Today I bring you a review of a cookbook. And I must be honest I haven’t tried the recipes yet, but I have made several lists and research at several grocery stores and local farmers market so I can get all the ingredients needed for some of the recipes. Nevertheless, I will explain it all on my review and let you know what are the recipes I’m more excited.
“A Feast of Serendib“, written by Mary Anne Mohanraj, is a cookbook published on 15th June 2019.
I want to thank Rachel, at Rachel’s Random Resources, and Mary Anne Mohanraj for the eCopy of this book and for allowing me to join in the fun and being a part of the blog tour with my honest review of the book. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Dark roasted curry powder, a fine attention to the balance of salty-sour-sweet, wholesome red rice and toasted curry leaves, plenty of coconut milk and chili heat. These are the flavors of Sri Lanka.
Sri Lanka was a cross roads in the sea routes of the East. Three waves of colonization—Portuguese, Dutch and British—and the Chinese laborers who came with them, left their culinary imprint on Sri Lankan food. Sri Lankan cooking with its many vegetarian dishes gives testimony to the presence of a multi-ethnic and multi -religious population.
Everyday classics like beef smoore and Jaffna crab curry are joined by luxurious feast dishes, such as nargisi kofta and green mango curry, once served to King Kasyapa in his 5th century sky palace of Sigiriya.
Vegetable dishes include cashew curry, jackfruit curry, asparagus poriyal, tempered lentils, broccoli varai and lime-masala mushrooms. There are appetizers of chili-mango cashews, prawn lentil patties, fried mutton rolls, and ribbon tea sandwiches. Deviled chili eggs bring the heat, yet ginger-garlic chicken is mild enough for a small child. Desserts include Sir Lankan favorites: love cake, mango fluff, milk toffee and vattalappam, a richly-spiced coconut custard.
In A Feast of Serendib, Mary Anne Mohanraj introduces her mother’s cooking and her own Americanizations, providing a wonderful introduction to Sri Lankan American cooking, straightforward enough for a beginner, and nuanced enough to capture the flavor of Sri Lankan cooking.
Mary Anne Mohanraj is the author of Bodies in Motion (HarperCollins), The Stars Change (Circlet Press) and thirteen other titles. Bodies in Motion was a finalist for the Asian American Book Awards, a USA Today Notable Book, and has been translated into six languages. The Stars Change was a finalist for the Lambda, Rainbow, and Bisexual Book Awards.
Mohanraj founded the Hugo-nominated and World Fantasy Award-winning speculative literature magazine, Strange Horizons, and also founded Jaggery, a S. Asian & S. Asian diaspora literary journal (jaggerylit.com). She received a Breaking Barriers Award from the Chicago Foundation for Women for her work in Asian American arts organizing, won an Illinois Arts Council Fellowship in Prose, and was Guest of Honor at WisCon. She serves as Director of two literary organizations, DesiLit (www.desilit.org) and The Speculative Literature Foundation (www.speclit.org). She serves on the futurist boards of the XPrize and Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry.
Mohanraj is Clinical Associate Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and lives in a creaky old Victorian in Oak Park, just outside Chicago, with her husband, their two small children, and a sweet dog. Recent publications include stories for George R.R. Martin’s Wild Cards series, stories at Clarkesworld, Asimov’s, and Lightspeed, and an essay in Roxane Gay’s Unruly Bodies. 2017-2018 titles include Survivor (a SF/F anthology), Perennial, Invisible 3 (co-edited with Jim C. Hines), and Vegan Serendib. http://www.maryannemohanraj.com
So, unfortunately I haven’t been able to attempt to make some of the fabulous recipes in this cookbook, but I may try it out now that I have to make lunch every day to take to work. You have no idea how much excitement I have bottled inside of me because of some of the recipes.
Although I can’t tell you personally my thoughts on the recipes since I haven’t try them out, I can tell you right now the ones I’m trying out first: Braised Pepper Chicken; Ginger-Garlic Chicken; Beef and Potato Curry; Tangy Peppered Beef Stew; Deviled Potatoes; Mixed Vegetable Poriyal; Vegetable and Lentil Stew; Steamed Rice Cakes.
First of all, If you don’t know me, I love potatoes, so no surprised that when I saw the names of the recipes and saw “Beef and Potato Curry” I jumped right to that one. But I was also very intrigued by some other recipes like “Savory Rice Pancakes” or “Love Cake“.
Speaking of the love cake… I was curious because of the name and I wonder if there was any history behind it, so I went to read the recipe and hold and behold… It’s a Portuguese-derived cake! So I was so over the moon about that. And if my baking skills were better I would have so attempted already, but I may need my auntie’s help with baking those because I want them to be just as yummy as I know they are going to be.
Now that I have told you guys some of the recipes I’m very excited about, let me tell you about my thoughts on the structure of the book. In the very beginning we get a chapter called “ETHNIC HERITAGE AND COLONIAL INFLUENCES“. As someone that likes to know about cultural influences and about history, I was very interested in reading this chapter. You get an understanding of the feeling that the recipes have, the influences and the heritage that food has, hat this recipes have.
Another aspect that I loved are the notes in the recipes. It’s always good to follow a recipe if we don’t really know how to cook, or if we are trying out something different from our usual or something new to us. Nevertheless, the notes are important because most of the time they give us some extra information or some tips that we were wondering about or questioning about the recipe.
Overall, this cookbook was very well put. There are recipes for everyone, and if you like spices and all the magical smells that they bring, then this is the kind of book that will give you the tools to make amazing, warm, comfort dishes that will warm your heart and stomach. Well, I know I will have a fun time with all the potatoes that are in the dishes.
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