Oh festivity and celebration – is what really makes us Malaysians so special as we patiently awaits for it every year. Gathering up at open houses, meeting up some old friends and families. And to gorge on some feasts.
Now ‘satay‘ is always known to be part of this said feast, and always a staple food in Malaysia’s culture – but wait until people are trying to reclaim ‘satay’ are their’s. Ain’t that right Indonesia, and Singapore?
But do you know that this all time favourite meat on a stick, could cause cancer?
THE ‘MAILLARD’ REACTION WHEN COOKING ‘SATAY’
All ‘satay’ needs a good marinate, and people use many different spices to make sure that every bite will drowsed in good flavours. And in these spices will always contained the most important spice of all, sugar.
Whenever any protein – in this case usually either chicken or beef, cooked in sugar, there’s a chemical reaction called the Maillard reaction.
As scary as it sounds, this chemical reaction is actually widely use by all cooks as it is the browning process of preparing foods. It’s actually a no stranger to us. If there’s a plate of a good-brown-looking roasted chicken, compared to a pale-looking-boiled chicken – well, we all know which one would we pick.
HOW DOES THIS CAUSE CANCER?
So whenever a Maillard reaction occurred, a chemical is form during high-temperature cooking process called Acrylamide – and this is what causes cancer for human. Acrylamide also links to diabetes and heart diseases if to take it constantly.
International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has confirmed that Acrylamide is belonged to group 2A of probable carcinogen – meaning it’s a big probability to trigger cancer.
A study has been made with rats shown that when they’re exposed to too much of Acrylamide, it will have high chances of cancer – those poor tiny rats.
SO, WHAT SHOULD WE DO?
To be honest, there’s nothing much we can do. Living here until today we have seen a lot of research has been done to identifies many things that we have done, or eat, are actually bad for us.
For instance, we cannot stop anyone from eating ‘satay’, but always be minded to not taking too much of it, and to balance it with a proper diet.
We also have heard many times when a new modern scientific research proved that many of the old sayings or advises from our parents, are actually true.
So maybe in this case, the old tell-tales-tips from our parents and, from their parents before that; to always takes your ‘satay’ with a side of cucumber, could be the key to avoid getting cancer while enjoying the succulent meat.