February 28, 2012
Cardamom Hill serves up Indian cuisine quite different to what you might think of as "Indian food."
“Most of the Indian food served in the U.S. is from Northern India,” says chef/co-owner Asha Gomez, a native of Kerala who cooks the food of her homeland. "There are 22 different states in India, all with different culinary traditions." Situated on the western coast of southern India, the cuisine of the state of Kerala is rich in seafood, coconut, rice and spices such as cardamom, ginger, turmeric and black pepper. It has French and Portuguese influences, thanks in part to its prominent position along the ancient spice route.
Bobby Palayam, Gomez' husband, says, "What Tuscan food is to Italy, Kerala food is to Indian."
“I grew up with my mom and her three sisters making magic in the kitchen,” she says. One bite is all that’s needed to become spellbound with dishes like fish roasted in banana leaf, pork vindaloo that Gomez describes as “our version of barbecue” with a vinegar-tinged sauce, braised short ribs in a smooth roasted coconut sauce, and Kerala-style fried chicken with subtle but addictive spices.
Beef on the menu? Yes. "The cow is not sacred to us in Kerala," says Gomez.
Vinod Anslem, is also the co-owner of Cardamom Hill. He has over 18 years experience in the the restaurant and hotel industry and graduated from two culinary schools, in Switzerland and also the French Culinary Institute in New York City. Anslem set-up the restaurant and the wine program.
Bottom Line: The cuisine of Kerala as prepared by Chef Asha Gomez proves to be deliciously addictive.