Three Sugar apple trees make the last row of the trees in our backyard. The trees fruit around the end of monsoons. Being almost at the end of the patch, we often forget about them. Incessant rains have turned our backyard almost into a dense jungle. Yesterday we braved the thick vegetation, lopped the wayward branches, pulled the tall grass and managed to reach our beloved trees. The branches were full of sugar apples. 

Birds and civet cats seem to have been feasting on them and we don’t mind sharing with them. We plucked the semi ripe ones.

A bald curry leaf plant had a caterpillar perched on the top. It would soon turn into a pupa, grow wings and fly away.
Sugar apples, known as Seetaphal and Sharifa in Hindi is full of Minerals, Calcium, and iron. It is an excellent source of energy. Sugar apples are also an excellent source of Vitamin C.

Ripe sugar apples have a very short shelf life. We had some and made kulfi from the overripe ones.   
Sugar apple pulp gives kulfi a gritty texture and chopped almonds give a nice crunch to it. It is a delectable dessert.

Sugar Apple Kulfi Sitaphal Kulfi |Sharifa Kulfi


  • 500 ml + ¼ cup milk
  • 2   teaspoons cornflour
  • 5-6 medium size sugar apples
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • 5 green cardamoms
  • 2 tablespoons chopped pistachios
  • 2 tablespoons slivered almonds  

  1. Remove seeds from cardamom pods and powder them.
  2. Blanch the almonds, remove skin and chop finely.
  3. Take 500 ml milk in a thick bottomed vessel. Bring it to a boil. Reduce heat and let it simmer for 20 -25 minutes or till it is reduced to half the quantity.
  4. Add sugar and cardamom powder.
  5. Add corn flour to ¼ cup cold milk. Add to boiling milk, keep stirring to get a creamy mixture.
  6. Remove from heat and cool. Keep stirring occasionally to prevent skin formation on top.
  7. Remove pulp of the sugar apples. Remove seeds and strain the pulp.
  8. You will get a creamy pulp. Measure ½ cup.
  9. When the milk mixture is cold, add sugar apple pulp and chopped almonds. Stir.
  10. Taste sweetness at this stage. If you prefer a sweeter kulfi, add more sugar.
  11. Pour mixture into kulfi moulds and secure the lids.
  12. Place in the freezer for about 6 hours or overnight.
  13. To serve, pour little hot water on the moulds, remove the lid,   and with the back of a spoon, remove kulfi.
  14. Garnish with chopped pistachios. Serve.

An unusual and overly long spell of rains has been a blessing this year. The grass is tall and juicy, walls mossy and blotchy, trees clean and green, mornings and evenings nippy. Our backyard has turned into a thick jungle with all the bushes thriving, flourishing and pulsating with life. 

The green monotony is broken by the pinkness of the Mirabilis Jalapa flowers that offer a lovely contrast.

Yesterday, a constant “cheep… cheep… cheep “, got our attention. The source of this sonorous call was a baby Magpie Robin perched on the wall. The parents were diving into the thick grass and feeding the little one with fat caterpillars and nymphs that are in plenty.

 We were caught peeping stealthily at the fledgling and the parents raised alarm. The little one made a low flight and disappeared in the leafy branches of the Neem tree.

We baked a Banana Chocolate Bread yesterday.  A bunch of bananas was overly ripe. The bananas were very sweet. Three went into the bread that turned out moist, soft, dark, delish and very chocolaty. I have used chocolate chips that I had in my pantry. 

You may add dark chocolate slab chopped into small chunks if you do not have chocolate chips. Serve it plain with tea or serve with whipped cream or with a dollop of ice cream, you’ll love it every way.

Banana Chocolate Bread
1 cup all-purpose flour
¼ cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (sifted)
1 teaspoon (scant) salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 very ripe big size bananas
¾ cup castor sugar
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
¼ cup dark chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Line the bottom and grease the sides of one 9x5 inch loaf pan.
Puree the bananas in the blender. Empty in a large bowl.
Add sugar, oil, vanilla essence and stir till well combined.
Whisk together first five ingredients in a large bowl.
Make a well in the center. Add liquid ingredients.
Mix gently till you get a smooth batter. Do not over mix.
The batter should be a little runny. If it is thick, add 1 -2 tablespoon of milk.
Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or till the top is firm and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and remove from the pan after 5 minutes.
Cool in the rack. Slice when cold or next day for a deeper flavour.

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