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:

• 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!



Thanks so much to all 75 people who have so far supported my Vegan Serendib Kickstarter with pre-orders — and also to everyone who helped boost the signal! Woot. 🙂

I’ll be back later today with an update about stretch goals, but for now, I will just revel in the moment.

To be clear, there are still plenty of rewards and pre-order discounts available for the next 23 days, if you’d like to hop over to the Kickstarter site:



Sakkarai (Jaggery) Pongal

(30-40 minutes, serves 8-10)

For this one-pot celebration dish, rice is mixed with a little toasted mung bean and cooked down until very soft, close to custard texture. Sweeten the rice with jaggery and coconut milk, season with fried cashews, raisins, cardamom and saffron, and you have a dish fit for the gods — which was, in fact, what jaggery pongal was intended for. It was traditionally made to offer the gods as part of the harvest celebration of Pongal (typically around mid-January), and on other similarly celebratory occasions.

In modern times, many will use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to bring the rice quickly to the right texture, but I go a bit more old school here, which requires stirring on the stovetop.

2 c. rice (white or red, your choice)
4 c. water
1 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. green grams / mung bean, toasted in a dry pan
1 c. jaggery
1 t. salt
2 T vegetable oil or vegan butter
1/4 c. cashew nuts, chopped
1/4 c. raisins
1/4 t. ground cardamom
pinch of saffron threads

optional garnish: whole cashew nuts and raisins fried in more vegetable oil or vegan butter

1. Soak the toasted green grams for 30 minutes, then add to a large saucepan, along with rice and water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 15-20 minutes, until rice is mostly cooked through.

2. Stir in jaggery and coconut milk, then cover and continue to cook, stirring periodically to keep from sticking. If you need to add more water, do so.

3. Meanwhile, heat the oil or vegan butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add cashews and raisings and fry until cashews are golden brown. Stir them into the cooked rice mixture.

4. Add cardadmom and saffron and continue to cook, stirring periodically, until rice has broken down, and the entire dish has a somewhat creamy texture (similar in appearance to risotto).

5. Remove from heat and cool. You can simply spoon it in to bowls for serving, or for a fancier presentation, mold into portions by pressing into greased cups, then unmold and serve garnished with additional fried cashews and raisins. A little fried ripe plantain would also go nicely with this, or fresh ripe mango.

Thank you, hibiscus tree, for giving me a single flower just in time for this photograph. 🙂

Vegan Now a Project We Love

Hey, isn’t this lovely? Kickstarter has chosen Vegan Serendib as a “Project We Love.” I get a badge and everything. 🙂 Congrats, little Kickstarter project!

We’re up to $1741 of the $2500 funding goal, so getting close! To pledge (and get books at a discount), go here: https://www.kickstarter.com/…/vegan-serendib-a-sri…

Speaking of discounts, I have a special treat to announce for today — Feast has been out for more than a year now, and with Vegan getting close to done, it felt like it was time — we’re dropping the price on A Feast of Serendib! $5 off on all editions — hardcover, paperback, and ebook. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep that sale price up — at least through the end of the Kickstarter, so through the end of June. So if you’re looking for a non-vegan Sri Lankan cookbook, I got you. 🙂

Shop here: https://serendib-kitchen.myshopify.com/collections/books

Let the Games Begin

Aw, you guys. I woke up and realized all my plants were in dire need of water and on the verge of death, so rushed out for a few hours of emergency watering, and so it’s only now that I’m checking on my vegan Sri Lankan cookbook Kickstarter — we’re more than 60% funded in just a day! Thank you, thank you. It’s a weight off my mind.

Please do continue to spread the word! 🙂 I’ll be back shortly with news on who won yesterday’s first day raffle for a free hardcover — but today, we’ll continue with ebook fun. If you comment, like, or share THIS post (maybe with a little note saying what it’s about), you’ll be entered to win an ebook of Vegan Serendib (and we’re happy to send it to a recipient of your choice — you just need to give us their e-mail address).

As for me, I think I’d better start thinking about stretch goals.

What else would you like from me? Gluten-free Serendib will be the next cookbook, probably about 2 years out from here, and I’m hesitant to commit to any full-on cookbooks beyond that. But there are other possibilities:

a) 10 more additional vegan recipes that will be e-mailed to Kickstarter supporters

b) I’ll write a science fiction short story about a Sri Lankan cook

c) I’ll write a fantasy short story about a Sri Lankan cook — with magic!

d) I’ll put together a digital sampler: a baker’s dozen of Sri Lankan cocktail party treats (all vegan) — savory and sweet bites + beverages (including non-alcoholic)

e) A different digital sampler — teatime in Sri Lanka!

f) I’ll commit to writing three food essays this summer and sending them to you

Please feel free to vote for any of these, or suggest more in the comments. (Digital rewards preferred, as anything I have to ship out adds significantly to cost, but if you have a burning desire for a physical object, go ahead and list it — you never know!)

Let the games begin. 🙂

Almost a Third Funded Already!

Took a break from cooking to check on the Kickstarter — you guys, we’re almost a third funded already, only about 6 hours in. 🙂 That’s what you like to see in a Kickstarter!

This is also why you set your goal to the minimum of what you actually need. Much better to add stretch goals later, once you’ve funded, than risk not funding. If I’d know that with my first Kickstarter, I could’ve saved myself a lot of stress — we finally funded in the wee hours of the morning on the very last day.

Warmly Bathed

Aw, I just did the first flurry of posting about the Kickstarter launch of Vegan Serendib — and less than an hour later, I check to see 5 backers already, and $188 pledged.

Feeling warmly bathed in the glow of community support. 🙂

Vegan Serendib Kickstart Has Launched

Good morning, my peoples! It’s Kickstarter launch day for Vegan Serendib, woohoo! This is a comprehensive introduction to Sri Lankan American cuisine, entirely vegan, featuring over a hundred delicious recipes.

We’ve taken all the non-vegan recipes out of Feast, and replaced them with a host of vegan fabulousness, so you’ll be getting a substantial, beautiful book full of yumminess.

The Kickstarter offers early-bird discounted pricing, a host of fun tiers with additional options (big discounts on buying multiple books, for example — one for you, one for a friend?), as well as the opportunity to support a minority-and-woman-owned indie publishing project.

We’re aiming to raise $2500, which will cover initial costs for book design, printing, and mailing. It would be really LOVELY to reach that quickly, as Kickstarters that fund early tend to get additional publicity, which would be super-helpful. If we make the $2500, we’ll be adding some stretch tiers with more great recipes.

And if I can ask you to like / comment / share this post for extra visibility, I’d really appreciate it! As a small incentive, we’ll choose one person from everyone who likes / comments / shares this post today (June 7th, before midnight CST) to receive a free hardcover copy of Vegan Serendib!

Thank you!

Praise for Feast: “Mohanraj does a superb job of combining easily sourced ingredients with clear, instructive guidance and menu recommendations for all manner of events…a terrific survey of an overlooked cuisine.” – Publishers Weekly


Finishing Up Recipes

I’m trying to finish up the recipes for the cookbook by end of tomorrow, because on Tuesday, we’re launching the Kickstarter. Although that is maybe slightly overambitious, because I think I have 14 dishes left that I want to make:

– spicy mashed green grams — DONE
– beetroot juice — DONE
– thodol — DONE
– steamed appams
– jackfruit & chickpea buns
– banana blossom poriyal
– fenugreek gravy
– rose & hibiscus salad
– rose sambol
– ginger sambol
– lime pickle
– halapa
– bibikan

– jaggery pongal

Well, we’ll see. 🙂 I don’t think I really have to have all 120 recipes finalized before launching the Kickstarter. We’re getting close, though, exciting. I do think it was overambitious trying to do this in a year, initially — I think I have to allow two years to do a decent job on a cookbook like this. Which means Gluten-Free Serendib probably won’t come out until 2023.

Next step once I finish adding recipes will be finding test cooks; I’d like to make sure each recipe has at least 2-3 test cooks. And also re-making a few of them to take better photos — some of the photos from Feast for recipes that are carried over have egg or meat in the photo (from other dishes), and I’d like to avoid having any of that in the vegan cookbook.