Your Vegan Cupboard

Question for vegans — as I’m working on Vegan Serendib, I’m mostly just creating recipes that are already vegan in nature — vegetable pickles, sambols, curries, etc. BUT, I’d like to include at least a few using specifically vegan ingredients, such as agar-agar, used to substitute for gelatin.

I could just buy a bunch of different things and try them, but I’d like to stay as much as possible to ingredients that are easy to get for the home cook.

Tell me about your vegan cupboard — what do you typically have on hand already? Vegan butter? Agar-agar? What else?

Thanks!

Vegan Mango & Ginger Scones

(40 minutes, makes 16 mini scones)

When researching vegan scone recipes, I found many versions that used ground flax seeds, which seem to be used as an egg substitute — but I don’t generally have flax seeds on hand, and was hoping to avoid buying extra ingredients.

Honestly, these didn’t seem to need them! Cream scones don’t generally require eggs. The solid coconut oil happily takes the place of butter, and rich coconut milk substitutes beautifully for cream. They’re delicious, light and tender, and quite more-ish, just as they are!

4 c. flour
2 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1/4 t. salt
1/2 c. room temperature coconut oil (solid)
1 1/3 c. coconut milk
1/4 c. dried mango, chopped
1/4 c. crystallized ginger, chopped

2 T. jaggery or dark brown sugar, optional

1. Preheat oven to 425 F.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, sugar, and salt.

3. Chop coconut oil small and rub into the flour with your fingers until the flour looks pebbly.

4. Add coconut milk and gently combine with a silicone spatula or fork; do not overwork. Stir in mango and ginger.

5. Refrigerate dough for 15-20 minutes for better rise.

6. If using a mold, spray with oil; alternately, spray oil or add a sheet of parchment paper to a baking sheet. Fill mold with dough, pressing gently to fill. Alternately, press dough into a circle and cut into wedges, or cut out circles. Places wedges or circles about 1″ apart on sheet. Sprinkle scones with jaggery or brown sugar.

7. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until scones begin to brown. Remove from oven and serve warm. Traditionally they’d be split, and spread with butter, jam, clotted cream, curd, or whatever you like.

NOTE: Scones may be cooled and stored airtight at room temperature for several days; they can be frozen for longer storage.

I Hate Naming Things

I could use a little naming help. I’m developing 40-ish recipes for Vegan Serendib, and we’d like to offer a digital supplement of just those recipes, primarily for people who’ve bought Feast already, and don’t want to buy a whole other cookbook with a lot of duplication. I don’t know what to call it, though.

Serendib Supplement is logical, but sounds like I’m selling vitamins. I don’t love it.

Bonus Serendib?

Serendib: Second Helpings (vegan edition)?

Something else?

Lord, I hate naming things. Help.

Our First Vegan Serendib Pre-order

We got our first pre-order of Vegan Serendib, today, woohoo! Which also reminded me that I should tell you that it’s now available for pre-order. 🙂

I do want to be clear that there’s a lot of overlap with Feast, if you already own that — I’m developing about 40 new recipes for Vegan, along with about 60+ brought over from Feast.

Eventually, we’re thinking we’ll issue “Serendib Supplements” of some kind, so that people who bought Feast can get the new recipes from Vegan without buying a whole new cookbook. But I’m not honestly sure how quickly that’ll happen. I think we can get the digital version together quickly, but the print editions may take a bit. (And then the same thing with Gluten-Free Serendib, which we’re planning for 2022 release).

And someday, when there’s enough new recipes, we’ll hopefully do a glorious two-volume Feast of Serendib — twice as big, with ALL the recipes thus far, so completists can get everything in a coherent package. A real feast. 🙂 That’s at least 3 years out, though, maybe more.

So with all that in mind, here’s your pre-order link!

https://serendib-kitchen.myshopify.com

A Cookbook Classic

I’m going through all of my Sri Lankan cookbooks, trying to decide which new recipes to add to Vegan Serendib. The Ceylon Daily News cookbook is a classic — it’s also pretty funny!

It’s at least half western cuisine, I think mostly British, and a sampling of the luncheon menus provided will give you a good sense of the kinds of menus a certain class of Sri Lankans were attempting to provide a few decades ago.

Rough Estimates

Oh, it’s going to be a little difficult deciding which recipes to include in Vegan Serendib. The temptation is, of course, to put more and more in, to make it really comprehensive. But every time you add a recipe with a color photo, you add some cost to the production of the book. So add 10 recipes, and you have to add a few dollars to the cost, to even have it break even.

The question is whether to make it the same size as Feast(100+ recipes) and the same similar $40 cost, or let it be a little smaller and more affordable. We should be able to do a paperback without photos as a compromise (maybe $25 instead of $40) but that does have similar price concerns regarding length — if I made it shorter, I could make that cheaper too.

80 recipes for $30 hc / $20 pb?

60 recipes for $25 hc / $15 pb?

(Rough estimates…)

*****

Brainstorming possibilities now — here are a few I’m considering adding. More will come. If there are any here you want to advocate for, now is the time. 🙂 I’ve *starred the definite additions.

Vegetables (mostly as curry or varai):

1) ash plantain (mild or spicy, with kaliya curry variation)

2) poosanikai / ash pumpkin (wintermelon) curry

– vellai (white), variation rasavangi (tamarind)

3) bitter gourd curry

4) breadfruit curry

5) elephant foot // karanai yam (substitute sweet potato) curry or roast

6) plantain flower (if I can find some)

7) snake gourd // pudalangai (substitute summer squash)

8. ridged gourd (substitute zucchini)

9) green chili curry

10) hibiscus curry or sambol

11) sweet pumpkin (or acorn squash, or butternut squash)

Grains:

* milk rice

– jaggery rice

– tamarind rice

Soup:

– dhal rasam (lentil soup)

Accompaniments:

* brinjal moju

– fried jackfruit seed

– quick-pickled cucumber-carrot relish

– acharu (vegetable pickle)

– lime pickle

– green tomato chutney (daily)

– pickled dates

– passionfruit jam

– green banana peel chutney

Snacks:

– bonda

– kolukattai

Desserts

– thengai paal / coconut milk payasam

– parippu piyasam

– laddu and variations

– coconut milk ice cream

– passionfruit sorbet

*****

And this is what’s already confirmed, recipe-tested, etc., and WILL be included (about 40) — these are all in Feast:

Appetizers:

Dried Chili-Mango Cashews / Kari-Maangai Kaju

Vegetable Cutlets

Lentil Patties / Kadalai

Vegetables:

Basic Approaches to Vegetables

Cashew Curry / Kaju Kari

Eggplant Curry / Kathrikkai Kari

Green Mango Curry / Mankkai Kari

Green Jackfruit Curry / Pilakkai Kari

Okra Curry / Vendikkai Kari

Deviled Potatoes / Ooralai Kulunga

Cauliflower Poriyal

Eggplant, Potato, and Pea Pod Poriyal

Tempered Lentils / Paruppu

Cabbage Varai / Muttaikoss Varai

Green Bean Varai

Sambar

Accompaniments:

Pickled Beet Salad

Green Coconut Chutney / Thengai Chutney

Mango Pickle / Maangai Oorukkai

Coriander Soup / Kothamalli Rasam

Bitter Gourd Sambol / Paavakkai Sambol

Chili Onion Sambol / Lunu Miris Sambol

Coconut Sambol / Thengai-Poo or Pol Sambol

Eggplant Sambol / Kattharikkai Sambol

Kale Sambol

Sweet Onion Sambol / Seeni Sambol

Coconut Milk Gravy / Sothi

Grains:

Golden Rice Pilaf

Vegetarian Biryani

Herbal Porridge / Kola Kenda

Hoppers / Appam

Stringhoppers / Iddiyappam

Plain Roti / Godambu Roti

Chopped Roti Stir Fry / Kottu Roti

Savory Rice Pancakes / Thosai

Steamed Rice Flour and Coconut / Arisi-Maa Pittu

Stir-Fried Semolina / Uppuma

Sweets and Drinks: Tropical Fruit SaladFresh Sweet Lime Juice / Thesikkai SaaruMango or Passionfruit LassiArrack SourMango-Passionfruit Punch or Mimosa

Calling for Vegan Test Cooks

I’d love to find some vegan test cooks for the new vegan edition of my Sri Lankan cookbook.

I’m hoping to get 5 volunteers who are willing to test cook maybe 10 new recipes over the course of the next month. You’d let me know if any of the instructions need clarifying, and I’d love your thoughts on flavor profiles, cooking techniques, etc. as well. In exchange, I’ll be happy to send you a hard cover + ebook edition of either the vegan cookbook, or, if you prefer, the original Feast of Serendib cookbook (you can even mix and match one of each).

I’d love to get some experienced vegan cooks to take a look at these recipes; if you’re familiar with South Asian and/or Sri Lankan cuisine already, that’s great, but not necessary, since I’m hoping this cookbook will be accessible to a broad range of readers.

UPDATE: I think I’m up to 5 test cooks! That was fast! But if you’d like to follow along on my wall, I’ll be posting the recipes here over the next month, and I’ll be giving out some free ebook copies here as well! All my posts are public, so no need to friend me — a follow should work fine.

Any Vegan Sri Lankans in the House?

Do I have any vegan Sri Lankans in the house? I’m starting work on expanding Vegan Serendib, and I’d love to hear more about what dishes you particularly love and would want to see in a cookbook like this.

Other vegans are welcome to weigh in too, and other Sri Lankans, and, well, anyone, really.

Cover not final, but isn’t it spiffy? 🙂 Jeremy John Parker does great work!