Fish Curry using Mangoes & Tamarind. Daddy’s Meen Kuzhambu!:)
Serotonin: Another important neurotransmitter that is found in our brain cells. Serotonin is responsible for well- being, content, happiness, brings about feelings of calm, feel good, emotional well-being and satisfaction. When we have necessary amount of serotonin, it brings that ‘Satiated’ feelings. The fullness after a meal! So, low levels of serotonin leads to depression and strong appetite. We may over eat, when there is tremendous drop in this neurotransmitter. No matter our will power! We indulge voraciously! Many antidepressants work by increasing the availability of serotonin in the brain! Which brings that calmness!!!
A diet rich in carbohydrate boosts this neurotransmitter! And that is why after eating a plate full of rice meal….our mood is so enhanced, feel good and brings satisfaction! These carbohydrate foods actually does increase an amino acid called tryptophan, which in turn happens to be a building block for serotonin!!! There is teeny problem in depending on this ‘Carb’ rich diet to boost your ‘Serotonin. As these are easily converted into simple sugars in our body, there could be sudden shift in the glucose level. That is the period that, makes us happy and well-satisfied. But this instant energy also makes the insulin level to shoot up initialy, do extra duty and fall below the level(nadir). So as it decreases the well-being state also goes down. There would a rush to boost them(crab’ cravings)immediately…we tend to eat more Carb’ rich food! Cravings!! Ultimately leads to obesity!!!
Myself and my friends used to debate about this neurotransmitters, as I am on ‘low carb diet’ ever since UnderGrad. We were looking for the other sources of this Serotonin. Dr.Balaji(a Vet Doctor), Tulsi Ram ( Masters in Zoology, HCU output) and I, used to discuss about it all the time. So, we were discussing about certain food, that does have an effect on the neurotransmitter(although it is produced in the brain cells….any cells gets its supply from our food source, right). Like Balaji was more into ‘Serotonin’ saying ‘Ghee’ helps to increase Serotonin. Ghee is the secret of his ‘Good Memory’ power. And also argued ‘Serotonin’ is responsible for ‘Memory Power’! Yep…he is right about memory power…serotonin does have role in it! But no idea about ‘ghee’!!! While Tulsi & I were more into ‘Fish Diet’ and Cold water fish/ diet rich in good Cholesterol(from fish) is a main precursor for Serotonin production. As cold water fish does have an amino acid, tryptopan…which is the building block of serotonin. People who ate more fish have less degenerative process! Between Tulsi & I also agreed on one more point, thinking more of…..sitting straight while studying/ meditation, yoga, regular exercise increses the Dopamine & Seratonin production. Later Balaji too got into us….said, before his exams, when he properly exercised…it does increase the ephinephrine, and that has significant role in the thought process. Well…besides food, as neurotransmitter are only produced by brain cells, to excite certain cells and for chemical change, certain level of controlling telemere damage, to prevent cell degeneration….exercise/ sitting position is also important. As telemere damage in genes are less in people who exercise a lot & meditate. Concentration and Alertness comes only when we sit straight! Over eating (even good food) will only make a person dull and a couch potato! Memory power is improved, only when we eat less (not loaded and stuffed). I agree, a low glucose level will create mental irritablity. But I have seen people with positive attitude with minimum attention paid to food(Saint, Old people…who meditate for long periods, get satisfied with just water and basic food, still hold that long last memory!:).
Whatever….neurotransmitters do get released/produced by variety of factors, like drugs, alcohol, caffeine, genetic makeup, genes (is one imortant factor tho’)hormones and last but not least Food!!! Since it is Food blog…let me focus on that part.
While still ‘Ghee’ is only a hypothesis! I consider fish, could an alternative source for serotonin. If only fish is the source….then whole non-fish eating population is not dumb or any, Carbohydrate is the all time charm of serotonin! Than depending upon polished rice/refined atta, please choose ‘Banana’ as your best carbohydrate. Hmmm…yah it has ‘tryptopan’. Balance and limit your portion with positive attitude, life style, food and exercise……that should make it available to you!
Fresh Water Fish/ use any of these catla, roghu or mirgal
Onions 2 large size finely chopped
Tomato 2 finely chopped
Garlic 2 peeled and crushed
Tamarind Cricket ball size – soaked in water
Raw Mangoes 1 medium cheeks alone chucked out
Curry leaves 3-4 twigs
Mustard seeds 1 spoon
Cumin seeds 1 spoon
Chana dal 1/2 spoon
Urad dal 1/2 spoon
Fenugreek seeds 1/2 spoon
Dry red chillies 3-5 slitted
Black pepper 1/2 spoon
Thalippu vadagam 2 spoons
Turmeric powder 1/2 spoon
Chilli powder 1 spoon
Sesame oil 1-2 cup
In a small pan, heat oil. Once the oil comes to smoky hot…..add mustard, cumin seeds, fenugreek seeds, chana dal, urad dal, asafoetida, curry leaves, dry red chilli flakes, whole pepper and thalippu vadagam. Set this seasoning aside.
Now heat oil, in a deep vessel. Add garlic and fry them for a while……followed by onions and tomato. Wait till the onions turn color and tomatoes wilt.
Add salt, turmeric and chilli powder. Followed by thick tamarind water to make curry.
Bring this to boil and cook over high heat without lid. Add mangoes too. When the gravy thickens and oil shows up on sides.
Now add cleaned fish to it. Cook them without lid for exactly 2-3 minutes. Then remove from heat.
Run the seasoning on top. Let this stand for 2-4 hours on counter. Let the gravy get well infused in the fish! This makes the fish very delectable!
Serve to go with plain steamed rice! Enjoy!