C’Mon, Coffee, Do Your Thing

I was up late cooking last night, then woke up late, moving very slowly now, but there’s lots I’d like to get through today, so I’m hoping the coffee kicks in soon. I have:

• three Vegan Serendib recipes to write up — DONE
• a meeting with someone interested in volunteering for the SLF — DONE, and yay, Summer will be joining us…
• lots of Serendib packages to put in the mail
• someone asked about my soaps, which is prompting me to go through and actually inventory and photograph them
• I have seedlings that desperately need transplanting, and plants that need watering
• I want to write up my thoughts on the library board four years and post them
• I go for a tour of the high school today, so I get a little sense of the building that I now have shared charge of
• Kevin was able to find an even faster appointment for Kavi, so she’s getting her first shot this afternoon

• this evening is my first school board meeting, which may go late.

Busy day. C’mon, coffee, do your thing…

I spent a few hours yesterday experimenting with ginger-garlic tofu, seitan, and tempeh, trying to find a good replacement for chicken for Vegan Serendib — jackfruit is, of course, the most obvious replacement, but I already have jackfruit curry in the cookbook, so thought I’d offer a different option. Most of the cookbook is traditional Sri Lankan (some of it very old-school traditional), but there’s a little bit of American fusion in there too. 🙂 So I’ll be posting those recipes here shortly, as soon as I wake up a little more…

A Family Challenge

I’ve been thinking about the fact that I’m putting together this vegan cookbook, but I’m not actually vegan myself. Also about the fact that Anand is very tender-hearted and leans vegetarian, and I want to support him in that.

I know a lot of people do Meatless Mondays; I’m not sure I’m organized enough for that with our family’s meals. But I think we can probably do one vegan day / week as a family challenge.

Anyone interested in trying that with us for the next month or two? Would be easier with company. 🙂 I’d try to post regularly what we’re eating on that day, and would love to get inspiration from what others eat.

Finalizing Recipes

Okay, and here the recipes still to finalize, I think. Coming soon! Although there are 24 here, and only supposed to be 15 or so, so some may be cut — if there are recipes here you’d particularly like to see, let me know!

* jaggery rice– serve with plantains
* kundu thosai
* kurakkan (millet) roti
* hal piti roti (onion-chili bread)

* steamed roasted appams

Soups and Gravies:
* dhal rasam

* fenugreek gravy

Savory Fruits, Flowers and Vegetables:
* whole eggplant fry
* kaliya curry (Muslim dish, eggplant, plantain, and potato)
* spicy long beans

* spicy mashed green gram balls

Fake Meats:

• “Beyond” chicken curry?

* rose & hibiscus salad
* ginger sambal

* tomato & passionfruit jam


• bonda

* bibbikan, mixed spice coconut slices
* vatalappam with aquafaba (might not work!)
* sesame, date, and coconut balls
* Dutch flower cookies
* mashed banana fritters

* green gram pudding


* pineapple and cinnamon sherbet

* beetroot juice with cardamom and lime

Working On the Table of Contents

Spending a little time this morning trying to figure out what I want to include in Vegan Serendib. I’d really like to finalize the table of contents by the end of April, and I think that’s do-able. The plan was to remove all the meat and fish and egg recipes from Feast (about 40), and replace those with 40 new vegan recipes from Sri Lanka.

The problem isn’t finding those — the problem is narrowing down which ones to include. So far, I’m pretty happy with all of these, which means I probably have room for about 10-15 more. I kind of lost track of my test cooks last fall when things got busy (I blame the pandemic and switching to online teaching), so I need to ask people to start test cooking recipes again.

I kind of love that the Vegetables section has expanded to Savory Fruits, Flowers, and Vegetables. There’s a rose & hibiscus salad coming, for example. 🙂



• Bottle Gourd and Spinach Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161550809829616

• Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Jaggery, Balsamic, and Cayenne:


• Green Chili Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10162062139529616

• Green Tomato and Lentil Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161542190374616

– tested by Taylor, Lucinda, Jennifer, Linda

• Dried Hibiscus Poriyal: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161534798914616

• Hibiscus (Shoeflower) Curry / Sembaruthipoo Kari: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161535931054616

• Pineapple Curry with Coconut Milk and Saffron: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161949008449616

• Mild Green Plantain Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161568742619616

• Spicy Plantain Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161568698699616

• Tempered Green Plantain Peel: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161570297779616

• Pumpkin Curry: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161581447339616


• Green Tomato Chutney with Apples: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161531491924616

– tested by Jude and Jessica

• Quick-Pickled Cucumber-Carrot Relish: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161534135234616

– tested by Maya

• Eggplant Pickle / Brinjal Moju: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161597857279616

• Spicy Pineapple Pickle (Achar): https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161948554219616

• Plantain Sambol: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161569885339616

• Roasted Pumpkin Seeds: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161582154884616


• Curried Pumpkin Soup: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161582206649616


• Keerai (Spinach) Pittu: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10162072391064616

• Milk Rice / Kiri Bath (with Bottle Gourd variation): https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161553704479616

• Tamarind Rice with Black Lentils: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161951228944616

• Toasted Coconut and Sesame Rice, with Black Lentils: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161952261869616


• Lime & Coconut Scones, with Lime Glaze: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161969747104616

• Mango-Ginger Scones, topped with Jaggery: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10161854232729616

• Irasavalli Kizhangu Kanji / Purple Yam Pudding or Porridge: https://www.facebook.com/mary.a.mohanraj/posts/10162109419154616

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?


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!


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)


* milk rice

– jaggery rice

– tamarind rice


– dhal rasam (lentil soup)


* 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


– bonda

– kolukattai


– 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:


Dried Chili-Mango Cashews / Kari-Maangai Kaju

Vegetable Cutlets

Lentil Patties / Kadalai


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



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


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