I am on a cooking spree these days thanks to the feel good hormone which is doing some justice to me now. The last fortnight was quite bad in a sense that I was generally feeling too low, nothing seemed right in life. My elder one who is in his adolescent stage has been arguing and answering back for the pettiest of the things and I get extremely hurt when kids answer back and spend nights shedding tears trying to convince myself things will be right some day... To add to all this I was cursed badly this month so had to rush to a gynaec, stress paid me well. Shucks!!! Typing all this too also makes me feel sad, so it’s better I discuss the feel good hormone and elevate my mood again.
The feel good hormone or in Scientific terminology called Serotonin. Did I ever tell you guys that I am a Pharmacist by profession and have spent some time doing a bit of research before working for a gigantic Pharmaceutical company..all this seems to be ages back.. Anyways let me share some knowledge that I had gained a decade back, hopefully I will do some justice to my learning.. and to myself!!!
Serotonin is hormone found naturally in the human brain, precisely the CNS or the Central Nervous System. Serotonin is believed to play an important part of the biochemistry of depression, bipolar disorder and anxiety. It is also believed to be influential on sexuality. Since serotonin is so important in regulating moods and feelings of well-being, it is often targeted in drugs that are used to affect the mood, such as antidepressants. A class of medications called monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs).
Researchers have found what they believe to be evidence that low serotonin levels, an inhibition between the chemical signal, or a decrease in the chemical tryptophan (amino acid that produces serotonin) are directly related to chronic depression. Several other disorders, mainly Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD), poor impulse control, panic and anxiety disorders and increased anger have all been attributed as well.
Most of the women during PMS feel low and depressed. Do read this link which tells various means by which Serotonin can be boosted and one can get benefitted. If you have ever taken a medicine during desmenorrhoea (pain during the menstrual cycle), you would agree that after the medicines shows it’s effect the mood feels elevated, these medicines surely cause the production of Serotonin and hence are prescribed drugs, to be taken under the guidance of a doctor.
Today I share a recipe which surely did make me feel happy while planning, cooking and then eating it. The Makhani gravy or Butter Masala gravy is extremely popular in the North Indian Kitchen and my both the kids are extremely fond of it. I rarely indulge into cooking this as it is surely loaded with some extra calories and in my dear friend Sailaja’s expression, the big MRF tyres on the waist line prohibit me from cooking this frequently. LOL. Gladly I still do not have big MRF tyres but if I do not check them, I am bound to have a few.
There are many variants available for this gravy but this one is my own creation and I am in love with it. One can use this for making the paneer or any makhani curry. I have used the degi mirch in the powdered form earlier. Recently I got hold of Sabut Kashmiri Mirch and I am in love these beautiful chilies. The color these chilies impart to the curry makes me drool over them. I can use all adjectives to describe their effect..beautiful, colorful, amazing, eye candy, catchy…and so on. Check out the color of the curry to believe it.
Let’s read the recipe..
500 gm Cauliflower cut into small florets
5-6 garlic pods
1 inch piece ginger
1 tsp kasoori methi roasted
a pinch of garam masala
4 tbsp butter
1/2 cup fresh cream
2 whole kashmiri red chilies/ 2 tsp degi mirch
2 tsp coriander pwd
1 tsp cumin pwd
1 tsp sugar/ honey
salt to taste
2 tsp lemon juice
5-6 green cardamom
2 mace flowers
4-5 bay leaves
1 inch piece cinnamon
Boil together the onions, tomatoes, kashmiri red chilies, ginger and garlic. Cool and grind to a smooth paste.
Boil the cauliflower in water along with some salt and lemon juice till half cooked. Drain the water, the water can be used as stock. Keep the cauliflower aside in a colander.
Put the whole spices in the pan and then put the butter into it, this will avoid it’s burning. Once the whole spices are fried in the butter put the ground mix and saute for about 2-3 mins.
Now add the coriander, cumin pwd, salt to taste and sugar. Once the oil separates from the gravy tip in the cauliflower and mix thoroughly. Pour some stock and adjust the consistency of the gravy. Bring the curry to a boil, cover and cook.
Roast the kasoori methi and crush it gently with fingers.
Once the cauliflower is done, add the kasoori methi, garam masala and cream. Mix thoroughly, cook for another minute before removing from the flame. Remove all the whole spices.
Garnish with some fresh cream and serve it with Whole Wheat Naan or Kulcha. Check out the link as I make my Naan with whole wheat flour.