Liking Shef Robinson Varghese’s Kerala Cooking

Quick note for locals that I’m really liking Shef Robinson Varghese’s Kerala cooking — I had his idli-sambar for breakfast today, and it was so good. Honestly better than any restaurant idli I’ve had, I think, with great sourness of flavor, and so much better than frozen. Everything I’ve had from his kitchen I’ve really liked so far.

$7.99 for 4 idli + a good amount of sambar. I tend to eat small meals, so that’s two breakfasts’ worth of food for me; great deal. (His photo below, not mine!)

Fabulous Sales

We’re having fabulous sales all month to celebrate the one-year anniversary of my Sri Lankan cookbook’s launch.

Today’s flash sale — 25% all editions — hardcover, paperback, ebook. I am, of course, delighted to sign the print editions if you’d like! You should also feel free to order tea towels, masks, homemade Sri Lankan curry powder (US-only), or other goodies while you’re on the site. 🙂. Porch pick-up definitely available for locals….

Rescheduling the Roti-Making Class, Slots Still Open

Hello, everyone — unfortunately, we’ve had to reschedule tomorrow’s Roti-Making class with Pooja Makhijani so it will now take place on 5/1. Anyone who has filled out the form is still registered for the new date.

Apologies for the late notice; we look forward to seeing you all in May! (There are still some slots open, but not many, for those who’d like to join us.)

A Wacky Giveaway Idea

GIVEAWAY: I had this wacky idea that I would manage to do 31 days of Feast March festivities to celebrate the one year birthday of my cookbook, esp. since the whole book tour, etc. got cancelled last March due to pandemic (worst timing of a book launch ever? I think yes).

But of course, it’s now something like 8 minutes to midnight, and I haven’t actually had the willpower to put together a graphic or a PLAN or anything, maybe tomorrow, but in the meantime, let’s call this a surprise last-minute giveaway post, and I will have gotten it in on the first day of March just barely. Just barely is more than good enough, I say, especially after a year of pandemic.

If you’d like to be entered for a free hardcover copy of Feast to be shipped to your door (or the door of your choosing), comment below. If you add in your favorite South Asian dish (or tell me that you have never actually tasted South Asian food, the sorrow!), I will enter you twice!

Whenever I wake up tomorrow (probably around 7 a.m. CST), the contest will close, and I will use a randomizer to pick a lucky recipient. So this is for all the night owls out there (and the people in other countries who are just in the middle of their workday, I suppose)….

GIVEAWAY! Comment below to enter. (And if you don’t win this one, keep watching this space — there will be more giveaways in March!)

(Likes and shares also very much appreciated for visibility!)

9:51 a.m. update — giveaway is closed! Stay tuned for the next one!

Celebrating Feast’s First Birthday

REMINDER: To celebrate the one-year book birthday for A Feast of Serendib: a Sri Lankan cookbook, we’ll be offering a free roti-making class with food writer Pooja Makhijani and cookbook author Mary Anne Mohanraj. We will email a Zoom link in advance.

Please note that we’ll be recording the class and putting it up online afterward, so registering also constitutes consent to be recorded.

More information on the class and sign-up form, in the “About” section on the Facebook Event page. Registration is limited to 25 attendees.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

In celebration, and to help us get through this cold, snowy February in Chicago, we’ve decided to do our FIRST EVER BIG SALE today at Serendib House — everything in the Serendib shop is 20% off!

That’s cookbooks, curry powder, other books (sci fi, lit fic, and romance), tea towels, masks, greeting cards, and more.

The site still has list prices on items, but you’ll see the 20% discount in your cart. Today and tomorrow only — enjoy!

A Sri Lankan Cooking Class

Had an interesting conversation just now about possibly doing a Sri Lankan cooking class as part of a corporate diversity event (tied to Asian American heritage month in May). I think it’s likely to happen, which is great — corporations pay rather nicely for this kind of thing. 🙂

I gave them several options; it looks like I’ll probably teach how to roast and grind spices, and then how to make a vegan jackfruit curry with them, while talking about the spices and the colonial history influences on the cuisine. Some of the staff may cook along at home.

All of which reminds me that I probably should be signed up with a Speaker’s Bureau, and have sections on my website about how to book me for speaking engagements and cooking classes. Anyone with experience with this kind of thing, would love to hear any advice you have!

Here to Report

I am here to report that egg whites from a carton do not whip up beautifully into meringues — at least, mine didn’t. I should’ve known better, given how egg freshness is key to getting good meringue beating, and those egg whites have probably been sitting in that carton for a while. I was seduced by the convenience.

Now, is there anything to do with liquid egg whites + sugar + chai spices that refuse to whip up into meringues? Do I just have to pour them down the drain? (I HATE HATE HATE wasting food.)

A Seal for the Serendib Press

This was just fun. I got me and Kavi a present for Christmas — a little seal with the Serendib Press logo (that she drew) on it, a little cooking pot with stars floating up.

We’re giving people the option of ordering one of our Valentine’s cards to go with their orders (we’d write whatever message they wanted in the card), and I think it’s silly fun to seal those with our emblem, and then highlight the design in silver leaf.

If I were doing it again, the one thing I’d do is add a circle around the edge of the design, because the little stars are so small that they kind of disappear as an element — I think this effect works better with an intricate design with a lot of raised elements. But still, v. cute. When I was around her age, I was a little obsessed with seals and sealing wax. I think I mostly liked playing with fire. 🙂

Anand came over to help me do this, and had many questions about why we don’t use seals anymore as proof that something is really from someone else. I think the answer is that it eventually got cheap enough to create and engrave seals that they became too easy to forge, but I’m not positive that’s right?