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Spiced Tilapia on Roti, Spice Monger, Organic Spices from the Wayanad district of Kerala

Spiced Tilapia on Roti

Spiced Tilapia on Roti, Spice Monger, Organic Spices from the Wayanad district of Kerala

Stories of kings and queens, adventurous explorers commissioned to traveling the high seas, scouting out new or distant lands, exotic places, these were among my most favorite social studies lessons in grade school, and inspiring enough intrigue that I’m fairly certain I read every explorer book available at the library during the time.

These were not books merely about historical dates and history, they were stories of drama, power, wealth, even war, trade routes whose often treacherous journeys merged people together from different points around the globe, exchanging premium goods, sharing knowledge, and most frequently at the heart, seeking the richest of treasures, spices.


Over the years my fascination with spices has heightened in delight of their culinary uses and the many diverse combinations that enhance the depth and flavor of foods, even a simple dish like today’s Spiced Tilapia on Roti. It is an interesting contrast, however, having once been absorbed in the journeys of trade and explorer books, those whose pages lived stories and tales of dangerous risks seeking travel routes for spice to today where we so easily access these very same spices within a mere reach of a box, rack, or cabinet shelf.

What’s more, I even have dear friends from a precise place among those traveled lands once considered foreign, exotic, distant places on the earth, Kerala, India, a place which continues among the most famous of places for its treasured, premium spices.


For somewhere around a few millennia Kerala has always been one of those unique regions in the world for sourcing the specifically cherished and highly sought after spices, including native black pepper, along with cardamom, turmeric, ginger, and cinnamon. 

Today, there exists different dangers from the former ancient trade routes.

In 2001 the spice route journey of treachery acknowledged by the people along the eastern half of Kerala, in the district of Wayanad were those causing human and environmental health issues through the continued use of chemical pesticides.

The newest symbolic explorers en route then became the spice farmers of Wayanad restoring the region through returning to organic farming practices while continuously stretching the growth of the organic certified farmland.

Restored spice growing practices of earlier times also provided for a new sort of modern symbolic traders, those such as Madhan and Satha, who having been frustrated in the accessibility of affordable organic spices were inspired to provide just that to the marketplace, affordable organic spices, creating their own business: the Spice Monger which collaboratively supports the Wayanad economy through Fair Trade among the organic spice farmers cooperative.

Spiced Tilapia on Roti, Spice Monger, Organic Spices from the Wayanad district of Kerala

Providing a range of organic spices in their ‘purest and most elemental form’ is part of the mission at Spice Monger who prepares the small batch organic spices using a steam sterilization process that does not involve any harmful chemicals and whose packaging style seals the spices from air and light maintaining the purity of the spices in  scent, color, and flavor.

 I received a selection of organic spices from Spice Monger to try out, and used four of these for the Spiced Tilapia on Roti: ground black pepper, ground chili, cardamom, and turmeric which was quick, easy, and delish in flavor. All opinions expressed are my own.  I’ve enough to share and am enthusiastic for you to try them out so if you live nearby and would like to prepare the Spiced Tilapia on Roti, or another dish of your own, using the spices you can email me or shout out in the comments section.


Remembered stories of explorers, adventurers,  journeys seeking trade routes, new lands, old lands, a spice trade in places foreign and exotic, to today, the continued farming and distribution of premium goods, the treasures of spice. From the Wayanad District of Kerala, India, with a determined return to the organic farming methods of past, perhaps, just perhaps, their organic journey will someday provide more adventurous stories in a chapter with enough intrigue for a grade school student to value reading even more, and learning with appreciation the exciting promise of their efforts.

Spiced Tilapia on Roti, Spice Monger, Organic Spices from the Wayanad district of Kerala

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Category: Artisans-Farms-Markets-Chefs, Fish

Cuisine: Indian

Yield: 6

Spiced Tilapia on Roti


  • 1-1 1/4 pound Tilapia, cubed into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 3 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1/2 long hot green pepper, seeded, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 1-2 whole cardamom seeds
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 3 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 2 good pinches sea salt, plus more to taste if desired
  • 6 plum tomatoes, cubed with juices
  • 4 tablespoons very hot water
  • fresh cilantro leaves for garnish
  • 6 fresh packaged roti


  1. Warm a large- sized skillet, add in canola oil, stir in onions and cook on the lowest heat for ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Drop in the chopped hot pepper, cook another two minutes, then stir in the garlic and ginger continuing to cook another few minutes. Sprinkle in whole cardamom seeds, chili powder, turmeric, black pepper, and salt, stir well throughout heating mixture on lowest heat for two minutes. Set in the cubes of tilapia and gently blending the fish with the sauce ingredients, heat through for a minute, add in the tomatoes and juices along with the hot water, stir, place lid onto skillet and cook around twelve to fifteen minutes until tilapia is cooked through. While fish is cooking heat a cast iron griddle or pan until nearly smoking, one at a time place roti onto the grill cooking about 30 seconds each side before turning over then setting into aluminum foil to keep warm. Spoon spiced tilapia onto the center of each roti, garnish with fresh cilantro.


Indian inspired Spiced Tilapia recipe using Organic Spices from "Spice Monger" #Suitcase of Spice.


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  1. Posted February 25, 2016 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    Hi Peggy, I love everything thing about this dish, the fish, the spices and the roti, it’s perfect.
    cheri recently posted…Waste Not Veggie Fried RiceMy Profile

    • Posted February 27, 2016 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Hi Cheri, thanks so much, appreciated. The dish is delicious and along with the roti making it a perfect meal.

  2. Posted February 26, 2016 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    I love all things Indian, and this looks fabulous! The photography, as usual, is beautiful!
    Kelly recently posted…A Lovely Romantic Getaway: Stonecroft Country Inn, a Select Registry PropertyMy Profile

    • Posted February 27, 2016 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

      Hi Kelly, Thanks so much, sounds as if you enjoy Indian food as much as I. Mostly I have dear friends from different regions in India that have introduced me to these fabulous flavors especially developed through the spice combinations. I can mail you a few samples of the spice if you like, you can email me.

  3. Posted February 27, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Spices with complex flavors, Indian cooking is fascinating. And your pictures with cheerful colors makes it even better. Thank you for sharing, Peggy.
    Jolma recently posted…Happy Losar 2016My Profile

    • Posted February 27, 2016 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

      Hello Jolma! Thank you much! Hope all is well at Beyond Her Kitchen. I love the complex flavors and dimensions of spices in Indian foods too, with always so much more to explore and learn. The colors are so mice and bright too.

  4. Meredith A.
    Posted February 27, 2016 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Peggy, I would like to try the spices and make this dish. I’ve never made anything with these type spices but am willing to give it a try.

    • Posted February 27, 2016 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      Hello Meredith, such exciting news! I’m delighted you would like to give the spices a try. I will leave them in your mailbox Monday morning. Let me know how you enjoy the dish, happy cooking!

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  • Hi, I'm Peggy. Welcome to our Shared Table at Spiced Peach Blog!
    Subscribe here for my fresh, seasonal recipes with an international twist.