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The Old Vs. New - Momos

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By Author: Gayatri Tampi
Total Articles: 12
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Even a glimpse of your favourite little dough wrapped snack paired up with a drink of your preference makes your day. Widely regarded as the ultimate comfort food by many, and we completely agree with them as well. The only confusing part would be figuring out the origins of this 14th-century dish, between Nepal and Tibet. Ladakh, Darjeeling, Dharamshala, Sikkim Delhi and other several parts of North-East India have momos as a part of their staple diets, widely found and consumed at every corner of their streets. Historians believe that Tibetans came to India in the 1960s and settled in these locations. And as it turns out, they brought their culture and as well as the symbol of their cuisine. These cities and states have become cultural hotspots for the dish we all know and love. And as time passed, the delicious dish trickled down to other parts of the country, becoming the much-loved soul food for so many of us.

The most authentic form of momos has been the steamed ones, or in a soup form called thukpa. The idiom ‘Old is Gold’ does apply here, but we have seen attempts to switch it up over the past few years. ...
... These modifications and local renditions are quite popular in their regions, but like any new version of the thing, they seem to upset the momo purists who always believe that the original is best. And we don’t blame them. Momos for most people is an emotion. It is attached to their childhood, their culture, their upbringing, all in all, their entire lives. Imagine if somebody took the age-old vada pav recipe and tried to change it, it would infuriate the people of Mumbai and Maharashtra as well. Why would anybody try to change something that’s already perfect? It is the thoughtless experimentation that upsets us. Going in there with no plan whatsoever just to serve something different sounds insulting to both the dish and the cultural cuisine it belongs to.

You’ll find multiple such concoctions, each particularly popular in their respective regions. Some put noodles in their chicken momos as stuffing, some have created momo desserts filled with cakes and drenched in chocolate sauce. People have even taken up different cooking styles, frying them or even throwing them into the tandoor. While a lot of them actually taste good, it does sound like they’re trying to kill the authenticity of the dish and damage the essence. And once the dish loses that, it’s got nothing else.

To keep the age-old recipes intact for the later generations is a must. You really don’t want them to go extinct, or rather get replaced with something that’s not even close to the original. With it, you’re not only preserving a combination of flavours, but also the culture and the essence of what makes the dish.

Then again we’re not saying never change the dish no matter what. If that were the case, we would still be drinking simple broth as meals and our food would remain bland. You need to find the right balance between the old and the new. Make it yours, while keeping the authenticity of the dish intact, and you unlock a world full of possibilities. What you need to know about consumers is that they like to try new things and experiment, but without losing touch with the things they already like. Finding the right balance is key when it comes to recreating a dish and adding your own style to it. As they say, if you’re going to do it, do it right. The original classics will never go out of fashion when it comes to food, so might as well just add on a little to it and make it worth the effort.

The current momos are all getting a few healthy twists to them as well. Let’s be honest with ourselves, momos are not the healthiest thing in the world, so making them healthier might be a step in the right direction when it comes to experimentation. Using wheat, buckwheat and finger millet over regular flour or maida to make the dough for the momos is a great alternative. You can also find ready to eat momos pre-packaged and delivered to you, like frozen meats. Buying momos online is a new craze that’s been taking over, where you can make your momos without the annoying and tedious prep work. The current health-based interpretations of momos are a great sign of what the future holds for this North-Eastern delicacy.

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