Monday, May 09, 2005

There's Something about Maggi

Last night I dreamt of Maggi. Twisted yellow curlicues floating in a viscous brownish sauce. Ideally consumed without peas or carrots or other sidey attempts at adding on "nutrition". What Maggi does best is fill tummies, especially the kind that are perennially growling - in hostels.

Maggi's ads always feature mummies and bachchalog but I bet a good deal of their sales come from hostel junta tired of aloo in its nth incarnation. If you've ever been subject to the vagaries of a hostel "mess" (which is what the food tastes like!), you'd agree Maggi is a gourmet option.

It says "noodles" right next to "2 Minutes" on the jhataak yellow pack but that's not strictly true. Maggi is Maggi and dhabas outside engineering hostels take pains to specify that on their menu.

BITS Pilani makes a mean Maggi (with paneer), guaranteed to warm you up on a chilly desert night. Inmates of Sophia college hostel have been known to make Maggi on an electric iron coz that's the only instrument they have to "cook" with. So you see, Maggi is a sort of institution, despite the fact that they remind some people of what earthworms would look like swimming in garam masala!

Kuch ho gaya hai
The reason I'm inspired to write this ode is the recent introduction of Maggi "vegetable atta noodles". I tried them out recently and must say - they are surprisingly good.

I use the word 'surprisingly' because in the past the makers of Maggi have introduced several extremely sad line extensions. Such as: tomato flavour (yuck!) and chocolate flavour (yuckier!!). Brief abominations which the general public may not remember but I am alive to testify they did happen.

Both were good 'ideas' probably thrown up during focus group discussions with housewives. They just didn't taste good. Or go with the concept of noodles. The chocolate flavour, when cooked, was about twice as gross as Shefali Zariwala's post Kaanta Laga video.

Then, they introduced a 'Chinese' variant. Which was not all that bad except it was rarely available and had to be cooked differently (you boil the noodles and then add the tastemaker and some orange coloured oil).

I don't think think Maggi Chinese quite took off. It became one of those novelty products you try once but then don't like enough to keep buying.

People who really wanted 'Chinese' bought hakka noodles. And hostelers never warmed to it either.

In the interim the folks at Maggi got paranoid over rival "smoodles" and went and changed the recipe! Crores of rupees were spent to inform consumers they should use "2 cups of water" instead of "1 1/2" while cooking. Maybe the noodles even started tasting better but there was one big problem - it wasn't Maggi anymore!!!

Phir kya hua? They brought back good old as-we-know-it Maggi. Like Coke brought back its original formula. Like Kyunki Saas brought back Mihir. Like Channel [V] brought back Nonie and Trey (OK, they didn't ... but don't you wish???)

Old vs new
The new 'health bhi, taste bhi' Maggi gets my thumbs up as a mom. I'm happy to be able to send Maggi in my daughter's tiffin box once a week without feeling any guilt.

Yes, the atta noodles are more filling and they don't leave an icky yellow residue in the pan. And from a purely taste point of view - they're better.

A whole new generation will probably grow up on atta noodles. But for me, the original 'yellow' Maggi will always be special. Maggi as comfort food. Maggi as a taste and smell which brings back many moods and memories. Maggi when you are starving - and there are no interesting leftovers - at 2 am.

May both continue to prevail!

End of (unpaid) promo.


  1. |can still hear that famous tune... even the nokia phone has it!!

    For sure the good ol' maggie will forever be young. Hostel's and bachelor's will always remember it as the last (favourate) meal to be called for when tired of eating the regular food. I too am happy coz i always had this guilt feeling of MAIDA and had often thought WHY dont they try it in the ATTA form and BINGO they did it!

    Its the same as PAV, now we have JUMBO KING with ATTA PAV! dont know if that segment is really health conscious to pay that extra buck for ATTA PAV than to the regular pav, but m a game for ATTA maggie. Have tried it and as they say M LOVING IT!!!

  2. Anonymous6:08 PM

    man, your post brought on urges to have some Maggi- even though its 8:40 in the morning!


  3. im in a hostel right now,and no they havent started the atta maggi noodles just yet.........hopefully they will--till then its a toss b/w regular maida maggi or koftas or sambar or dal or whatever--u get the drift

  4. as a guy who's had more than his fair share of late night Maggi's, all i hv to say is Amen to tht!!!

    there aint nuthing like it!

  5. Who says one needs water for maggi?In our hostel we used to eat maggi with masala only coz it was tough to get water in hostel at nite 3'o clock when our GR8 RASOIYA's are in KUMBHAKARANI sleep.

    Maggi has positioned itself "BACHON ka DO(Two)Minute wala Food".If they(Nestle) go to their marketing basics,the postioning will be different.

    Guys new idea --- try maggi sandwich,u will enjoy a lot.

  6. Although now I have learnt to cook (I think), Maggi still remains my all-time quickfix snack. Atta-noodles would remove all forms of guilt.

    and hey, you forgot their catchy jingle, "do minute ruk sakte hai, sar ke bal reh sakte hai, Maggi chaiye mujhe abhi."

  7. Hi ...

    Yummy is all I can say...

    Patrix u forgot to complete the slogan...."just magi maggi maggi.."

    And yeah rashmi...I'm sure u direc Nestle to this post and ur Unpaid promos will get taken care off...No I'm not talking abt moolah .but maybe a box of Maggie...

    Keep Cooking...


  8. hey Rashmi,

    boy , can u write bout anything ..Hell ya!

    me and my friends wer discussing da same thing 2day aftrnoon how da MAGGI is a like nectar at 3:00 in the morning when ur stomach rumbles like a hungry tiger frm da so-so movie KAAL

    dont kno if u'll read this but pls send me som tips on how shld i find topics 2 write bout on my own blog. i hav just been puttiin up gud articles and mail dat i get.

    Hope 2 hear frm ya!!

  9. When i think of my campus days,...i immediately think of the night canteen and devouring piping hot "egg maggi" at 1 AM. you're right,...maggi is special. and i loved yr post.

  10. A lot similar case is with me.
    I am a hostelier and illegally(!) cook maggi in my room. One day I bought Atta Maggi along with another standard double pack. I was so overwhelmed by the taste that I actually offered my other wingies to buy the conventional pack from me. They found out the reason and refused!
    I don't know what struck me, but I actually wrote a fan-mail to Maggi about the greatest hit with a punch-line equation:
    "Maggi - Guilt = Atta Maggi"

  11. Anonymous1:06 AM

    sorry but i beg to differ. i absolutely love the maggi tomato noodles. more power to maggi! :-)

    - ess bee

  12. I am on this crazy diet that says 'NO CARBS!' and Maggi unfortunately was an absolute no-no. But then, i discovered Atta Maggi and a happy compromise between lip smacking Maggi times and peer induced weight watching was found!
    It's still not strictly 'no carbs' but this much one can pass off with a wink to one's conscience. After all...bhook lagi hai zoron ki, Maggi chahiye abhi mujhe!

  13. Mmmmmm.....this brings crazy memories..back in scindia girls we used to put noodles in hot water frm geaser (do i hear yuck...?? paapi pet ke liye sab karna padhta hia...:) !!) and will used to mix masala with hands...u could never get tht taste with boiled water...loooved your post...maggi chahiye mujhe abhi !

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