Marinated Ginger-Garlic Tempeh

(10 minutes + marinating time, serves 2-4)

This was my first attempt at a variation on Sri Lankan ginger-garlic chicken, and I think it works fine — IF you like the texture and flavor of tempeh, which is pretty distinctive. Tempeh is a traditional Javanese soy product that is made from fermented soybeans. Personally, I can enjoy a little bit of this — I’d like it tossed in a salad, for example, but don’t necessarily want a lot of it straight up as an entree.

8 oz. tempeh, cubed small
1/2 t. garlic powder
1/2 t. ginger powder
1/2 t. turmeric
1/2 t. salt
1 t. jaggery or brown sugar
1 T lime juice

2 T oil + oil to fry

1. Combine tempeh, spices, lime juice and 2 T oil in a bowl and stir gently to combine. Marinate for 20-30 minutes (or longer, if you like), for additional flavor.

2. Heat oil in a sauté pan and pan-fry on high, stirring, for about 5 minutes. (If you prefer, you can either deep-fry or bake the tempeh.) Remove to a plate lined with paper towel to drain excess oil. Serve hot.

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…

Working on a Honey & Hibiscus Chocolate Recipe

Working on a new chocolate recipe for the summer treat boxes — Honey & Hibiscus Chocolate. 1/2 c. melted dark chocolate, 2 t. clover honey, 1/2 t. hibiscus powder. I like it — it’s a subtle flavor, but just a little more complex and slightly tangy than regular dark chocolate.

I think I can only do chocolates in summer in the higher tiers, the ones with boxes big enough to include ice packs. Chocolates, marshmallows, lollipops, lemon bars — all of those have trouble with sitting at heat. So the first tier boxes I think will need to feature cookies for the sweet treats.

The Word You Want Is Amma

Most of the evening was very parental; at dinner, Kavi was having a bit of a meltdown about being behind on homework, spiraling and catastrophizing, so I took her outside for some fresh air to clear her head. I let her work in my writing shed for a little while, which is a pretty special privilege, which she appreciated. Normally, it’s strictly off-limits.

I built a fire and she came to join me once it got going and we sat by the fire together and read on our Kindles for a couple of hours (Kevin joined for some of that with his audio book, feeding the fire), and eventually I got some food into her. All of that managed to calm her down and she got her homework done, or at least enough of it so as to not stress anymore, so that was good. Then we came inside for dessert.

I’d told Kevin that what I wanted for Mother’s Day was to have the kids cook something Sri Lankan for me — something new to them, that they hadn’t cooked before. This is a bit of a tall order, because to be honest, mostly they still don’t eat Sri Lankan food, esp. Anand who is scared of anything spicy. Kavi can eat and enjoy beef curry, but Anand, not so much.

They have cooking bombatoast down, but I wasn’t sure what they might add this year — they both love the ginger-garlic chicken, but are squeamish about touching / cutting raw meat.

But they did just fine — Kevin taught them how to make mango fluff (using my cookbook). Which I suppose is really sort of a fusion recipe, since I’m sure its development was colonially influenced. But they’re fusion kids, so it all works out. 🙂

I went in to tell Anand goodnight; Kevin was lying down with him and they were in the midst of a video game discussion of some kind. I’ll leave you with this bit of our bedtime dialogue:

Me: Thanks for a really nice Mother’s Day, Anand.
Anand: [silence for a moment, then…] “I want to say mother in the other language, but I can’t remember the word.”
Me, laughing: “Amma. The word you want is Amma.”
Anand: “You’re welcome, Amma.”
Me: [melting — the kids know how to get me]
Kevin: “So, how do you say ‘You’re welcome’ in Tamil?”

Me: “I have to go ask my dad…”

Fridays Are Sweet

We’re trying a regular promotion this summer — buy a book (any print book, including the sci-fi, the romance, the literary fiction, not just the cookbooks), and get a half-dozen sweets to enjoy them with. Or curry powder, if you order on Sundays. Sweets will vary, depending on what I have on hand. Curry powder will be exactly the same every time. 🙂

Free passionfruit marshmallows with any print book purchase at the Serendib Kitchen shop today!

Carnivore Oak Park to Carry Feast

Nice meeting at Carnivore Oak Park, and it looks like they’ll be carrying Feast (hardcover & paperback), my hand-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder (small and large jars) and trying some Sri Lankan (and other) sweets. Woot!

Now, will they *keep* carrying them? I think that depends on whether people actually buy them. 🙂 But it’s nice to start with, at any rate. The question is, what sweets should I bring them? I want them to be shelf-stable for a good long while. I’m currently thinking:

– passionfruit marshmallows dipped in dark chocolate
– milk toffee with cashews

– dragonfruit chocolates with citrus

Those three are easy, because I know people adore them. Beyond that, I waffle a bit. Ideally, I’d like two more, so I can do a little sampler box. If you’ve had my sweets and have requests / suggestions, now is a good time to let me know! I’m planning to make sweets over the weekend and drop all the goodies off on Monday.

Kurakkan Roti (Millet Roti, with Coconut and Jaggery)

Ready to up your roti game? Try making it with millet flour (you can buy whole grain millet and quickly grind it to flour yourself in a blender), mixed with coconut and jaggery; the sweetness pairs beautifully with a spicy curry or earthy dal. Finger millet is traditional, but other common varieties of millet will also work well for this; I use proso millet, which is easily found at my local grocery.

For a gluten-free version, you can make this entirely with millet flour (as was typical in ancient Sri Lanka), but it will be more brittle; white wheat flour adds softness.

1 c. millet flour
1/2 c. white flour
1/2 t. fine salt
1 c. grated coconut
1/2 c. jaggery (or brown sugar)
hot water (as required, around 1/2 – 3/4 c.)

1 c. vegetable oil (enough to submerge rotis)

1. Combine first five ingredients in a bowl.

2. Add hot water slowly, mixing to make smooth dough.

3. Turn onto a board, oil your hands, and knead about 10 minutes (the dough will likely be a little sticky). Divide into sixteen portions and form little balls with the dough.

4. Pour oil into a flat tray; submerge balls in oil. (It’s a lot of oil, but if you make roti regularly, you can save it and re-use it time after time.)

5. Heat a frying pan (either nonstick, or plan to drizzle a little oil in the pan as needed to prevent sticking). Take a ball of dough, flatten into a circle, and roll out (or use the heel of your hand to flatten) until fairly thin — as thin as you can get it without tearing. This requires a gentle touch, as millet dough is more prone to tearing than wheat dough.

6. Cook each roti separately on high, turning over after about thirty seconds to cook the other side. They will brown slightly. Remove to a plate, covering them each time with a clean dishtowel, to keep warm. Serve either warm or at room temperature.

One More Hour

One more hour, my local peeps, for this event. (Me pictured wearing one of Madhurima’s fabulous earrings; you can’t have this pair, but she has other delightful options…)

I have to say the main thing that’s sold this time are confections (esp. the sweet samplers) and cakes — the redbud cakes have been selling like hotcakes. Maybe because they’re delicious? Not that people can tell that when they’re wrapped in plastic wrap, but they look delicious, and they ARE delicious. Also curry powder, several. Plus a scarf and a set of greeting cards and an alicorne soap for someone’s little girl, and a constellation pendant w/ necklace.

It’s interesting how differently things sell at different kinds of events — in December, lots of people wanted soaps for little $5 stocking stuffers. I thought they’d be big for Mother’s Day, but I guess not?

Still, it’s a beautiful day, and I’m enjoying myself on my porch (grateful for the shade) with my elderflower rose lemonade (which is kind of ridiculously floral in concept, but also tasty).