Thursday, November 3, 2011


So guys...finally I am BACK!!!! Its indeed been a very loooong time since we met.....well, I have  so many excuses to share for all those months that have gone by....hehehe....well, I also have a recipe to share J Not that haven’t been cooking but various other reasons why I haven’t been appearing here.

To start with I am working on a new page for travelogue,  so watch out for that....which will be my first excuse to why I abandoned my darling cardamom hills and ventured out to many other wonderlands with my new Canon rebel T3i J (yup! You heard it right...I too got my SLR finally!!). Destinations were....well, starters were Alappuzha & Kumarakom -Kerala, Delhi & Agra...all this in India. Next for the main course we tried Langkawi in Malaysia and finally for dessert we had Istanbul & Bursa in Turkey!!! So that’s what I was last upto. Before this I was on a long vacation with my in-laws, just chilling out J and before that I was on a long vacation with my parents....And so I just took a long lavish break which we all should sometimes from routine...Right folks?? I thought I was getting a bit possessed by blog and blogging....this gave me the break and also the time to learn my way through Mr. REBEL(Please be aware that from here on I will address my darling Canon rebel T3i as Mr.Rebel)

Friday, March 25, 2011


Hey world!! Checkout my Seekh style Kebabs with fresh pom sauce being served at "More than a MountFull" under the watchful eyes of Chef Dennis on Friday!! guessed it, I am doing a guest post for Chef Dennis on his blog thats called “More Than A Mountfull”. I am sure most of you know him. But for those of you who don’t, he is a professional chef, director of dinning services at Mount Saint Joseph Academy in Flourtown, Pa and helluva fellow foodieJ! You wanna know something about food, foodbuzz, photos, blogging or anything related, mail him and he’ll surely get back to you.

And once more thanx chef for the invitation and I am truly honouredJ!!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Purple Pickled & Stir Fried Salad!!

A salad for the soul!! Perfect, when paired with some grilled meat J Favoloso!!! (err....correct me if my language is wrong).

This post is a dedication to all our fellow beings hit by the catastrophic Tsunami in Japan. It’s devastating to see one of the world’s largest economies struggling to get life back to normal. How that shows even the best in the world won’t be able to resist nature’s fury! Therefore, guys lets pledge to take care of nature, so she would be more kind to usJ. All my foodie friends in Japan, I hope you guys get over the hard phase of life soon!
I love cabbage in my salad....but this was the first time with red’s nice...Adds a lot of colour to your salad without much variation in taste.

Some other day, I’ll post a lean chicken burger recipe where this salad could be used instead of the regular slaw.
The dressing is’s nice when you simply toss everything together. Vinaigrette results from excess juices of the cabbage and oil from the stir fried broccoli. And btw, this dressing is great with just some grated carrots and sliced cucumbers. The celery leaves add an amazingly fresh taste, so make sure you use them.

So what you see above happened when I tossed the salad and splattered the dressing all over J and if you look beneath that’s how I ate it. I did add some extra grated carrot to it. That adds a nice sweetness.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011


Remember, I told you to watch out for the next post if you want accompaniments for the fried green tomatoesJ. Well, here it is - Roasted garlic and Anaheim pepper dip. This is the ones you call “one of a kind” guys!!

It’s the best, healthiest and tastiest substitute I have found for mayonnaise. Call it sauce, dip, chutney or whatever you want...use it with burgers, fries, tortillas, grills, sandwiches or even simply spread some on a piece of pita and chomp off!!
Did you know chilli peppers when consumed moderately had terrific health benefits? Capsaicin- a phytochemical in chilli peppers helps fight cancer, control cholesterol levels and even reduce weight!!

Measured for heat in Scoville Heat Scale Unit (SHU), good ol’bell peppers are said to be least hot at Zero SHU while an Indian chilli pepper called Naga Viper Pepper measures 1,382,118SHU. Just so that you know how hot that is the Jalapeño peppers reach a maximum of 8,000SHU only!!! Now, how hot is that!!!

Facts for the day are finishedJ.

Back to our recipe....about the sweet potato fries- these are the yellow/whitish variety of sweet potato and not the orange ones. Never, try to bake them on a foil, I promise you that they will stick to it!! So always use a slightly greased and floured non-stick baking tray.
The dip can be refrigerated for up to 2 days in an airtight container. I haven’t tried more than that, so that’s how much shelf life I can guarantee you!

Don’t get scared by the amount of garlic being used, its perfect when blended with the yogurt. If you reduce the amount, it won’t taste as good. So, just follow the recipe tightly J

Monday, March 7, 2011


My mom’s garden has tons of tomatoes this season.....and since I am home on a short vaccation...there was absolutely no need to search for inspiration to make these. All I had to do was look out of the window!!

But, before I get on with the recipe, I would like to thank Elisabeth of food and thrift finds for the “sisterhood of world bloggers award” or the Angel award as she calls it. Ah! I am sure all of you know Elisabeth...I still haven’t grown enough to talk about her blog, so go check it out all by yourself and let her know Mj of Cardamom Hills send you thereJ.

The next heart filled thank you goes out to Brooks Walker of Cakewalker fame for the “Stylish blogger award” who has amazing cakes whipping up every time you visit his space. So go on Baker-bloggers, this one’s for you!
Now, coming back to our fried green tomatoes....I made these with garden fresh tomatoes. While, picking you green babies, make sure to take the bigger ones that are evenly green and not whitish. The smaller or whitish ones tend to be bitter. Otherwise there is nothing difficult about these fritters.

And about the silly broccoli florets sticking out, it was a part of my lousy attempt to create some fancy green fritters. But, I have to tell you, they taste rocking with the tomatoes, especially because they become a little chew after pan-searing.

If you look closely at the picture, you could see a few streaks of orange here and there, those are ripe green chillies that I sliced up and mixed with the bread crumbs
J. Doesn’t matter, use the regular green chilli paste or pepper if you like light seasoning.

Friday, March 4, 2011


“Roulade” makes me feel faaancy to call my chicken like that J hehehe....for those of you who don’t know what that is - its simply stuffed chicken breast that is rolled and cooked!! What I have done for my little experiment is slice it and dip it in a ricotta cheese sauce...after all, my love for cheese is not unknown to any of you J.

Having said all that, I have to say, I had lot of fun creating this recipe! I knew what I was going to do for the roulade but the sauce was totally out of the blues and an instant whip up. After making everything, we were so keen on tasting that I forgot to puree the sauce!! When I said we, I mean my mom and brothers...they were all there, waiting for me to finish taking the pictures, so they could just dive in. By the time I finished taking my clicks and got back to the kitchen counter - the sauce pan, leftover filling and rest of the roulade was wiped clean!!! Cooking for family soup for the soul when you know they love what you made.

Food for thought, I’ll leave you with a funny but well said quote I happened to come across today:
“Rich, fatty foods are like destiny: they too, shape our ends.” - Author Unknown

Monday, February 28, 2011


Hi world!! Been missing a couple of weeks….I know…it was a series of being unwell, then my little one being unwell, some personal engagements, some travelling and finally a wee bit of lazing around J!!

But, then here I am back, with a curry and some nice homemade meatballs…its Italia dipped in India….meatballs in a white, rich spicy curry. I’ll leave the talking and ranting for my next post when I have more time (so be prepared the next timeJ)….let’s just quickly get down to our dish and the making.
What we have here is a rich cream, stock and onion gravy flavored with cilantro, garam masala, rasins and cashew nuts. It’s best eaten with kerala style paalappam/rice crepes (check out the recipe by my dear blog buddy Shn@kitchenmishmash) But, it’s just as good with plain naan, paratha or pita bread!

The meatballs can be store bought also. There won’t be a compromise in tasteJ. This curry taste best served warm with some cilantro and garam masala garnish. Don’t serve it hot!
And read on for the VEGAN option J

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.

Chocolate and strawberries - mmm.... Nutella and strawberries - mmmmmm....hehe....yeah, even I love nutella J. Infact, I am still to find someone who doesn’t! So here we have our Valentine day special - steamy, hot coffee flavoured flan with fresh strawberries and luscious Nutella sauce.  I don’t think I need to say more, right?

Well, you could use a mixture of berries, though I prefer just strawberries.  Please use brown sugar for the flan because it goes great with the coffee flavour. And the colour is also perfected.

There is nothing hard about this dessert.All you need to do is keep an eye on it, so that it won’t over cook. The amount of time for baking will vary from oven to oven.  And I like keeping my flan not too thick. The one I made here is just about an inch thick.

And pst pst, I baked it in my non-stick tart pan for that elegant look. I had some difficulty getting it out of the pan but finally it came out undamaged! Phew!!
Leaving you with the recipe J

Monday, February 7, 2011


Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.

Ah!! Finally a vegan treat...I guess we were getting a little too far away from the vegetarian side of our life in the last couple of weeks. I am sure you must have noticed too many of my previous posts were meat. I have been wanting to experiment with Avocados for a while though it was a dessert idea in my head. I’ll do that next time.

Guacamole happened when my good old friend ‘Ne’ asked me to post a recipe for it! When I say old... it’s in a very literal, we have known each other for over 15 years!! So thanks to her and my stock of over ripe avocados J.

The strawberries happen by chance...I had some ripe but tangy strawberries in the fridge. And they seem like a nice add on to the taste and freshness. Also, I had to do something to them coz they were just too tangy to eat L

Another variation from regular guacamole is the balsamic sprinkle instead for lime juice. It’s a good change J especially with the strawberries.

I did not add garlic to my guacamole because there is a good amount of garlic seasoning on the potato chips and more garlic would mean an unkissable breath...hehehe!! So if you plan to make the guacamole alone, kindly add 1 clove of minced garlic J

And the cumin adds an awesome taste, so don’t opt out on that either!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

GRILLED CHICKEN & SMOKED CHILLY CURD WRAP - fake but healthier Shawarma!!

Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.

My little girl loves chicken fact that’s probably the only source of chicken she eats (horribly choosey about food. *Sigh!!*) So, in an attempt to make something similar at home, I have been improvising for some time now. I have been trying to make a healthier version of this also because it’s one of things I too crave for 24x7...hehe...I just totally love Chicken Shawarma Sandwich.

For those of you who don’t know what a shawarma is....I’ll quote from Wikipedia: Shawarma is shared by many country variations. In Greece, it is called gyros, meaning "turned". In Armenian, it is "Tarna", literally meaning "to turn", and in Turkish it is called döner kebab, which in turn means "turning kebab".

In our part of the world, it’s basically a rotisserie grilled chicken (with fat dripping all over) sandwich with french fries, garlic sauce and sometimes veggies or pickles rolled in pita bread.

My version has chicken minus fat plus some veggies and a yummy spicy sauce but tastes almost like shawarma and much healthier too.

Now, genuinely speak, you will love this sandwich even if you haven’t tried shawarma J. It’s a nice healthy and quick recipe to whip up! And I promise, every one of you who tries it will love it!!

I am usually very patient with my food while clicking my shots but today, I just couldn’t resist taking after 4-5 shots and (As you can see below) I ended up eating half of the sandwich even before I finish taking picture!!

In the recipe, adjust the quantity of vinegar to your taste and don’t leave out any ingredient! It’s a complete treat J.

And by the way, you can convert this into vegetarian by replaing chicken with eggplant and french fries!! I'll be posting a vegan version of this wrap very soon.

The exciting part of our sandwich is the smoked red chilli curd. You’ll love it!!

Have fun cooking!!

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Spinach & Pepperoni Pizza with a hot 3-cheese sauce!

Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.

To break free from the seafood jinx, I decided to do a spinach pizzaaa!!! Well, before I go blah, blah and blah, blah, blah, let me give due credits J to the inspiration for this dish - Momchef’s Spinach pizza. I have tried her version and it rocks! Then I came up with this version because Mr.Aj can’t imagine pizza without meat! So I stacked away some pepperoni in for his sakeJ. I used fresh spinach instead of canned. Either is fine. Just make sure to get rid of all the water content. And my sauce is entirely different!

The sauce is something I have wanted to share from some time now. This is my personally devised and current favourite pizza sauce and it goes with any sort of topping too! I have tried it with tandoori chicken pizza, spicy sausage pizza and minced meat pizza....even with just cheese, olives and tomatoes for topping. But it never fails to impart a unique delicious flavour to the pizza. And of course, it makes my pizza spicy. Don’t bother adding green chillies in case you are one of the “not-hotties”J.

If you want the perfect flavour, make sauce on the previous day and let it refrigerate overnight. You store for future use. It will last up to 12 days in the refrigerator. Take care to store in an airtight container after cooling to room temperature.

This time the dough is a little different from the last pizza I posted and crust is thin but soft and I polished it with the pizza sauce before baking, which gave it a good piece of flavouring. The egg is optional while making this dough. Add a teaspoon extra honey if you are opting out of egg.

Monday, January 24, 2011


Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.
As the seafood venture’s presenting a one dish meal - prawn and basil rice J I love the smell of basil leaves...well who doesn’t?

Last week, I asked Mr.Aj to pick up a bunch of fresh basil leaves on his way back from work. And guess what!! He got me a pot full of basil plants (soo sweet!!) J Therefore, now I official grow it at home.... well I have to admit - never been into gardening and personally i don’t consider myself a good gardener either but my basil seem to be doing fine so far....Thank God!

So how’s the new look for Cardamom hills? Liked it? I am working on the alphabetical order for the index. I’ll put it up soon J Thanx for the feedback everyone!

Now, let fall in love with prawn and basil rice....Ah!! What can I say! Make it and you’ll put it in your monthly menu, I promise J

I tried this with both basil and mint. The basil version has very fresh feeling. Take care not to overcook the basil though.  The mint version had more of a biryanish taste because I added the mint right after the tomato and not towards the end. But then it’s you choiceJ.

I am not ranting all over the place today...leaving you with the recipe, until next time, Chao!!

Friday, January 21, 2011

WHITE TUNA CROQUETTES - Romancing the leftovers!!

Remember I told you there were some leftovers from the last post “WHITE TUNA & COUSCOUS IN POTATO SHELLS" seasoned with some Italian inspiration!!” Here’s what I did to them...

Finely chop an onion and sauté in little oil. Throw in some chopped green chillies, which is optional. You could add pepper instead, if you like light seasoning. Add the tuna and couscous, which was about 2 cups. Mix well.

A little over 1 cup of mashed potato was left from the scrapped out shells. Threw those in too...and mix well again.

Roll into croquettes. Beat an egg. Dip croquettes in it and roll in bread crumbs.

Bake at 220⁰C till golden colour (around 20mins) and serve with your favourite dip!! And in case you need ideas on dips, keep coming back to cardamom hills, I have some coming soon J

You could make these with any leftovers be it fish, meat, poultry, veggies anything.

I made Tuna and Gouda cheese croquettes before. In case you need more ideas and the some measurements, check in thereJ!

For another leftover idea check out this rice dish i did before- Curried Prawn Rice.

N finally, how did you guys like my new index page? Should I categorize the recipes? Gimme some feedback fellow foodies!! Another question i wanted to ask was, are my pictures too big? Should I reduce the size?

That’s all for now!! See you next time with another seafood special J!!

Lots of luv,
from MJ's kitchen somewhere in the middle of the world J

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

WHITE TUNA & COUSCOUS IN POTATO SHELLS seasoned with some Italian inspiration!!

Another fishy recipe.....I think this week is going to be seafood seasoned here at Cardamom Hills because this post is followed by a leftover creation from the tuna I used for this one. The next recipe, one which I made today and is in waiting is a prawn dish (I won’t tell you what it is! Wait for itJ) so I guess we’ll just call it seafood week!

Coming to our dish for the day - potato shells filled with white tuna and couscous seasoned with some basil, oregano, garlic, etc....etc....Except for the jalapeno, the flavours are all Italian inspired. In the pictures, I garnished it with black olives and some balsamic reduction which brought in some awesome flavours. So if you really want to enjoy this dish, have it with the same garnishJ.

I did not oven bake my potato shells. Instead I boiled whole potatoes, halved them, scraped out the some flesh and baked them for 5mins. The reason being, I read recently that baking for long drains out a large percent of vitamin C present in potato skin (That’s your nutrition fact for the day!! J). The white tuna I used was fresh....cooked the fillets with some salt, garlic and jalapeno paste in minimum water. But canned tuna is just fine. I goofed up at one point. If you noticed, the mozzarella on top burnt. My little one came hunting for me just as the oven went beep. By the time I finished with her and came back to transfer the stuff into a plate, the damage was done!! I hate it when the mozzarella burnsL.

Oh! And yea, I had left over tuna, couscous and the potato scraped out of the can you guess what I did to them?? Let’s see how smart my foodie buddies are J and if you ain’t able to guess, wait until my next post...hehehe....

Leaving you with the recipeJ. Happy cooking!!

Friday, January 14, 2011


Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.

Salads are plenty at home but seems like they don’t always last to be captured into my blog! Therefore I decided we will do green beauty today with a dish n dash of green salmon cubes I am making salmon sound liquorish!! Hehehe....I said green because, we are going to sear it with mint and camouflage them into our salad to make the world believe that it’s a green salad....ok, ok! I’ll stop goofing around J.

Let’s get to our salad and its dressing. It’s a total crunch experience with broccoli, salad onions and red bell pepper. But of course, there is the juicy minty salmon too. And the best and my favourite part - the dressing - a fine one with sour cream, mint, a splash of buttermilk and a dash of lemon juice.

Take care not to overcook the salmon...that will spoil all the fun L and we, the good people don’t want to do that! Do we??

By the way, in all my fuss making, I forgot to mention that it’s a healthy and vibrant seafood salad enjoy!!


Thursday, January 13, 2011


Thanks everyone for voting me to the top 9 on FOODBUZZ.
I guess, all of you have been wondering “where the hell did she disappear!!” Well, first, I wanted to kick start 2011 with a dish that would really tell you what’s the secret ingredient that I totally love in my food which is(That’s my new chilli pepper font, I found on the net...funky rite?  J)

Another reason that I delayed my post was waiting to get my foodbuzz publisher status before posting, but seems like the process is going to take more I’ll move on!

Now that I am done with all the justifying, let’s move on to our recipe today. There is a tiny story behind this.

 I watch this food and travel show on tv. Whenever its advertisement airs, there is a clip of the host gobbling down a huge piece of meat, straight from a potfull of red, thick, luscious, spicy and totally drool worthy meat curry J. My mouth watered every time I saw him eat that huge juicy chunk. So I googled and googled and found the video of the episode that aired this clip. AND that is how I found - ‘Lal Maas’ that literally translates to ‘Red Meat’.
This is a royal dish from the Rajputani Kitchen. The Rajput Kings of Rajasthan were known to be fierce hunters and lovers of meat. They had amazing culinary skills too! I’ll do a detailed post on Rajput cooking some other time. But, I have to admit that cooking and reading about this one dish has totally evoked my interest. I need to do some more research on facts or fiction to tell you more.  

Something about these royal dishes that caught my fancy was, none of the authentic recipes had tomatoes because at the time, these veggies were not grown or for that matter it was unknown in this see, we are roughly talking about an era around the 10th century. Wow! Now, that’s what I call truly rustic!! J

Another interesting thing about their dishes is that everything is prepared in pure ghee/ clarified butter because the region is a desert and water is scanty. But don’t worry, since water is not scanty for me, I used only 2 tablespoons of ghee in place of a whole cup....imagine so much oil that meat would float over it...hehehe....I bet Mr.Aj wouldn’t touch it!! Infact, most of us won’tJ.

The recipe here is an adapted and modified version of Lal Maas from Prashad by Jiggs Kalra, a famous Indian Chef and food critic.

I won’t call it absolutely authentic. But this is the closest I could get. The main deviations from the original recipe are:
1. I have used powdered spices plus whole (original has only whole spices)
2. Replaced dried red chillies with red chilli flakes due to personal worry that meat won’t have enough flavour.
3. Reduced amount of ghee from 1 cup to 2tbsp and instead of deep frying onions golden brown, I sautéed them brown.

By the way for those of you who don’t know what is Clarified butter or how it’s prepared, please check this post from my dear friend Susan’s blog, Chacko’s Kitchen- “How to prepare clarified butter?

Now I’ll leave you with The ROYAL RED MEAT CURRY J!!

Ingredients: (serves 6)
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