Cranberry-Rhubarb Chutney

(20-25 minutes, makes 1 quart)

Kevin loves both cranberries and rhubarb, so I decided to combine them, just for him. You can enjoy this chutney right away, or put it up and save it to pull out at the holidays. Festive! As with any chutney, adjust to your taste — you can make it a little sweeter, a little tangier, a little spicier.

NOTE: Rhubarb leaves are toxic and humans should never ingest them. Please resist the urge to save them for a salad.

1 red onion, chopped fine
2 T chopped ginger
1 c. apple cider vinegar
about 2 c. cranberries
1 c. chopped dates or golden raisins
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 t. crushed red pepper flakes
2 T jaggery or dark brown sugar (or more to taste)

about 1 c. chopped rhubarb stalks

1. Combine all ingredients except rhubarb in a medium pot, bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer 10-20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cranberries have popped and you have a sauce-like consistency.

2. Add rhubarb (if you add it at the beginning, it’ll lose all definition) and cook an additional 5 minutes, stirring. Rhubarb should be soft and cooked through.

Serve room temperature; chutney is a fabulous sandwich spread. Will keep for two weeks in the fridge, or may be canned for long-term storage.

Serendib Grilling?

Just a quick note, with less than 48 hours less to go, we’ve hit our second stretch goal, woot! Thanks, folks, and welcome to the new backers! Going to try for one more stretch goal — if we make it to $10,000, I’ll do one more e-book sampler, Serendib Grilling.

Again, we’ll offer it in both vegan and non-vegan versions, with a baker’s dozen of recipes, and it’ll be sent to all backers, $1 and up. I’m going to set the completion date out a little later, just to give myself time, aiming for June 2022. Just in time for summer grilling around here……/vegan-serendib-a-sri…/

49 Hours Left to Go in My Kickstarter

So I thought now was a good time to do a quick review of how this Kickstarter project went. (If you’re a Kickstarter person, feel free to drop tips in the comments; newbies should feel free to ask questions too!)

Usually what you see with Kickstarter is a U-shaped distribution of activity, with a peak at the beginning when you launch (and tell your friends), a big trough through the middle of the month, and then another peak at the end (when people realize you’re about to run out of time, and they should hurry up if they want to get in on any discounts, etc).

What I’m usually trying to do with my Kickstarters now is set my initial goal as low as I can manage — whatever the minimum is for the project actually happening. That alleviates a lot of stress for me; I try hard to do enough promotion in those first days to actually meet the goal. Once it’s funded, I can relax a little. I don’t ever want to be in a situation like I was with my first Kickstarter, where I was up until 3 a.m. on the final night, waiting to see if it funded. (Kickstarter is all-or-nothing, so if you don’t meet your goal, you get zilch. Brutal.)

After that initial push, ideally you’d have plenty of promotion planned for the rest of the month, to keep pushing the bottom of the ‘U’ trough up as much as you can. In actuality, I got busy and did almost nothing about the Kickstarter for weeks after it funded. This is typical for me. I don’t necessarily recommend it. πŸ™‚

Now, this isn’t actually an activity graph — it’s a funding graph, so it’s not measuring the same thing I was talking about initially above. (I’m not sure if Kickstarter has an activity graph somewhere that I can grab.) So it was never going to dip down again — it can only hold flat or go up.

But what you do see is that it continued to go up, a little slowly, over the course of the month. And then as we enter the last few days (and I do a bunch of posting), it goes up sharply, as one would expect.

We’ve just passed our second stretch goal, $7500, with an initial goal of $2500. So we’ve tripled what we originally set, and that will be enough for us to be nice and relaxed at Serendib Press as we actually produce the book; if I need to spend a little extra money on design or indexing or some such, it won’t be a stressor. That’s good.

I’m not going to do what I did with Feast and invest additional money in a print run; there’s only so many books I want to manage storage for, and right now, with Feast’s initial print run interrupted by the pandemic shelter-in-place starting right after launch day, I have as much stock on hand as I can manage.

So Vegan will be POD — that means it’s more like $20 to print a hardcover than $10, so when you add in all the other production costs, I’ll probably only make a dollar or two / book. (Let us not even try to calculate the amount of time I put into thinking about, reading about, developing recipes, and cooking them — that way lies madness.)

A dollar or two / book is fine; I never intended this book to be wildly profitable (I mean, if it happens, I won’t complain.) It’s really a labor of love; I mostly wanted it to exist in the world for all the vegans and vegetarians who would love Sri Lankan food, but who would be distressed by paging through Feast and passing all the non-vegan recipes. My food should only bring people joy. πŸ™‚

Karina, love, this one is for you, with the fondest memories of our travels through Sri Lanka. I hope we get to go back before too long.

A Third Stretch Goal

Eep. I stopped by to check the Kickstarter, and we’re just $60 away from the second stretch goal, which I think means I should assume we’ll hit it in the next 64 hours (which is how long is left on this thing), so probably I should come up with a THIRD stretch goal.…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…

So far we have two little sampler e-books:

β€’ Serendib Cocktail Party (goal #1)

β€’ Serendib Teatime (goal #2)

I am honestly not sure what to do for the next stretch goal! A few options:

β€’ Serendib Baking
β€’ Serendib Brunch

β€’ Serendib Grilling

If you have a preference among those three, speak now. πŸ™‚

(Image borrowed from TimeOut, of high tea at my beloved Galle Face Hotel.)

Loving Lentils

It’s funny; I used to not like lentils. Everyone always raved about Amma’s paripoo, but it just didn’t work for me.

But boy, I love this Sri Lankan lentil curry. Bryan thought it was the best thing we served at the party, and I think he was right. I have to credit Ethiopian food — falling in love with that cuisine in college led me around to loving lentils.

Recipe here:…/tempered-lentils-paripoo…/

Two Days Left on Kickstarter!

I’ve just added stretch goal #2 — if we make it to $7500, I’m committing to Serendib Teatime (I may fiddle with the name some), a selection of afternoon tea delights.

One of my favorite things to do when visiting Sri Lanka is enjoy seaside afternoon tea at the Galle Face Hotel — little sandwiches with the crusts cut off, cakes and cookies and scones, fried prawns, and of course, the best Ceylon tea. Yum.…/vegan-serendib-a…/comments

Pledge at the $3 level or higher to get a copy of all funded ebooks — the cocktail party ebook is guaranteed now; the teatime one…well, we’ll see. We’re at $6881 now, so it’s promising, but not definite. πŸ™‚

Photo from a tea tasting Karina and I did at a hill country plantation in 2005.

Poritha Ulli Kari / Fried Garlic Curry

This one is for all the folks who say there can never be too much garlic in a dish. I’m no expert on Ayurvedic cooking, but from what I’ve read, garlic is used widely in Ayurvedic medicine, with claims that it’s good for the heart, hair, and digestive systems.

On the other hand, some practitioners recommend being sparing when you eat garlic and onions, as they can have a ‘heating’ effect, and some of us may run rather ‘hot’ already… I leave such weighty health decisions up to the cook! I will only vouch for this dish being delicious.

2 T vegetable oil
2 c. peeled garlic cloves
1 c. chopped onion
1-3 green chilies, seeded and sliced thinly
1 t. salt
1/2 t. ground pepper
1/2 t. fennel seeds
1/4 t. mustard seeds
1/4 t. fenugreek / methi seeds
1 stalk curry leaves (about a dozen)
2 c. coconut milk
1 T Sri Lankan roasted curry powder

1 T tamarind paste

1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic, onions, chilies, salt, pepper, fennel, mustard, fenugreek, and curry leaves; sautΓ©, stirring occasionally, until golden-translucent.

2. Add coconut milk, curry powder, and tamarind paste. Bring to a boil, stirring to combine, then reduce the heat and simmer until the gravy has reduced by half. Serve hot with rice or bread.

Here’s an Extra Special Fabulous Treat

Brilliant Sri Lankan American writers Nayomi Munaweera and Sugi Ganeshananthan very kindly agreed (on very short notice!) to record a podcast episode with me. In theory, we were going to talk about doing Sri Lankan research for our books, but in actuality, we mostly talked about other Sri Lankan writers we love, and food. Lots and lots about food. πŸ™‚ ENJOY.

0:00: Mary Anne’s introducing topic and guests for the episode
1:27: Nayomi introduces herself
2:55: Sugi introduces herself
6:15: Contemporary Sri Lankan writers
12:00: On Yudhanjaya Wijeratne and his international success
15:05: Mary Anne on Sri Lanka and the civil war
20:10: Nayomi on writing for an international market
26:57: Intermission and SLF ad
27:35: Connecting to Vegan Serendib
34:17: On food writing and authenticity, and why milk rice wasn’t in A Feast of Serendib
38:47: On cooking Sri Lankan food for kids
42:08: To use, or not to use fresh coconut
46:46: On making idli and hoppers
49:47: Favorite Sri Lankan meals
1:02:30: Mary Anne on making fruit cake
1:05:30: On assimilation and bagels
1:08:54: On eating with your hands and the smell of curry

1:12:56: Where you can find Nayomi and Sugi on social media

Our First Stretch Goal

Morning, folks! I’m here with your Vegan Serendib Kickstarter update — and stretch goals!

We’ve blown through our $2500 goal, and are currently sitting very nicely at $4287 with two more weeks to go. More funds will let us do more stuff, so here’s the first stretch goal — if we make it to $5000, I’m going to release:

β€’ Serendib Cocktail Party Sampler eBook (aiming for Oct. release, so you have it in plenty of time for the holiday season)

I’m planning to include a baker’s dozen of tropical recipes, including savory bites, sweet bites, and some fun drinks (both alcoholic and non).

As many of us are able to re-enter the party-throwing phase, maybe a little Sri Lankan inspiration will be helpful! (And if you’re still sheltering in place, you might want a little cocktail inspiration for yourself…)

You’ll be able to select the vegan or non-vegan version of the book, and all Kickstarter backers will receive a copy. It’ll also be available for purchase, of course, so a cute little holiday gift for yourself or someone you love?

Interested? Head on over to the Kickstarter and pledge, and/or tell your friends. Likes / comments / shares always appreciated for visiblity!…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…