A Taste of Serendib


Lethe Press, December 2003, 110 pp., $10, ISBN 1-59021-100-6

A Sri Lankan cookbook by Mary Anne Mohanraj — order it through Amazon.

Recipe Discussion Forum

I encourage any cookbook readers to stop by and visit our Taste of Serendib discussion forum, a place for cooks to ask questions, exchange tips, give each other advice, and just generally chat about Sri Lankan cooking (or cooking in general). Enjoy!
hopper1.tchickcurryt vatallapam.th


  • Introduction
    • Sri Lankan Cooking, from America
    • A Few Caveats
    • Sri Lankan Meals
    • Notes for Vegetarians (reproduced here, for your information)”Sri Lankan Tamil cooking is oriented around meat and fish;
      vegetable dishes are primarily meant to accompany a central meat dish.
      But many of the meat dishes here do work fine with vegetarian substitutes,
      such as seitan, tofu, and meat-simulators (such as the “Ground
      Meatless” from Morningstar Farms or the “Diced Chik” from
      Worthington). Also, if you freeze tofu, then thaw it and break it into
      pieces, it gives it a chewy texture; you can also deep-fry it, which is
      delicious but does make it soak up quite a lot of fat. An alternative to
      deep frying is to cut the tofu into rectangles or squares, lay them in an
      oiled pan in a single layer, then spray them lightly with spray oil and
      bake until golden brown. And of course, adding lentils or chickpeas to
      any vegetable dish is a good way to get added protein. They should work
      particularly well in the potato curry, for example.”chickpat3
    • Spices and Ingredients
    • Sri Lankan Curry Powder
  • Appetizers and Snacks
    • Fish (or Ground Beef, or Vegetable) Cutlets
    • Tangy Shrimp on Toast
    • Curried Mushroom Spread
    • Chicken and Meat Patties
    • Curry Buns (Meat or Vegetable)

gingerchick (1)

Sample Recipe — Spicy Potato Curry (30 min. — serves 4)

This is the vegetable dish I make most often (not actually a vegetable, I
know), and I’m pretty sure it’s Kevin’s favorite. He eats it
straight up in a bowl with a fork — but he’s bolder than me.

  • 3 medium yellow onions, chopped
  • 3 T vegetable oil
  • 1/4 t. black mustard seed
  • 1/4 t. cumin seed
  • 1-2 T (or more to taste) red chili powder
  • 3 medium baking potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 3 T ketchup
  • 1 rounded t. salt
  • 1/2 c. milk, optional

1. Saute onions in oil on high with mustard seed and cumin seed until
onions are golden/translucent (not brown). Add chili powder and cook 1
minute, until you start to cough. Immediately add potatoes, ketchup, and salt.

2. Lower heat to medium and add enough water so the potatoes don’t burn (enough to cover usually works well). Cover and cook, stirring
periodically, until potatoes are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

3. Remove lid and simmer off any excess water; the resulting curry sauce
should be fairly thick, so that the potatoes are coated with sauce, rather
than swimming in liquid. Add milk, if desired, to thicken sauce and mellow spice level; stir until well-blended. Serve hot.