Review: Vegan Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka, by Mary Anne Mohanraj
I’m not sure I’ve ever reviewed a cookbook before, so please bear with me. Also, I should note that while Ms. Mohanraj and I have not met in person, we have had several interesting conversations on Facebook Messenger when I had questions about recipes from her blog. I was also a supporter of both this book, Vegan Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka, and her first cookbook, A Feast of Serendib on Kickstarter.
That said, I was really knocked out by Vegan Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka! There are so many recipes in there that I want to try, especially as I have been trying to get more non-meat foods into my diet. I’m especially looking forward to trying some of the eggplant, beet, Brussels sprouts, okra, and cauliflower dishes since those are among my favorite vegetables. Savory dishes, however, are not the only things that Ms. Mohanraj covers. She also covers breakfast dishes, party dishes, desserts, and beverages.
In this volume, she keeps the storytelling to a minimum, which I kind of miss because she is an excellent storyteller, but I understand that she opted to include more recipes instead. She also has a small glossary, beautiful pictures of the foods, and advice on substitutions, which is very helpful for those of us not living in Sri Lanka.
I have no idea how she made the time to do this book: Ms. Mohanraj is not only a cookbook author, she writes science fiction/fantasy, runs several organizations promoting Desi literature, is a full professor of literature, has sat on a library board, and on a school board. She also designs beautiful fabrics, and now has taken on running a small press. Just listing all she does makes me dizzy!
Still, I hope she writes more cookbooks and explores her culture in them more deeply. If you like cookbooks, ethnic foods, excellent writing, and information, this is a book you need to add to your cookbook shelf and use often.