Momos have become the king of street food in the past decade in India. Easily available, portable and with no paraphernalia needed other than a steamer, they are much easy. And are cheap too: 4 pieces for 20 bucks. Well, why not then?
You shouldn’t be going this easy-peasy with this street food, though. That’s for a range of reasons. From the ingredients used to cook it to the way it is served and the condiments with which it is served, nothing really is healthy about this seemingly steamed-hence-healthy food.
Full disclosure: We are talking about street momos here. Although, it has been mentioned in the headline, there’s no harm reiterating it here because the specifics below pertain to the street-available variety.
They are made with bleached maida
Momos are made with maida (refined flour) which is the starchy part of the grain after the removal of its fibrous bran. Then, it is bleached with chemicals like Azodicarbonamide, chlorinegas, benzoyl peroxide, or other bleaches. Maida has also been suspected to contain traces of alloxans, a chemical that gives it the soft, refined texture.
Bleaching chemicals that are added to maida cause much harm to the pancreas, affecting its insulin-production ability. In fact, these bleaching agents are used to make diabetes occur in rodents for laboratory testing.
Alloxans are also harmful to pancreas and are responsible for causing insulin-dependent diabetes.
Their ingredients are mostly stale/of poor quality
The vegetables and chicken used inside momos are stale or of a very poor standard. In fact, most of the chicken products that you get at unhygienic, cheap outlets test positive for E. coli bacteria, a powerful toxin that can cause severe illnesses.
Momo-chutney is too spicy
For the most part, red chillis are good for your health, that is, if they are not processed chilli powders. However, one cannot be sure about the quality used by local momo-vendors. Also, an over-consumption of spicy foods is suspected to cause bleeding hemorrhoids or piles.
It may contain faecal matter
A study by Institute of Hotel Management, Catering and Nutrition, Pusa, showed that Delhi street food – particularly samosas, golgappas, burgers and momos – contained faecal matter much beyond the permissible coliform levels (2400MPN against 50MPN). These pathogens included bacillus cereus, clostridium perfringens, staphylococcus aureus, and salmonella species. These are responsible for diarrhoea, abdominal cramps, typhoid and even, food poisoning.
If you are consuming enough fiber in your diet that you can easily afford eating junk once in a while, then you may go ahead and have your momos’ platter but if it’s your go-to food at least thrice a week, it is time you bid farewell to this habit. Although, all the street foods are harmful to your health, momos topped the list here because of a combination of all the wrong reasons. If you are still a fan and cannot do without them, make them at home and try to use a fibrous cereal and fresher vegetables in the stead.
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