Think you’ve tried everything to battle obesity? This new discovery is for you

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour.

If you are tired of trying every means to fight obesity, then this new discovery might help you to rethink. Cells in the brain that may help control the hunger impulse have been discovered in a development, which could lead to new treatments for obesity, reports the Independent.

The research adds weight to the evidence that eating is a surprisingly complex biological behaviour. According to Alexander Nectow, who published a paper about the study in the journal Cell, two new populations of cells have been identified in the brain that potently regulates appetite.

The area of the brainstem under scrutiny is the dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN), where the two types of cells are located. It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells.

Dr Nectow, an associate research scholar at Princeton University, found that the DRN section of the brain becomes activated in hungry mice. This was discovered when images were taken using a pioneering technique called iDisco. Imaging other mice that were given more than their normal amount of food showed a different pattern of DRN activity. This showed that neurons in this part of the brain clearly had a function in feeding behaviour.

It is thought new drugs to treat obesity by controlling hunger messages that prompt people to seek out and consume of food could be targeted at those cells. (Shutterstock )

Further research is needed to ascertain which types of neurons that make up the DRN are involved in the process. “There are two possibilities when you see something like that,” Dr Nectow said. “One is that the cells are just along for the ride – they are getting activated by hunger but they’re not actually driving the food intake process,” he continued.

Make this classic Palakkad Iyer coconut curry this summer

The beans mulagootal is a light curry that is typically eaten with a tangier pickle or a spice powder to offset its flavours. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)

A Mulagootal is a very typical preparation of the Palakkad Iyers. It is made usually using one type of vegetable (traditionally amaranth leaves, raw banana, yam, pumpkin, ash gourd or snake gourd though nowadays beans, cabbage, carrots, etc are used; this list of vegetables is not exhaustive) and occasionally a combination of two vegetables like raw banana and yard long beans.

The vegetable is cooked with red gram lentils (or sometimes split moong lentils) in a coconut gravy but no chillies or pepper is used making this rather bland yet very tasty. I , however, like to add a green chilli (the less spicy variety) while grinding the coconut paste as this lends a nice flavour without the “bite”. Since a mulagootal is bland, it is always served in combination with a spicy and tangy preparation like a puli pachadi (made with tamarind) or a thayir pachadi (made with yogurt) or a pulikyatchal ( a very spicy and tangy chutney made from green chillies, ginger and tamarind). If one is feeling lazy and not upto preparing a second dish, then a spicy pickle or a podi would do just as well.

Here, the vegetable in my mulagootal is beans but you can make this with a vegetable of your choice following the same recipe.

Beans Molakootal

Ingredients (Serves 4)
2 cups-Thinly sliced green beans
1 cup- Cooked and mashed red lentils (tuar dal)
¼ tsp- Turmeric powder
Salt to taste
1 sprig- Curry leaves

For the coconut paste
¾ cup- Freshly grated coconut
1 ½ tsp- Cumin seeds
1 tsp- Black gram lentils (urad dal)
1 Green chili (optional)

The mulagootal is made with just one vegetable and tuar dal. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)The mulagootal is made with just one vegetable and tuar dal. (Photo: My Diverse Kitchen)

For the tempering
1 ½ tsp- Coconut oil (or sunflower oil)
1 tsp- Mustard seeds
1 ½- Black gram dal (urad dal)

* In a pan, put in about ¼ tsp oil and put in the 1 tsp black gram lentil (for the paste). Sauté till it starts turning golden. Add the cumin seeds and sauté till it just till it gives off an aroma. Do not brown it. Grind the sautéed lentil and cumin seeds with the coconut and green chilli, adding just enough water to obtain a smooth paste. Keep aside.

* In the same pan (or another one), put the green beans, turmeric powder and salt along with 1 1/2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Turn down the heat and simmer till the beans are well cooked

* Alternatively, you may cook the beans in the microwave till done and then put it on the stove with turmeric, salt and about 3/4 cup of water and bring this to a boil. Then turn down the heat to medium.

* This is what I do. I find it quicker and also like it that the beans retain their green colour.

* Now add the mashed red gram lentils and the curry leaves. Mix well and allow to simmer for about 5 minutes. Add the coconut paste, stir again and allow to come to a boil. After about 2 or 3 minutes turn off the heat and transfer to a serving bowl.

* In a small pan, heat the 1½ tsp oil for tempering. Put the mustard seeds in and when they splutter, add the black gram dal and stir till it becomes golden in colour. Pour this into the mulagootal and stir before serving.

Bake this soft focaccia bread this weekend

You can use any kind of toppings when you bake this bread including fried onions and sundried tomatoes. (Photo: Bijal Vachharajani)

Growing up, convenience foods were an alien concept for my family. My mother loves to cook; and fresh, home cooked food was something we took for granted. For instance, breakfast would be fresh coriander-flecked poha, steaming hot upma, or aloo paratha topped with homemade butter. Little surprise then that bread was not a usual occurrence in our house, especially as a breakfast item. At the most, it made an appearance as a crouton in tomato soup.

I can still remember the first time I ate toast. I must have been something like five or six years old, and on a play date at a friend’s house (We didn’t call it a play date then, it was just playing). As an evening snack, my friend’s mother gave us slices of hot toast, generously buttered with Amul butter. I took a crunchy bite, relishing the crumbly texture, the oozy butter, and I couldn’t help but wonder why had this wondrous thing been missing from my life all this while. I went home and badgered my mum to make us toast. I am pretty sure she rolled her eyes – here she was making us fresh food, and there I was, demanding processed white bread.We moved from Delhi to Mumbai in the early Nineties, and I was amazed to see the range of bread being delivered to your doorstep. Our feisty neighbour, Mrs. Batliwala, would give the bread wallah’s basket a once over for fresh paav, local bread, and buns, apart from kharis and nankhatais. It was at her house that I first came across Wibs with its iconic blue, white, and red waxed paper packaging. And then later, the fabulous street side sandwiches of the city.

Years later, we found out that this white-maida bread was as evil as Voldermort’s horcruxes. So we turned to whole wheat versions and discovered the joys of artisanal bread. Then we found out that processed brown bread often is just maida with caramelized sugar giving it the brown colour. And now all that news about processed bread possibly containing carcinogens.

Bit of a problem, given that bread makes for a cheap, convenient food. On week days, breakfast is a choice between homemade granola and dahi, or toast and chai. On days I don’t feel like cooking, it’s easy to fix a quick sandwich. More and more, I find myself baking whole wheat bread at home. My friend Deborah gave me a quick bread making class – she makes the lightest ragi bread I have ever eaten. My friend’s father, Sujit Sumitran, showed me how to make a wonderful sourdough bread. Bread, I am discovering, isn’t that difficult.

Of course, I don’t always make heathy breads. On days that I am feeling more indulgent or have friends coming over, I make this focaccia. One tip: use good olive oil for it – I used Cannan, an organic, cold-pressed, extra virgin olive oil from Palestine. Amazon stocks it, and as the label says, it helps “farmers stay on their land. It is produced by farmer cooperatives”. If you’re spending good money on an olive oil, try and find one where the money goes back to the farmers.

The focaccia has been baked using extra virgin olive oil. Use premium olive oil for best results. (Photo: Bijal Vachharajani) The focaccia has been baked using extra virgin olive oil. Use premium olive oil for best results. (Photo: Bijal Vachharajani)

Ingredients (Adapted from Jamie Oliver’s recipe)

For the toppings
2 onions
Sea salt
½ tsp- Ground black pepper
A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil
Few sprigs of rosemary
3 tbsp- Balsamic vinegar

For the dough
400g- Maida, organic and unbleached
100g- Whole wheat flour
7g- Dried yeast
½ tbsp- Fairtrade castor sugar
325ml- Lukewarm water
2 tbsp- Semolina
Sea salt to taste
Extra virgin olive oil to taste

* Put the tepid water in a glass and mix yeast and sugar into it with a fork. Leave aside for a few minutes. You know the yeast is active when it starts to foam, and if you “listen” to the mixture, there’s a distinct hum.

* Mix the atta and maida with ½ tbsp. of sea salt and make a well in the middle. Pour in the yeast mixture and stir with a fork.

* Put the dough on a clean, flour-dusted surface and knead for five to seven minutes. To knead, push the dough away from you, and bring it back towards you.

* Put in a greased bowl, pour some olive oil and cover with a clean kitchen towel. Leave to prove for half an hour.

* To prepare the topping, slice the onions. Sauté them with rosemary in olive oil until the onions are translucent. Add balsamic vinegar and fry for another couple of minutes. Keep aside. You can make your own topics – cheese, basil, and tomato; cheese and rosemary; sundried tomatoes and olives – it’s up to you.

* Preheat the oven to 220C/ 425F. Line your baking try with some semolina.

* When the dough has doubled in size, pound it and place it on the tray, so that it covers the bottom.

* Pour some olive oil on the bread, and push it down with your fingers so that it becomes like small hills and valleys.

* Press the onion toppings on the focaccia. Top with sea salt, pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil. Leave to rise, covered with a wet kitchen towel, for around 30 minutes.

* Bake for 20 minutes. When it comes out of the oven, top the bread with some more olive oil to keep it moist.

Try this healthy tendli stir fry to beat diabetes

You can serve this tendli dish with khichdi or a dal and rice meal. (Photo: Sangeeta Khanna)

Kundru or ivy gourd (Coccinia cordifolia) is also known as tendli or tindora. It is a summer gourd that has a slightly tart taste and crunchy texture when cooked right. Some people like it cooked mushy but the taste is always great if combined with some Indian spices. I sometimes cook them with sambar powder to make it easy and yet lip smacking delicious.

Kundru is considered very good for diabetics as the mucilaginous seeds are considered to control the blood sugar. It is also considered great for healing any inflammations in kidney.

Ingredients (2-3 servings)
300 g- Kundru sliced thinly
2 tbsp- Sesame oil
Handful of curry leaves
2 tbsp- Sambar powder
Salt to balance
1 tbsp- Grated coconut to garnish

* Heat the sesame oil, add curry leaves and tip in all the sliced kundru.

* Stir fry on low heat till the kundru slices get wilted but yet retain some crunch.

* Sprinkle sambar powder and the grated coconut, mix well and cook for a couple of minutes.

* Add salt if your sambar powder doesn’t have it already.

* Serve with khichdi or a dal and rice meal.

Say yes to fitness with this healthy Chicken Mushroom Lasagna recipe

Enjoy this traditional Italian dish at the comfort of your home.

Chicken and mushrooms are a classic combination. Not only are they good to eat but also a great source of protein. You will find a number of recipes for this all-time favourite meal but not as healthy as this one. Dinesh Prasad Bhatt, executive chef, has created a recipe that mostly uses fresh ingredients and is big on carrying the Italian legacy forward but with a twist. The tangy tomato-rich red sauce will make you drool. Try it out this weekend or any other day, really. You will love it.

Ingredients (Serves 2)
150 g- Chicken
½ tbsp- Salt
¼ tbsp- Crush black Pepper
2 mince- Garlic cloves
½ cup- Olive Oil
½ tbsp- Fresh Thyme
1 bowl- Button Mushroom
½ bowl- Chopped Onion
3 cups- Low fat milk
1 ½ tsp- Basil
1 cup- Basil tomato sauce

*Slice the chicken and marinate it with salt, pepper, olive oil and fresh thyme. Keep it in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

*Wash the button mushroom properly and cut it into slices.

*Saute chopped onion, garlic, fresh thyme in olive oil and add the mushroom to it along with some salt and crushed black pepper.

*Add some low fat milk and stir it till the milk evaporates. Keep aside once it is done.

*Now, take out the sliced chicken and seal it in the non stick pan.

*Make a layer with mushroom and add some basil tomato sauce.

*Garnish it with some fresh basil, olives and ricotta cheese and bake in the oven for 10 mins.

Love your chicken juicy? You will definitely love this Whole Roast Chicken recipe

If you are a meat lover then you are definitely going to love this Whole Roast Chicken Recipe.

When it comes to Whole Roast Chicken, most people like to follow the age-old family recipes handed down to them by their grandmothers. But what about the ones who don’t have a secret family recipe to fall back on? We feel their disappointment, we do. But it’s nothing that you can’t work around. Family recipes are fine but in today’s world with gourmet food being the talk of the town, it’s just kind of silly to stick to just one.

We asked Chef Samta Gupta, Desi Roots, New Delhi, to share her recipe with us and she was more than happy!

1.5 – 2 kg – Whole chicken (insides cleaned)
3-4 – Boiled potatoes
1 cup – Steamed peas
1 cup – Mushrooms, chopped
2 tbsp – Dijon Mustard
3-4 tbsp – Barbeque sauce
4-5 cloves – Garlic, grated
Rosemary – To taste
Worcestershire sauce – To taste
Balsamic Vinegar – To taste
Honey – To taste
Juice of 2-3 lemons
Salt – To taste
Ground black pepper – To taste


* Make sure when you get the chicken from the butcher shop, he has cleaned the insides of the chicken well. Based on your preference, you can either leave the skin on the chicken or remove it. If you leave it on, then the skin becomes crispy and the fat under it melts, thereby, adding more flavour to the dish; but if you are health conscious, then it’s advisable to get rid of it.

* Once you’re ready to marinate the chicken, place it in a bowl and add balsamic vinegar, mustard sauce, barbeque sauce, honey and lemon juice to it.

* Now, rub the chicken with garlic, salt and pepper and then add rosemary.

* Let the chicken stay in the marinade for at least 2-3 hours – the longer the better. You can also leave it overnight.


* Boil the potatoes, take the skin off and cut them in half.

* Steam the peas. I usually pressure cook them (one whistle) and add a tablespoon of sugar in the water to sweeten the peas up.

* Place the marinated chicken in a nice serving dish.

* Stuff the chicken with the boiled potatoes, steamed peas and chopped mushrooms. If you’re doing this for the first time, don’t get stressed out. Just pack the vegetables in there.

* Whatever peas, potatoes and mushrooms are left after the stuffing, place it around the chicken ornamentally.

* Preheat the oven at 200°C for about 15-20 mins.

* Put the chicken into the oven and let it cook for about 45-50 minutes. Every oven has different heat settings so temperatures tend to vary – you will need to check for yourself when the chicken is done.

* Serve straight out of the oven with bread, some brown sauce, herb-garlic butter and mashed potatoes.

How to make Brown Sauce: Take some chicken stock and bring it to a boil. Pour in Worcestershire sauce, barbeque sauce, garlic and salt to taste. Add a blob of butter to make the sauce rich and creamy and then add a spoonful of corn flour mixed with water to thicken. You are good to go.

Want to try something other than Tandoori Chicken? Go for this Khara Seena recipe

Treat yopur loved ones to this delicious Khara Seena recipe.

We know Tandoori Chicken is a favourite among non-vegetarians across the country and if you think about it, you ‘ll probably never grow tired of it. But isn’t life too short to miss out on good food? Wouldn’t you want to add something else to your table when guests come visiting or prepare a special anniversary meal for your partner? It’s time you try out something innovative and delicious. This Mughlai side dish is a must-try and it goes best with butter naan but if you are health conscious, you can also pair it up with homemade chapati.

Chef Ashish Deva, Executive Chef, Jaisalmer Marriott Resort & Spa tells us how.

Time: 1 hour 40 mins
Calorie count: 523

2pcs – Chicken breast with bone
2 tbsp – Ginger garlic paste
1 tsp – Lemon juice
1 tsp – Salt
2 tbsp – Mustard oil
2 tbsp – Refined oil
3 tbsp – Khara masala

How to make Khara masala
2 tsp – Green cardamom
2 tsp – Cinnamon stick
4 – Bay leaves
2 tsp – Mace
3 tbsp – Mathaniya Mirch
2 tsp – Cloves

* Make cuts on the chicken breast and then marinate the piece with ginger garlic paste and lemon juice.

* Keep aside for 30 mins.

* To make the Khara masala, roast all spices and grind to a coarse powder.

* Add mustard oil and refined oil to the chicken piece and rub in the khara masala. Marinate for at least an hour.

* Cook in a tandoor for 15 mins or in an oven for 35 mins at 180 degree celsius.

* Serve with mint chutney.



This Dragon Chop Suey recipe is perfect to beat after office hunger pangs

In the words of food historian Alan Davidson, Chop Suey is “a prime example of culinary mythology”. There is a long list of conflicting stories about its origin and one account claims that it was invented in the 19th century by Chinese American cooks working on the transcontinental railroad. But anthropologist E N Anderson believes that the popular dish finds it roots in Taishan, a county in Guangdong province in China, a home to Chinese immigrants to the United States.

Whatever be its origin, we are glad that someone actually came up with this dish. It’s hearty and delicious and a perfect way to beat the after office hunger pangs. This recipe from is a good way to start your experiments in the kitchen.

20g – Carrot, sliced and blanched
30g – Baby corn, cut into diamond shape and blanched
5g – Red pepper, cut into triangles
10g – Green pepper, cut into triangles
5g – Yellow pepper, cut into triangles
30g – Bok choy, cut into diamond shape
10g – Fresh spinach, sliced
20g – Button mushroom (halves)
10g – Chinese cabbage, cut into triangles
10g – Beans, cut into diamond shape
20g – Broccoli florents (blanched)
150g – Boiled noodles
10g – Corn flour
1g – Salt
1g – Pepper
1g – Aromat seasoning
15g – Chilli paste
150g – Vegetable stock
3g – Light soya
2g – Chilli oil
5g – Chopped garlic
3g – Chopped ginger
1g – Star anise
10g – Tomato ketchup
3g – Cashew nut
3g – Rice wine vinegar
5g – Diluted corn flour
1g – Chopped spring onion
1g – Chopped red chilli
3g – Honey

* Add cornflour, salt, pepper and aromat seasoning to the noodles. Deep fry it till it’s crispy.

* Sautee garlic, and then add chopped ginger and chilli paste to it and stir. Now, add rice wine vinegar, light soya, chilli oil, tomato ketchup, honey, tossed vegetables and stock to it.

* Adjust the seasoning and then add the fried cashews.

* Add diluted cornflour to make the sauce. It should be red in colour and should taste sour and spicy.

* Garnish it with chopped spring onions.

Make your food bloom this season with edible flowers

People love flowers for their fragrance, colour and texture and just the fact that they can ease your nerves by simply looking at them. Now, you have one more reason to stare at those pretty ferns and petals and thats food.

Mrinmoy Acharya, Head Chef, Ciclo Cafe in Gurugram and Pankaj Jha, Senior Executive Sous Chef at The Suryaa in the capital share the various ways of marrying delectable food with gorgeous edible flowers so that you never run out of reasons to woo your loved ones with flowers.

*Pansy: Mild and delicate, this beautiful garden flower with velvety petals comes in purple, yellow, blue and white and is great for garnishing. Tastes like grapes and mint, this helps adding a slight taste to the dish. You can add these pretty flowers to your salad to enhance its flavour or just use it as a garnish on chocolate tortes or add to the plating while serving pastries or puddings.

*Nasturtium: One of the most popular picks in India, with its mild peppery flavour makes for an excellent pickling and culinary component. The bright yellow, orange nasturtium flowers are easy-to-grow and one of the tastiest herbs in the world. As the leaves of this flower are also edible, simply chop them and add to salad along with the flowers. You can also make desserts and appetisers more appetising by adding as a garnish.

*Marigold: Marigold of the sunflower family or calendula adds a lot to the plate because of its bright colour. Add to salad making it a refreshing summer floral dish or include it in custard to give a citrusy touch for a change.

*Crocus flower: These are easy to grow and look extremely attractive when a dish is served. Apart from using them in salads and main course. You can also mix this bud in beverages for flavouring and can also be used in making tea and wine.

*Snap Dragon: This fragrant specimen come in vibrant colours like red, yellow, pink and adds punch to your otherwise boring food. Mix it with liqueur, cranberry and lots of ice to make a delicious drink or add to pizzas and pies to give a fresh twist to the junk food.

Airlift: This Lucknow company is planning to deliver food using drones

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When hunger beckons, is fast food home delivery your only hope? While you might be waiting impatiently at home for the food to arrive, the ones delivering it, on most occasions are busy dodging traffic snarls. Sometimes, doing it within the prescribed time becomes a major hurdle. Keeping this in mind, one Lucknow-based food delivery website has come up with a solution — drones!

Yes, Online Kaka, “aiming to bring the delicacies of old and modern Lucknow” to its people, “within the comfort” of their homes have come up with this innovative fix. The company understands the high-paced life and value of home delivery and aims to make it as hassle free as possible.

Talking to the, Ahad Arshad, co-founder of the company revealed their plans and ways and how it’s all going to change the delivery experience reducing time by at least one-third. “It was due to the delay in order delivery that we were forced to think of delivering food in other ways. The traffic has gone from bad to worse due to the metro construction, although it will be helpful in future, currently there are a lot of traffic issues,” Arshad said in an email interview.

Arshad along with his co-partner Mohd Bilal, procured two drones from China to start their project. However, they met with a few challenges. “We did a few trial runs on our location but it was not successful in the beginning, so we made a few modifications, like increasing the lifting capacity of the drones and much more,” he revealed. “A few days back we attached a box (with eatables) with the help of a pulley under the drone, as soon as the box will touch the ground, the box will detach from the drone, leaving it for the person ordering the food.”

The ambitious project will be operational only after it receives a nod from the government of India. They had already written a letter to the District Magistrate of Lucknow to allow them to run some trials with the drone. “The Civil Aviation Ministry is also in favour of drone delivery but it is also waiting for a nod from the GOI,” Arshad stated.

If approved, Online Kaka will be the first delivery service in North India using drones. A Mumbai-based company Francesco’s Pizzeria tried doing the same in 2014, but could not go ahead after police intervened. Dominio’s UK also had tried the aerial route way back in 2013.



The delivery chain which has four hubs spread across Lucknow said, “The drone will pick up the food from the restaurant and drop it off at the nearest hub of the customer. From there, our delivery agent will take the order and deliver it to the customer’s doorstep.” Stating that it would be difficult to fly drones above streets where there are plenty of trees, it might be difficult to directly deliver food at customer’s doorstep, rather roof now. But they are still working on it. As of now, it’s going to be a two-step procedure where with the help of Google Maps API, they will deliver food directly.

The Lucknow-based start-up was started by the trio — Ahad Arshad, Mohd Bilal and Mohd Salman in 2016.

When asked if customers need to pay extra for the airborne service, he said, “Yes, the charges for drone delivery will be higher than the normal delivery charge, as the delivery time will be one-third of the average delivery time, which is 45 minutes.”

The company founded by three members Ahad Arshad, Mohd Bilal and Mohd Salman, is currently operating only in Lucknow. But with time, the trio wishes to expand in other parts of Uttar Pradesh.