) oven to keep warm until ready to transport / serve. Easy-peasy. Would’ve been nice to serve hot, but they work fine at room temperature, served with tamarind chutney and coriander chutney (decanted from store-bought jars).

• ribbon sandwiches (beet / carrot / spinach) — Pepperidge Farm Very Thin bread is key

• mini naan rounds (quartered) from the grocery store, with four dipping spreads: jackfruit curry, potato curry, eggplant pickle, mango-ginger chutney

I forgot to bring cheddar cheese cubes, which go great with the mango-ginger chutney and naan, but otherwise, happy with the savory options.

SAI provided beverages, which made my life simpler!

Marshmallow Magic

While I was at the board retreat yesterday (4.25 hrs, whew!), Kavi started working on our picture book, “Marshmallow Magic.” She got so much done! 4 pages (these are two-page spreads) drafted already! Only 22 – 26 to go…

Kavi said it was okay to share process photos with you. 🙂 I think she’ll need to re-do the layout on the second one, to allow for the gutter in the middle, but still, very cool!!!!!

Sunday Evening Snacks

Sunday evening, Kavi and I were studying together — I was prepping my syllabi, and she was doing homework. Kevin brought us study snacks. 🙂 Not visible but also on that cutting board, fresh mozzarella and prosciutto.

More Like Crisp Fudge

Sri Lankan cashew milk toffee has a texture similar to pralines or New England maple candy — it’s not really a toffee, despite the name; more like a crisp fudge? It melts in your mouth — it’s really the texture that I love so much.

That does mean that cutting it into squares can be a little challenging sometimes, and so if you order them from me, they may not be perfectly square. That’s how you know it’s ‘artisanal.’ 🙂

I’d Kick Off a Candy-Making Business With This

I don’t really think of myself as an inventive chef — most of what I do is just trying to find and share great recipes, with perhaps a little refining to my tastes. But I admit, I’m pretty proud of the flavor combination in the Dragonfruit Nebulae chocolates.

Kavi and I both find these addictive, and have been known to eat up every little bit of leftover chocolate in the bowl, on the cutting board, etc. White chocolate, dragonfruit, citrus, and white pepper.

If I were actually going to start a real candy-making business (not going to happen!), I’d kick it off with bars of this. 🙂

Recipe here:…/dragonfruit-nebula-bars…/