I know that Maggi is a brandname by Nestle which has stocks, noodles, soups, ketchups and what-not under it’s shadow. But to any Indian born in the 70s and 80s, Maggi simply signifies the instant noodle cakes which were an intrinsic part of their childhood. Originally available in 2 classic flavours, Chicken and Masala, the product has now diversified into fancier types I don’t even want to get into.
Growing up, our house was a no-junk-food home. We never had bottles of cola, packets of chips or instant noodles lying around the house. We survived on good healthy meals and ate everything laid on the table without argument.
Despite this, I never remember having cravings for chips and colas. The only thing I yearned for, and cooked + ate in secret were Maggi Noodles in Masala Flavour! The 2-minute noodles (as they are advertised) actually take about 7-10 mins from start to finish, i.e. if you prepare them the classic way without added vegetables!
To my dismay, my college canteen (cafeteria) didn’t serve Maggi, which was a staple at every other college canteen in Delhi! I would look forward to visiting friends in other colleges just to sample the Maggi in their canteen.
As a healthy eating adult, I laid down conscious boundaries for myself regarding Maggi,
thanks to it’s high MSG content and pure refined & bleached flour constitution because I have no real self control when it comes down to it, and my head insists that too much processed food is a big NO! I don’t stock it at home and never give in. (Update: Anita Oomen from Nestle’s test kitchen confirmed that Maggi Noodles do NOT contain any MSG and this can be verified by checking the ingredient list on the pack. Read comment trail below for the conversation between Anita & I).
But a road trip anywhere brings out the yearning for Maggi! And somehow, the guys in little tea and Maggi stalls make it the best. With the perfect moistness, without making it watery. And without vegetables to give it the illusion of being healthier than it is.The best Maggi that I have ever had is on the Khardung La (Khardung Pass) in Ladakh. It is the highest motorable pass in the world at more than 18000 ft. I doubt the preparation was any different, but the entire experience of the location and not being allowed to stay there more than 15 mins (because of the low oxygen density) gave it an amazing flavour!
Here’s AK at K-top as Khardung La is also called, making the most of the mobile network we got for 2 minutes in the 3 days we were on that circuit!
Anyway, back to Maggi – Recently, I gave in at the Chennai airport Maggi stall. It looks sanitized with the paper plate instead of a steel one, but it was every bit as delicious as any college-canteen-Maggi! I promise!
Oh Maggi! You make my knees go weak…