In the heart of India’s cashew processing industry

Indian cashew processing

If I were brought from my native place and rooted in a new setting…believe me I wouldn’t be happy. But it seems to be a different case with cashew nuts. They came to India with the Portuguese and mingled in the Indian culture so well that they are now considered a native crop of India.

The cashew loved their new abode so much that they went on to make India not only the largest producer, but also the processors of cashew nut. The fact might be boggling, but it’s true that about 60 percent of the cashews consumed globally are processed in India. With a sweet alluring taste, crisp crunch and tempting aftertaste – it is also easy to understand why this nut is the third largest consumed tree nut in the world.

The quest for cashew took me to the eastern and western coastal stretch of India, lined abundantly with cashew plantations. It was a little easy for me to understand India’s cashew processing industry, since our company has their very own cashew processing facility at Kollam, Kerala.

The 0.97 million hectors of land dedicated solely to cashew cultivations isn’t enough. To meet an insatiable demand of processed nut, India has to additionally import raw cashew nuts mostly from Eastern and Western Africa.

These imported nuts are processed and exported further to EU and United States where they are adapted according to the taste requirements of the market. The other major buyers of Indian cashew include Japan, UAE, Canada, Saudi Arabia, Singapore and Israel.

I was told that in India, all cashew business happens from Kollam which is a government approved ‘centre of cashew industry’. And it is truly the heart of cashew industry in India with over 80 percent of the total cashew processing and export in India takes place from here.

Honestly, the real joy for me during this entire journey was to see raw cashew get converted into a premium delicacy. Once converted into edible form, cashew becomes really delicious and expensive too. For cashew to reach its edible state it requires more-or-less 20 to 21 days. It’s a big process, labour intensive and involves many stages – the reason why cashews are expensive.

Post-harvest, the nuts are collected and sun dried for couple of days. The cashews are then steamed and shelled using cutting machines to extract kernels which are sorted according to quality. After this the kernels are passed through Borma dryers to remove moisture. The husk is removed from dried kernels which are then sent for peeling – this step defines the quality of cashew.

The kernels are then sorted and separated as per AFI (American Food Industry) standards into various kernel count, size and grades. Thereafter the kernels are sent for inspection once before passing through metal detectors, after which they are packed in cartons.

Food processing segment is the highest consumer of cashew nuts using them in the bakery, confectionary, ice-cream and chocolate industry. Better quality cashews means you get better prices in the international market. And the quality of cashew kernels in turn begins with the quality of raw nut.

Shimla Hills: The year gone by…2013!

Shimla Hills: The year gone by…2013!

Today, as we eagerly wait for the moment when we step into the year 2014 we reflect on the year gone by. As growing part of food industry, Shimla Hills has achieved a lot in year 2013. So here we have a snapshot of our achievements for you all to enjoy!


Shimla Hills : ‘A Government Certified Export House’.
Shimla Hills – ‘A Government Certified Export House’.






Giving Food A Visual Appeal That Tempts Appetite

Giving Food A Visual Appeal That Tempts Appetite

Pablo Picasso was right when he said “Colours, like features, follow the changes of the emotions.” Imagine life without dash of colours. Won’t it be plain bland and boring? We recognize most things by their colour and food is not an exception to this.


It is in fact relished in many ways, and perception (the way it looks and feel) is one of them. That is why most culinary experts pay extra attention to taste, but greater to the visual appeal of the cuisines. Besides appeal, colours of the ingredients used in the cuisines influence our appetite. Over the years, subconsciously, we have become habitual to judge the health and nutrition of food by its colour.


Therefore, It Is Important To Feast Eyes Before Taste Buds


It is important to understand the colour psychology because you eat with your eyes before you eat with your mouth.  There’s pasta, which is good. But then there’s pasta with red and yellow peppers, grated soft cheese, bright red sauce and green broccoli that sets your stomach grumbling at first sight.  That’s the difference.


It is about knowing the art of how ingredients are mixed and matched to create a stunning visual appeal without compromising on taste. Here are few blow-by-blow tips on how food can be themed and garnished to bring out that “Visual Taste”.


A Hint Of Cheer And A Dash Of Sunshine

Adding warmth of yellow and mischievousness of  orange  gives  an instant visual appeal to dish. There are lot of colourful vegetables, fruits, seasonings, sauces etc. that can not only enhance the flavour but add beauty to a  seemingly simple dish.

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Avoid Dark Shades

Avoid theming the entire cuisine in dark shades like blue, black etc. because they are appetite suppressing colours.

Dark Shades




Bright Is Delight

Increase the indulgence by intensifying the food with bright red and green colours.


The Golden Shine

You can caramelize or roast ingredients to bring out the the golden colour and crispy crunch in them.

Golden Shine


Garnishing Has Many Ways To It  

The way cuisines are styled and garnished also matters. It gives food more refined texture, enhancing the breadth of colours used.


Just Sprinkle

It can be freshly grated cheese, chocolates, finely chopped coriander, pinch of minced parsley on a steak and much more. Just be creative and sprinkle right thing.


Just Sprinkle


Using Sprigs

There are many varieties of herbs that enrich the colour of the dish and also add an appetising aroma to it.

Using Sprigs


Giving Knife A Culinary Edge

The way food is sliced, diced and chopped also compliments to the entire look of the dish prepared.

Culinary Edge

Presentation Is An Art

Who would hate to taste food that looks like this?

Presentation Is An Art


And, Now The Secret Ingredient

It is freshness. There is no substitute for it because you can’t expect fusty vegetables, ingredients, fruits and likes to give matchless sparkle to any cuisines. If you are part of the growing and demanding food industry you would definitely know the importance of fresh supply of food products.  Shimla Hills understands this to the core and makes it a point to meet all your needs for tropical fruits, vegetables and processed products anytime you want.