Its the peak summer days makes us feel tired all the time. Drinking plenty of water and other cool drinks will give some kind of relief. Since its too hot outside, we prefer having more of juice and milkshakes these days instead of tea and coffee. These home made cool drinks are good for our health more than tea and coffee!
My daughter is a big fan of strawberries these days. Whenever we insist her to have some fruits, she demands for strawberries! So whenever I have more strawberries in the fridge, I will preserve some in the freezer for her emergency needs! And sometimes, those fruits will be used to prepare delicious milkshakes just like this!

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Servings: 2
Difficulty level: Easy

Strawberries (fresh / frozen) - 250 gm
Cold milk - 300 ml
Sugar - 2 to 3 tbsp or to taste
Ice cream - 2 tbsp

Clean the strawberries and chop them roughly.
Combine sugar and chopped strawberries in a mixie or blender and make a smooth paste. Add little milk, if needed.
Once its blended nicely, add the remaining milk and blend it till everything is combined well.
Finally, add ice cream and blend it for half a minute.
Thats all, delicious Strawberry milkshake is ready to serve!

If you want to reduce the quantity of milk, use 200 ml milk and 100 ml of water.

Gadbad Ice cream is a famous dessert of Karnataka. As I read in Wiki, its the signature dish of a ice cream parlour based at Mangalore. Me and my Hubby both are big fans of Gadbad Ice cream. Every time we visit our native place Sirsi, we will visit the ice cream parlour at least 2 - 3 times just to enjoy Gadbad Ice cream!
Layers of chopped fruits, ice cream jelly, dry fruits and nuts make this ice cream delicious and rich in taste. I love to prepare Gadbad Ice cream at home when I have ripened mangoes in my pantry. Try this delicious ice cream and let me know your feedback!

Preparation time: 30 - 35 minutes
Refrigeration time: 1 hour
Servings: 2
Difficulty level: Medium

  • Ripened mango - 1
  • Apple - half slice
  • Banana - 1
  • Sugar - 2 tbsp
  • Raisins - 3 tbsp
  • Broken cashews - 4 to 5 tbsp
  • Cherries (for decoration) - 2
  • Tutti frutti (optional) - 2 to 3 tbsp
  • Ice cream - as required

  • Chop apple, mango and banana finely. Combine them in a mixing bowl. Add around 2 tbsp of sugar or according to taste. Mix it well and keep in the refrigerator for an hour.
  • Meanwhile, dry roast the broken cashews into golden brown and keep aside.
  • Take 2 serving glasses. Add one layer of chopped fresh fruits in both the glasses. Top it with raisins and cashews. You can also add tutti frutti. Add around 2 tbsp of ice cream on its top. Repeat these layers again one or two times as per your wish. 
  • After you add the final layer of ice cream, garnish it with raisins, cashews and tutti frutti. Top it with cherry and serve immediately.

  • Orange, sapota (chikkoo) and pineapple fruits also go well for this ice cream. Fruits which I have mentioned in the recipe are not compulsory; You can try it with your favorite combo of fruits.
  • You can add different flavors of ice cream for each layer to make it rich and more colorful.

ಕನ್ನಡ ಆವೃತ್ತಿ
Different kinds of leafy vegetables are part of our healthy diet. They are good source of various nutrients and taste delicious as well. One among those leaves is Amaranth Leaves. We buy it often from the vegetable market. Amaranth leaves are a good source of calcium, iron and vitamins. They are good for preparing stir fry, sambar, hashi, saasive and other side dishes.
Below is the recipe of Amaranth Leaves Stir Fry / Harive Soppina Palya..

Preparation Time: 20 - 25 minutes
Serves: 2
Difficulty level: Medium

  • Amaranth leaves / Harive soppu - 1 bunch
  • Dry red chillies - 2 or 3 (adjust according to taste)
  • Urad dal - 1 tsp
  • Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
  • Asafoetida / Hing - a pinch
  • Turmeric powder - 1/8 tsp
  • Cooking oil - 3 tbsp
  • Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
  • Salt to taste
  • Amchur powder - for taste
  • Jaggery / sugar - 1/4 tsp or according to taste (see Tips)
  • Onion (optional) - 1

  • Wash the amaranth leaves in clean water thoroughly. Chop them finely. Include the tender stems also while chopping.
  • Heat the oil a heavy bottom pan. Add broken red chillies, urid dal and roast them for a minute. When the urid dal turns into light brown color, add mustard seeds and asafoetida. 
  • When the mustard seeds start crackling, add the turmeric powder and saute it once. Now add the chopped amaranth leaves and mix it well. Quickly find the broken red chillies in them which are crunchy after frying, powder them coarsely using your fingers or with the help of laddle. Add the powdered chillied back to the seasoned mixture.
  • Cover the lid and allow the mixture to cook on medium flame. No need to add any water, since the water content in the leaves will be enough for cooking them.
  • Stir the mixture regularly. Once the leaves are almost cooked, add salt, amchur powder and jaggery / sugar for taste.
  • Add grated coconut after 2 - 3 minutes. Also add the chopped onion, if using. I have added onion here.
  • Cook it for 5 more minutes and turn off the flame.
  • This stir fry tastes delicious with rice, chapathi or poori.

  • Add only 1/4 tsp of jaggery / sugar for this stir fry if you don't want to make it sweet. If you like sweet taste, add more jaggery / sugar according to taste. And if making it sweet in taste, don't add onion.

Makara Sankranti is one of the famous festivals which is celebrated by Hindus. January is the month when different agricultural crops are ready for harvest. Makara Sankranti is known as the festival of harvests. In different parts of India, this festival is celebrated with different names like Pongal, Bogi Pallu, etc.
At my native, we prepare 'Sankranti Kalu', tiny balls of sugar syrup which will have sesame seeds inside. Being kids, we were enjoying eating them during those days. All the people in the household along with friends and relatives enjoy eating them with other festive specials. This festival will end up with a sweet note - 'Eat sweet and talk sweetly'!
Most of the people prefer buying Sankranti Kalu from the shops since preparing them at home is a hectic job. At my moms place, they usually prepare Sankranti Kalu at least in small quantity for offering to the God. Me too prepared it at home this time for my Kiddo :)

Preparation time: 4 hours approx
Difficulty level: difficult
Yield - 1 small bowl full

  • White sesame seeds / Till seeds - 4 tsp
  • Sugar - 3 cups (1 cup = 110 gm)
  • Water - 1 1/4 cup
  • Milk - 4 tbsp
  • Lime juice - 1 tsp
  • Muslin cloth
  • Food colors - optional

  • Combine sugar and water in a vessel and bring it to boil. Once it starts boiling, add 2 tbsp of milk and 1/2 tsp lime juice to it. This is to remove any impurities in it.
  • After boiling it for 3 - 4 minutes, it curdles and you can see a white layer on the top of syrup. Filter the syrup using a muslin cloth. Repeat this step one more time.
  • When the sugar syrup reaches one string consistency, turn off the flame and allow it to cool. Now, purified sugar syrup is ready to use.
  • While making Sankranti Kalu, if the sugar syrup gets thick at any stage, add a little water and heat it to attain one string consistency again.
  • Take a wide pan and allow to heat it on low flame. Add 4 tsp sesame seeds and 3 drops of sugar syrup. Keep mixing it nicely with your fingertips and take care not to burn the hands. Try to keep the seeds separately; Make sure that sesame seeds not sticking to one another by the time the sugar syrup coating is dried.
  • Whenever you feel like the pan is hot, take the pan out of the stove top and keep mixing the sesame seeds continuously till its warm enough. Put it back on the stove top again and continue the process. 
  • Once the sugar syrup on the sesame seeds is completely dried, add 3 - 4 drops of again and keep mixing them continuously. Repeat this process till they reach the size of coriander seeds. 
  • If adding colors, add a pinch / drop of food color to 1/2 tsp of sugar syrup and mix it. Add 3- 4 drops of this colored syrup to a small quantity of Sankranti Kaalu and mix it on the stove top till its dried. Do it one more time so that the color will be coated nicely. You can add different colors like this.

  • Fennel seeds / Saunf or groundnuts will also taste good when they are coated with sugar syrup in the above way. I have 2 batches here, one with sesame seeds and another with fennel seeds and have mixed both of them.
  • Preparing Sankranti Kalu at one stretch is very hard. If the sugar syrup is ready, you can invest 1hour daily and finish doing it within 4 - 5 days.
  • Natural colors like turmeric, beetroot juice, saffron, etc.are good to use instead of artificial food colors. 
ಕನ್ನಡ ಆವೃತ್ತಿ

Chips are perfect snacks for tea time! Varieties of chips can be prepared using different vegetables. At my native place, people prepare chips using vegetables like raw banana (plantain) chips, raw jack fruit chips, bread fruit chips, sweet potato chips, etc. Raw banana (plantain)s are available in all the seasons and hence, one can prepare Raw Banana Chips anytime. There are different varieties of bananas, the one known as 'Nendra Baale' is one among them, which is perfect for preparing chips.
Both me and my hubby like varieties of chips prepared at our native place. Since it has been a while we visited native, sometimes we miss the native style food here. Whenever I find raw banana (cooking banana)s in Indian stores, I remember those crunchy and tasty chips prepared at my native. One fine day, I prepared chips using those cooking bananas which were there in the pantry. I came out nice and after adding my mom's style masala powder, it tasted the same like the native one. After this trial, I'm happy that I can prepare my favorite Banana Chips anytime!
Here is the recipe of Raw Banana Chips / Plantain Chips..

Time required: 1 hour
Servings: 5 - 6
Difficulty level: Medium

Raw bananas - 5
Chips Masala Powder - 4 tbsp
Salt to taste
Oil for deep frying

Take around 5 cups of water in a wide vessel and add 4 - 5 drops of cooking oil. Peel the raw bananas and keep them in this water.
Take the peeled bananas one - by - one, rub them in a dry cloth, chop them into thin slices.
Heat oil in a heavy bottom pan. Deep fry the sliced bananas on medium flame till crispy and/or golden brown.
Spread the fried chips on a tissue paper for a minute or to in order to absorb the excess oil.
Transfer the chips to a wide bowl. Add Masala powder and salt, as required. Toss it nicely and ensure that masala powder and salt is coated evenly.
Enjoy the crispy crunchy chips with a cup of Tea or Coffee!
If preserved in an airtight container, chips will remain fresh for at least upto a month.

Instead of Masala powder, you can add turmeric powder and hing (asafoetida) for flavoring.
Sunflower oil and coconut oil are good for frying raw banana chips.
Soaking the peeled bananas in water is to avoid them from ripening. If you are using the peeled bananas quickly, then no need to soak in water.

Palak Paneer, is a famous side dish from North Indian cuisine. Paneer cubes are dipped in Spinach gravy with added spices, which tastes delicious with Chapathi, Roti and Poori. 
Palak plants are easy to grow even in your balcony. One of my friends have gone for vacation last month and she had left her plants at my place. She gave me her spinach plants and shared a nice tip. Don't take out the whole plant when it is ready for plucking. Take out only the grown up leaves and leave the plant to grow again. This works nicely and the leaves are again ready for plucking within 3 weeks! I had planted some spinach plants in our backyard when we were in Adelaide, but I didn't knew about this. Hope this tip will be useful for you as well!
And, wish you all a very happy and prosperous new year! 
Below is the recipe of Palak Paneer:

Time required: 30 minutes
Servings: 3
Difficulty level: Medium

  • Spinach leaves - 1 big bunch
  • Tomato - 1
  • Onion - 1, medium sized
  • Grated ginger - 1 tsp
  • Grated garlic - 1 tsp
  • Cumin seeds - 1 tsp
  • Coriander powder - 1 1/2 tsp
  • Garam masala powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Red chilli powder - 1 1/4 tsp or according to taste
  • Salt to taste
  • Lime squeeze - 1 tsp or to taste
  • Paneer / Cottage cheese - 300 gm or as required
  • Cooking oil - 7 tbsp
  • Water - 3 cups approx

  • Chop the tomato finely. Grate the onion using a vegetable grater and keep ready.
  • Wash the spinach leaves thoroughly and cook them in 1 1/2 cups of water. Add more water if required. 
  • Once the spinach is cooked, turn off the flame and allow to cool. Drain the remaining water and keep aside. Grind the spinach leaves into smooth paste.
  • Cut the paneer / cottage cheese into medium size cubes. Shallow fry them with little oil on hot tava till golden brown and keep aside.
  • Heat 5 - 6 tbsp of oil in a heavy bottom pan. Add cumin seeds and saute for a while. Then, add grated ginger and garlic. Saute them till the raw smell is gone.
  • To this, add grated onion and cook it till turns into light brown color.
  • Add finely chopped tomato and 1/4 tsp salt and mix well. Cook it covered. 
  • Keep mixing it regularly and once tomato is cooked and the mixture starts leaving oil from the sides, add the spinach paste. Add water as required to make it gravy and salt to taste. You can use the drained water left after cooking the spinach. 
  • Now add the coriander powder, garam masala powder and red chilli powder. Mix it nicely and allow the mixture to boil for 3 - 4 minutes.
  • After you turn off the flame, add lime juice for taste and mix it well. 
  • Finally add the Paneer cubes and mix everything slowly.
  • Serve it hot with Chapathi, Roti or Poori.

  • If you have the paneer at home, you can use the left over paneer water for this recipe instead of plain water.
  • Green chillies can be used instead of red chilli powder. If using green chillies, you can combine ginger, garlic and green chillies and make a fine paste for using here.

Paneer or Cottage Cheese is a common ingredient in most of the North Indian side dishes. Also, there are varieties of sweets which calls for Paneer as the primary ingredient. Since Paneer is easily available in super markets and convenience stores, most of the people prefer to buy them instead of preparing it at home. If you have enough time, preparing Paneer at home is not a big deal. 
Here is the recipe of Home - made Paneer..

Time required: 30 - 35 minutes
Hanging time and refrigeration time: 2 hours
Yield : 25 pieces

  • Full cream milk: 1 1/4 liter
  • Half lime
  • A Muslin cloth

  • Heat the milk in a vessel and bring to boil. 
  • Once it starts boiling, add 1 table spoon of lime juice and stir it nicely. Keep it on medium flame and stir regularly.
  • After 1 - 2 minutes, add one more spoon of lime juice. You can see the milk starts curdling slowly. 
  • Add little more lime juice if required. Keep stirring the mixture regularly. 
  • After boiling it for 15 - 20 minutes, all the fat separates and the water turns into pale green color. 
  • Switch off the flame and pour the mixture onto the muslin cloth. 
  • Expose the mixture to tap water once, to remove the citrus content. 
  • Tie the paneer mixture inside the cloth and hang it onto a hook or tap for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Then, spread the paneer mixture on a flat surface and knead it nicely without any lumps.
  • Pat it into a square or rectangular shape and keep refrigerated for 30 minutes.
  • Take out the paneer and cut into desired shapes.
  • While adding paneer cubes to any side dishes, shallow fry them on the tava to avoid them from breaking.

  • Dont discard the water which you get while preparing the paneer. This water, known as Paneer Ka Pani is good for health. You can replace the plain water for side dishes with Paneer Ka Pani.

Don't know whether I am becoming more busy (or lazy!) these days, its becoming tough for me to invest time for blogging. We were roaming around different places during the week-ends and kiddo keeps me busy during the week days! Even I tried varieties of dishes, but couldn't click the picks being with her.
We had a memorable Diwali celebration this time. There are more Indians in our locality. So, we took part in Diwali celebrations at different places. We celebrated the festival at home one day. I had prepared Holige / Obbattu for Diwali this time. In fact I prepared Seven Cup Burfi and Mysore Pak too! But they were for kiddos playgroup and hubby's office.
There are different ways to prepare this Tovve. My version was slightly different earlier; after I learned this version from my friend Maitri, I just shifted to this method. Try this simple and easy curry and let me know your feedback!

Preparation time: 20 minutes
Serves: 2
Difficulty level: Easy

  • Moong dal - 1/3 cup (1 cup = 70 gm approx)
  • Water - 4 cups
  • Turmeric powder - big pinch
  • Ginger (crushed) - 1 1/2 inch
  • Green chilly - 2 nos (adjust according to taste)
  • Asafoetida / hing - big pinch
  • Salt - for taste
  • Finely chopped coriander leaves - 2 tbsp
  • Lime - half slice

For tempering: Ghee / clarified butter - 1 1/2 tsp, cumin seeds - 1 tsp, Mustard seeds - 1 tsp

  • Wash the moong dal in clean water. To this, add around 3 cups of water, big pinch of turmeric and 2 - 3 drops of cooking oil. Pressure cook for 1 whistle. You can cook it directly on the stove top; it takes little longer to cook. 
  • Once the moong dal is 3/4th cooked, add crushed ginger, slit green chillies, hing, salt and lime squeeze for taste. Add little more water if required. Let it boil nicely for 5 minutes and then, add the chopped coriander and turn off the flame.
  • Heat ghee in a small wok. Add mustard seeds and cumin seeds. Once it starts crackling, mix it with the prepared Tovve or Dal mixture.
  • Serve it hot with rice and pickle!

  • Lime squeeze can be added either before boiling the mixture or at the end. Anything is fine!
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