A BJP legislator wants a ban on momos. It may well be much ado about nothing
Rahul Dass | June 8, 2017
Momos are cute little dumplings that are quite filling. So, why on earth would anybody want to banish momos from our plates?
A Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MLA in Jammu and Kashmir wants a ban on momos. And the poor momos fault, says legislator Ramesh Arora, is that it contains carcinogenic monosodium glutamate or Ajinomoto.
The jury is still out on whether the innocent looking momos are a health hazard or not. It is in fact quite worrisome that the BJP MLA is putting his energies to evict momos from our plate, instead of focusing on burning issues in a state where a lot needs to be done.
The US FDA says about Ajinomoto: “FDA considers the addition of MSG to foods to be “generally recognized as safe” (GRAS). Although many people identify themselves as sensitive to MSG, in studies with such individuals given MSG or a placebo, scientists have not been able to consistently trigger reactions.” So there.
The momos hopped off mountainous Tibet and spread across distant lands, making it an interesting example of how food can travel far and wide.
This dish is popular among the Newar community of the Kathmandu Valley and it is believed that traveling Newar merchants brought the recipe and the name momo from Tibet where the Newar merchants used to trade.
The momos have become hugely popular in India. Hyontoen, a traditional dish of Sikkim, today has few takers. The Hyontoen was quite similar to momos and was made of millet flour. It was steamed like momos after being stuffed with delectable cheese.
Steamed or fried. Either way, momos are a huge hit. Its popularity is growing with leaps and bounds. Momos are a quick snack after a busy day at work. Some prefer to wolf down two full plates of momos and skip dinner.
The fiery chutney of tomatoes, garlic and red chillies make for a perfect accompaniment. There is also a white sauce that is dished out along with momos. The vegetarian variety is stuffed with vegetables, while the non-vegetarian variety in north India is packed with chicken.
Interestingly, the Tibetan momos are not like the kind that is commercially served. It is much fuller and has a bolder taste, delightfully filling your mouth. The non-vegetarian variety is packed with meat and nothing much else. It is wondrous.
The soft, creamy shell of momos does not look threatening enough to be banished. So, the BJP MLA is wrong when it comes to momos and it would be best if the party stops interfering with our food.
Neeraj Kabi, a critically acclaimed self-taught actor, theatre director, and acting teacher, has worked in Odiya, Hindi and international cinema, theatre, television and web series. In 2014 he was honoured with the best actor award at the 4th Sakhalin International Film Festival for his role in the fil
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