Doing This Until the End of Time

Yes, we’re still shipping out Kickstarter and pre-orders of Vegan Serendib. We will be doing this until the end of time.

No, not really, Stephanie Bailey assures me that we’re more than halfway through at this point, and of course, when I say we, I mostly mean her, because all I do is wander through periodically and sign / personalize things for her. She’s doing all the hard work. πŸ™‚

The really tricky part is organizing it — it’s nice to give people options, but the options multiply the complexity, and there end up being gazillion different packages, which definitely slows things down a lot. This is a particularly challenging task for an ADD brain; I get super-confused, super-fast, because every time I lose focus, I have to start over. Oof.

On the other hand, it’s lovely to be able to pack up personalized books — someone from South Africa sent a book to someone in Edinburgh, hoping the book would remind them of their honeymoon in Sri Lanka, which is terribly sweet. And some orders get curry powder, and some orders someone got a paperback for themselves and a hardcover gift for someone else, and it’s just nice being able to give people what they actually want.

AND we’re getting to the point where some of the orders will have soaps and tea towels and such in them, so that’ll be fun too. We probably won’t get to that before I leave town for Thanksgiving, but it’ll be the first thing I do when I get back, so they should all go out in good time for holiday delivery.

Writing a Gift Card

I got to write a gift card yesterday (you can add on a handwritten message on a gift card for a dollar when you order Vegan Serendib or Feast from me), and it was fun. πŸ™‚

This one was a card I’d designed, based on a picture Kavi drew, of a little fire lizard, cupped in a brown hand, lighting a candle. Seasonal, too…hope they like it!

A Lovely First Review for Vegan

Aw, someone left a really lovely first review on Vegan Serendib. I’m blushing. (Reviews are SUPER-helpful, but please don’t feel like you need to write one this extensive — a sentence or two is just fine!)

*****

“I’m not sure I’ve ever reviewed a cookbook before, so please bear with me. Also, I should note that while Ms. Mohanraj and I have not met in person, we have had several interesting conversations on Facebook Messenger when I had questions about recipes from her blog. I was also a supporter of both this book, Vegan Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka, and her first cookbook, A Feast of Serendib on Kickstarter.

That said, I was really knocked out by Vegan Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka! There are so many recipes in there that I want to try, especially as I have been trying to get more non-meat foods into my diet. I’m especially looking forward to trying some of the eggplant, beet, Brussels sprouts, okra, and cauliflower dishes since those are among my favorite vegetables. Savory dishes, however, are not the only things that Ms. Mohanraj covers. She also covers breakfast dishes, party dishes, desserts, and beverages.

In this volume, she keeps the storytelling to a minimum, which I kind of miss because she is an excellent storyteller, but I understand that she opted to include more recipes instead. She also has a small glossary, beautiful pictures of the foods, and advice on substitutions, which is very helpful for those of us not living in Sri Lanka.

I have no idea how she made the time to do this book: Ms. Mohanraj is not only a cookbook author, she writes science fiction/fantasy, runs several organizations promoting Desi literature, is a full professor of literature, has sat on a library board, and on a school board. She also designs beautiful fabrics, and now has taken on running a small press. Just listing all she does makes me dizzy!

Still, I hope she writes more cookbooks and explores her culture in them more deeply. If you like cookbooks, ethnic foods, excellent writing, and information, this is a book you need to add to your cookbook shelf and use often.”

#45 in Indian Cooking, Food & Wine

Aw, you guys. Vegan Serendib has jumped to #45 on Amazon in Indian Cooking, Food & Wine (I mean, it’s not Indian, but we’ll let that go…), and perhaps more impressively, #327 in Vegan Cooking (Books). Thanks so much to everyone who pre-ordered, who ordered on launch day, who ordered today, who orders tomorrow….

Ordering details in comments. Please like / comment / share!

Day Two of Vegan Serendib Launch Week!

I have a full house working here this morning — Stephanie is pictured here, learning how to make my roasted curry powder. We made a lot already! But it’s all gone, and we have a lot more Kickstarter orders and pre-orders to fulfill; trying to get them out as quickly as we can!

Here’s a recipe for you — Sri Lankan roasted curry powder. If I remember, I’m going to be posting free recipes all launch month, just to give y’all a taste of the book. (*Taste* of it, see? I’m funny.) Please like / comment / share for visibility!

(Also, did you see my previous post that Feast is 30% off on Amazon today? What a deal! Ordering links in comments.)

*****

Master Recipe: Sri Lankan Curry Powder

One of the main characteristics of Sri Lankan cooking is that the spices are often dark roasted. You cannot simply substitute yellow curry powder! If your local Indian grocery store carries Jaffna Curry Powder, that’s from northern Sri Lanka and an excellent option; my curry powder can also be bought in our online shop (but only shipping within the U.S.). Or you can always make your own; home cooks will generally have their own variations!

1 c. coriander seeds
1/2 c. cumin seeds
1 T fennel seeds
1 rounded t. fenugreek seeds (aka methi seeds)
1 cinnamon stick, about 2 inches
1 rounded t. whole cloves
1 rounded t. cardamom seeds
2 T dried curry leaves
2 rounded t. cayenne

1. In a dry pan over medium heat, roast separately the coriander, cumin, fennel and fenugreek, stirring constantly until each one becomes a fairly dark brown. Do not attempt to save time by roasting them together – they each have different cooking times and you will only end up half-cooking some and burning others.

2. Put into blender container (I use a coffee grinder that is dedicated solely to spice grinding) together with cinnamon stick broken in pieces, the cloves, cardamom and curry leaves.

3. Blend at high speed until finely powdered. Sieve into a bowl, discarding any large pieces, and combine with chili powder; stir well. Store in airtight jar.

(We know that some folks like a lot of heat and some prefer less. We don’t add any cayenne to our curry powder so that you can adjust the heat level to your own preference by adding as much or as little as you like. In Sri Lanka we use about 1 – 2 teaspoons per 4 – 5 oz. batch.)

Vegan Lunch for Launch of Serendib

Vegan lunch for Vegan Serendib’s launch day, of course. πŸ™‚

β€’ curried beets
β€’ leeks fried with chili
β€’ kale sambol
β€’ lime-masala mushrooms

…all on a bed of rice, as is traditional, but if you’re aiming lower-carb, you could skip the rice and serve in a bowl with more of the kale sambol as your base.

(And if you’re aiming vegetarian instead of vegan, you can top with a fried egg…)

Launch Day for Vegan Serendib

Launch day for Vegan Serendib, my Sri Lankan vegan cookbook!

This has been a long road, people, from first drafting Feast, to launching it March 2020, to pandemic, to carrying on with Vegan — it doesn’t feel quite real yet. And yet, it is. Woot!

A few notes:

β€’ if you’ve already bought Feast, you should know that there are 80 recipes in common between the two cookbooks. If you’d like the 40 new recipes developed for Vegan Serendib, you can certainly buy a copy (and they look very nice on the shelf next to each other), but you can also wait a few weeks for the digital supplement we’ll be putting out, _A Slice of Serendib_ (I think is the tentative title).

β€’ if you’re planning to buy Vegan on Amazon or other online retailers, for yourself, for gifts, etc., it would be SUPER-HELPFUL if you can order it today, as a burst of orders help bump up the book’s visibility in the rankings, making it much more likely that people who don’t know me personally will actually see it.

β€’ if you’d like to buy it directly from me, that’s great too (we get a little more money per book), and there’s a link in comments.

β€’ if you buy it (and/or Feast) directly from me, and you live in the U.S., you can also add on some of my homemade curry powder

β€’ if you already have a copy of Feast and/or Vegan and feel moved to leave a review — even just a single line — on Amazon, that’s also SUPER-HELPFUL. Once you hit a critical mass of reviews, that also moves the book up in Amazon’s visibility algorithms.

Please like / comment / share for visibility — tell your friends, tell your family, tell the world. πŸ™‚ Thanks!

Personalizing Presents

While I cook for my sci-fi lunch this morning, Stephanie Bailey is over here packing up and shipping out the Kickstarter and pre-orders of Vegan Serendib. Every once in a while she calls me over to personalize one — I’ve signed lots, but some people asked for special messages, which I’m happy to add.

This one is a Christmas present — I’m expecting we’ll get quite a few more holiday gifts in the next few weeks, and we’ll do our best to get them out in time, but do keep in mind that postal shipping has gotten weird, and ordering sooner is definitely safer. I’d definitely get in U.S. orders by December 7th for Christmas delivery, and international orders earlier! (Link to order in comments.)

Lots of these pre-orders have also asked for messages like “Enjoy your new culinary journey,” which I’m guessing is mostly referring to the vegan part — they’re being sent as gifts to friends and family members who have recently shifted to a plant-based diet, for health and/or other reasons. It’s cool.

Someone asked me recently if this was a heart-healthy cookbook, and you know, I’m not a nutritionist or a doctor, so I didn’t really feel like I could make any assurances in that regard. But I suspect generally transitioning to a more plant-based diet is likely to be good for your heart and health overall — as long as you don’t drown every single curry in coconut milk, anyway. πŸ™‚

(Yes, my signature is a scrawl. I did get a ‘C’ in handwriting back at Holy Cross, when the nuns were trying to teach us cursive. Can I blame my doctor father? Maybe messy signatures can be inherited…)