Roshi Fernando Interview, plus links to author biography, book summaries, excerpts and reviews

Roshi Fernando
Photo: Ishani O'Connor

Roshi Fernando

How to pronounce Roshi Fernando: Rah-shee

An interview with Roshi Fernando

Roshi Fernando gives readers a tasty recipe for octopus and briefly explains what cooking has come to represent for her culturally.

Roshi Fernando gives readers a tasty recipe for octopus and briefly explains what cooking has come to represent for her culturally

A recipe for octopus by Roshi Fernando, author of Homesick

I love cooking. I love eating, actually. It's not a huge problem: I limit myself now to eat only foods that I love. Before, I had a habit of forcing myself to eat literally anything. It was a way of being a person of the world: adaptable and non-offensive. I wanted to feel accepted wherever I went. I guess it was the way we were brought up: we were trained not to leave a thing on our plates. My father told us that to leave even one grain of rice was a sin - and to this day, when washing rice, if I spill a single grain I think it an inauspicious sign.

We have traveled a lot as a family, and in all of these countries, I've picked up - not recipes - but styles of food, adding them to my repertoire of staple dishes that I make at home. We drink Turkish coffee at breakfast, eat many different paneer dishes, soups, and fish of every style under the sun. Today in my local supermarket deep in the olde English countryside, a surprise installation of a trolley displaying vegetables from around the world caused great joy to the burghers of my tiny town. Clusters of us fingered plantains and eddoes, green finger chilies and daikon radish. I brought it all home, with two octopus, and cooked the following dish. I made it up. It can be as hot as you like and should be served with yoghurt and cucumber watered down with lemon juice and a drop of Agave syrup.

Clean the octopus by de-skinning and gutting and washing the tentacles. Cut the octopus into small bite-size pieces and put them in a pot with enough water to cover them, along with a teaspoon of salt and a tablespoon of garam masala. Boil it for an hour to tenderize. Chop a leek - a tough older one is always good for this sort of dish - some garlic and ginger, a zucchini, maybe some daikon, a few spears of asparagus if you fancy it. Chuck it all into a large hot frying pan with a tablespoon of olive oil and let it sizzle. Throw in something red, maybe some cherry tomatoes - you can leave the stalk star on because it's flavorsome - and most importantly, two or three green chilis. Remove the octopus from the boiling water and toss them into the frying pan, so they get griddled a little. Finally, add the boiling octopus water that remains in the pot after boiling - it should have cooked down to about an inch off the bottom of the pan. I know this isn't specific, but it's a trial and error sort of dish. Get some herbs from the garden - anything that's growing well - I had some early parsley and a huge handful of chives my chickens had turned their noses up at. Let it all meld together until it smells so good you'd burn your mouth trying bits straight from the pan. When it looks done, it probably is done. Serve with the cucumber yoghurt, some store-bought flatbreads, and a green salad.

This is the sort of meal we eat all the time. It's freedom, is what it is. It's Britain and Sri Lanka and everywhere else on a plate.

Unless otherwise stated, this interview was conducted at the time the book was first published, and is reproduced with permission of the publisher. This interview may not be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the copyright holder.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Books by this Author

Books by Roshi Fernando at BookBrowse
Homesick jacket
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Roshi Fernando but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
How we choose readalikes

  • Ayad Akhtar

    Ayad Akhtar

    Ayad Akhtar is a novelist and playwright. His work has been published and performed in over two dozen languages. He is the winner of numerous awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Drama and an Award in Literature from the ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Homesick

    Try:
    American Dervish
    by Ayad Akhtar

  • Monica Ali

    Monica Ali

    Monica Ali is the daughter of English and Bangladeshi parents.

    She came to England at the age of three, and her first home was Bolton in Greater Manchester. Ali later studied at Oxford University.

    Her first novel, Brick ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Homesick

    Try:
    Brick Lane
    by Monica Ali

We recommend 14 similar authors

View all 14 Readalikes

Non-members can see 2 results. Become a member
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Join BookBrowse

and discover exceptional books
for just $3.75 per month.

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: Moth
    Moth
    by Melody Razak
    On August 15, 1947, India gained independence from the United Kingdom, and on that same day the ...
  • Book Jacket: All the Lonely People
    All the Lonely People
    by Mike Gayle
    Mike Gayle's charming novel All the Lonely People introduces us to Hubert Bird, an 82-year-old ...
  • Book Jacket: Perish
    Perish
    by LaToya Watkins
    It's a commonly cited fact that many perpetrators of sexual abuse, particularly men, are victims of ...
  • Book Jacket: Afterlives
    Afterlives
    by Abdulrazak Gurnah
    Afterlives, from Nobel Prize winner Abdulrazak Gurnah, begins in late 19th century East Africa in ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Ways We Hide
by Kristina McMorris
From the bestselling author of Sold On A Monday, a sweeping tale of an illusionist recruited by British intelligence in World War II.

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Natural History
    by Andrea Barrett

    A masterful new collection of interconnected stories, from the renowned National Book Award–winning author.

  • Book Jacket

    The Family Izquierdo
    by Rubén Degollado

    A masterful debut that weaves together the lives of three generations of a Mexican American family bound by love, and a curse.

Who Said...

The dirtiest book of all is the expurgated book

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

Y Can't G H A

and be entered to win..

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.