Tuesday, October 09, 2007


Neither the fever, nor the sneezing ceased the last few days. Nose blocked, taste buds redundant, appetite missing, the last thing I wanted to do was to scratch my head over what to feed my empty stomach that would be fast to cook as well as good to eat. And I knew exactly what I wanted to eat. 

My association with Maggi dates back to early childhood. Eating Maggi was never really a tradition in the family, unless you had fever and did not want the usual rice and lentils and curry. The day after my 5th birthday, I was diagnosed with jaundice. I was thrilled to bits when dad had bought me 40 packs of Maggi from the wholesaler. Those were the days when you bought 10 packs and got one of those cars free, the ones akin to Hotwheels that you’d push backwards and watch it zoom with speed. I still have those cars back at home.

Maggi costed four rupees back then. When I left India, I think it was somewhere close to rupees 12. Over the last few decades, prices jumped multiple times, new flavors were introduced (we had only Chicken and Masala back then), and so were multiple packs of twos, fours, and sixes. The taste and the quantity went down a bit too, but who cares? It is Maggi after all. One look at the yellow packet with the pic of the yummy noodles, and fever be darned. Whoever had this concept of instant noodles, it defied the concept that tasty food was time consuming and difficult to make. Boil some water, throw some vegetables, throw the noodles, put 90% of the taste maker (you keep the 10% to later dip your fingers into and lick from), boil it, and here it goes. With time, I devised newer concepts to make it yummier. I realized that adding a few drops of oil to the water prevents the noodles from sticking. Throw in some vegetables, salt, and pepper to prevent drowning in guilt. Add some extra water if you have a sore throat and want some extra soup. Put a little garam masala powder for an added flavor. I am sure there are people like me who never cease to experiment with Maggi.

At school, mom always packed me proper food for lunch. Roti. Parathe. Curry. Vegetable fried rice. Yet I envied those friends whose moms packed them Maggi, which by then would have gone cold and gooey. I would look greedily at those friends whose moms had no time to cook proper food, and just boiled a pack of instant noodles for them.

Maggi is to instant noodles what Cadburys is to chocolates. There have been competitors, other brands, better deals. Top Ramen, cup noodles. Yet nothing has ever tasted quite like Maggi. Occasional Maggi dinners were like treats for me and my sister. And while I finished off my meal within minutes, I would constantly eye my sister's dinner and tell her, “I think you are full. I think you are done”. She used to be a slow eater, and after an hour when she could eat no more, I would still hungrily finish off leftovers from her plate, all licked clean and dry. Since Maggi dinners were only occasional, I dreamt of earning a lot someday and buying all the packets of Maggi that I could afford, eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

The craziness left me, but the effect remained to such an extent that every time I visit the Indian stores here (which is quite far and I need a ride to get there), I sniff and hoard on Maggi. No tomato, I love only the chicken and the masala flavors. Have fever? Boil a maggi. Have exams the next day and no time to cook? Boil a maggi. Craving for some Chinese food but you neither have the usual noodles nor meat? Put lots of vinegar and soy sauce and make a psedu-Chinese dinner with Maggi. Not feeling like eating rice or roti? Eat a maggi. Such is the extent to which Maggi is used in my kitchen.

The water has boiled and my dinner is ready. Fever is not that bad a thing after all, provided you get to have Maggi.



~Nayan~ said...

what about the chicken recipe.. :((
I am eagerly waiting for the post :D

Tanmay said...

Just in case you haven't tried:
1. make maggi with very less water, and sprinkle with black pepper. This is what is sold in IITB's nescafe stall. They also sell maggi bonda- similar to the patato one but filled only with maggi.
2. try eating maggi with imli sauce.
3. Try Jaljeera powder along with maggi mix.
4. Make egg scramble separately, cut and fry some chicken sausages, and add it to the maggi.
5.Try the atta maggi variety- better from a health perspective (if you care:)

Adarsh said...

hmmm........ yummiieeeee :)

Raj said...

I have loved Maggi since my childhood days too. Its also one of the very few things I can cook.

And the Maggi in the picture looks delicious :)

- Raj

naween said...

get well soon, maggi-lover :)!!

tetracyclops said...

oye add butter to the boiling water just before tastemaker and the noodles would still not stick on to the bottom.. i could have used oil, but butter is more readily available for a bachelor like me.

unfortunately, maggi is also one of the very few (maybe two three more) which I can cook. I love the recent addition Rice noodles as well, they smell and taste almost like Shahi Pulao as they advertise!

Whenever we meet in the next 15 years (I would be 40 and off limits beyond that), just get me your version of the dish!

Vivek said...

I get you more maggi packets and you give me those cars :)

syrals said...

I never knew there could be maggi lovers like me who can crave for it so much. Despite the high sodium content (Bah! do I really care?), I still go and buy it from the Indian stores out here. :P Cheers to Maggi Noodles!

KP said...

Indian style maggie....first time..looks good....i want some...plz pass it on.....:)

the cloud with the bronze lining said...

heya nice blog.. i used to love maggi .. but left it around 4 yrs back..
ps: chk out my blog sometime too

Himank Sharma said...

Mmmmmm... Maggi... Just looooove it... Whoever first made it must be give a Nobel prize... Even in my home there used to be restrictions on the no of Maggi packets i can have.. But since i came to hostel... Whenever i go home, i just have maggi and namkin senwai (if u know what it is)for my dinner each and every day and sumthimes lunch too...Jus luvvvv it... :)

M said...

The fact that its ready in 2mins makes it all the more tastier :-))

Maggi ki jai!

srikant said...

your blog brought down the yummie taste of maggi and has got my taste buds alive.....so its surely a maggi festival for me tonight ....
hints: If yu aint vegeterian .....add some small pieces of minced fried chiken with vegetables ...it will taste awwsome :)

cliche said...

what abt the calories?????????????????????

sunshine said...

nayan- yes yes I am working on it. For me, it is easier to cook than to write a food blog post.

tanmay- You know what? Ever since I have read your comment, the word maggi bonda is haunting me. I HAVE TO have it the next time I can. Waise your other recipes too sound very yummy !!!

adarsh- :) bas 2 minute !!

raj- hehe, thank you.

naween- :) thank you.

tetracyclops- oh wow shahi pulao? And yeah, would definitely love to meet you in the next 15 years (?). But cook you maggi when we meet? hehe.

vivek- hehe, ghar mein pade hain, ab to there is no one to play with them.

sunshine said...

syrals- Cheers to Maggi noodles :)

kp- hehe.

the cloud with the bronze lining- :)

himank sharma- yeah I know what it is, but whenever you go home, you just have maggi? Why on earth?

m- I agree.

srikant- fried chicken? How come I never thought of that before?

cliche- as if I care :)

Goli said...

I remember that we had to cut those maggie labels from wrappers and send it and we used to get some goodies in return. I remember that I used to trade those labels in school with friends, just to get some goodies from Maggie.

Shantanu said...

Maggi still functions as an emergency staple at home. And our 4-year old loves it too! Recently when I was in Switzerland I thought it will be a good idea to try Maggi in the home of Nestle (makers of Maggi) and gleaned an interesting fact: Maggi is their most customized product, a different version in most countries.

Ravemz said...

it tastes good sunshine :)

@Goli - I am one of those crazy little kid. I remember, you need to send 5 cuttings of 2 minute logo from the maggi wrappers, and then you get lots of free mags, cars, games. I dont know why they stopped :)

rajiv said...

working late nights in labs left me with no option other than cooking for myself and the quickest one was maggi now it has becum a starter for me.