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posted 22 Jul 2012, 01:25 by olnf Admin
Author: Sudeep Jaiswal

Since the beginnings of mankind, man has had to adjust, sacrifice and basically be at the mercy of nature. He strived hard to provide food, shelter and warmth for himself and his family. The will to lead a better life and make the best of a bad situation lead him to innovate and make discoveries. Today, we don’t realize the value of basic needs until we are deprived of them; we take them for granted. Food is one such thing. It was a food shortage in Japan after World War II that resulted in the birth of instant noodles. Noodles have existed for centuries, but the ‘2-minute’ kind everyone loves now was the brainchild of Momofuku Ando, founder of Nissin. Next time you open a pack of noodles, remember the name.

Even though the technically correct term is noodle(s), I have a habit of calling it Maggi (which also happens to be the surname of the founder of the original company). Also, I call the noodle cakes slabs. Bear with me.

This article wasn’t supposed to be about history, and it won’t be. It’s about how we prepare Maggi, Curry or any other brand of instant noodles. I personally like Maggi without any vegetables. Even if you prefer it with vegetables, it doesn’t matter because you have to prepare both things separately and mix them afterwards. The method on the pack says to break the slab into four pieces and add them with the masala (tastemaker) into boiling water. Variations can be applied to this method. You could not break the slab at all and cook very long Maggi. You could put the ingredients first and then start boiling the water. I don’t know anything about the science of cooking but I think it can make a difference.

The methods of preparation I have observed revolved generally around these things. I used to make long Maggi and tended to leave it slightly raw and dry-ish. I have seen that some like it watery. Since I can’t be bothered to measure the recommended amount of water needed to cook Maggi, I have always done it by estimation. Of course whilst cooking, one can notice if more water is needed and steps can be taken to remedy that. But sometimes one could be too late and some Maggi would invariably stick on the pan. Sometimes, one might add too much water which would dilute the masala, even rendering the result tasteless. One method I came to know was to add salt and red chili powder whilst cooking, enhancing the taste. You can, of course add them after you have finished cooking but the difference in taste will be apparent to you.

If you have ever eaten Haldiram’s Bhel Puri, you know that the pack contains a packet each of red and green chutneys. Since I don’t handle too much spice very well, I only use half of each for one packet of bhel. I put these half packets in the fridge, where I have found that they can last for months. Once, I got the idea of enhancing the taste of Maggi by adding these chutneys. I decided that meant I wouldn’t need salt and red chili powder and I added the chutneys whilst cooking, mixing them thoroughly. It tasted amazing and became a habit whenever I had those chutneys at my disposal.

My father once received an e-mail which said that Maggi slabs are coated with wax, which melts when boiling. It further said that it made the thing toxic and was even carcinogenic (I believe). In my years of cooking Maggi, I had noticed that the water whilst boiling turned slightly milky, and my brain quickly jumped to the conclusion that that had to be the wax. The e-mail seemed hogwash anyway, but I decided to make Maggi once using the method it suggested; to drain the water after boiling and add fresh water and masala afterwards. My father however recommended adding some oil instead of water. I tried that, keeping the flame on sim so that the Maggi didn’t start sticking on the pan straightaway, giving me enough time to lubricate the whole pan and mix the masala thoroughly. I loved how the masala just got roasted a little and was completely undiluted. Later, I added another ingredient to the concoction.


1. Here’s what you need for the preparation; the small container in front contains oil, that bottle is pizza sauce, and I don’t think I need to explain the bowl with holes

2.  This is what you always do. Just don’t add the masala. The amount of water you take here is immaterial since it would be drained

3. After it has cooked, drain the water

4. I prefer to wash the Maggi further till there is milky water running out

5. Pour some oil in the pan. The quantity is important; you need enough so that the Maggi doesn’t stick on the pan but not too much that you can taste the oil when you eat. I have never used a spoon so I can’t say for sure. Plus, it depends on how many slabs are you cooking. It took some trial and error for me

6. Only now I add the masala and a couple of spoons of pizza sauce and start the flame on sim

7. Mix thoroughly. It can take a while to get this done properly and you need to be careful to not let any Maggi stick on the pan

8. I sometimes stop the flame midway if it’s taking too much time to mix. I prefer warm anyway, not hot

9. Sometimes I take Maggi with ketchup, but mostly without it


I personally like it both ways, with or without pizza sauce. I haven’t yet had the chance to use the bhel chutneys with this method though, but I feel I will like it. I prefer Top Ramen Curry Smoodles (by Nissin) over Maggi though, Curry's masala makes a huge difference in this method; it’s much more tasty than Maggi’s masala. Sometimes I’ll put Maggi between two pieces of bread.

Though I tried this method because I didn’t want to get cancer, I found out later that the e-mail was complete nonsense anyway. Or maybe I choose to believe Nestlé, which owns the Maggi brand, over a forwarded e-mail. Click here to read Nestlé’s response to the e-mail.