Saturday, May 03, 2008

Blast from the Past

As far as I am concerned, April showers bring May allergies! I'm taking a break from my relentless high-decibel sneezing, eye-rubbing and nose-blowing (yeah, it's real attractive) to bring you a childhood favorite. There are times when I am simply a slave to the taste memories of my past and this is one of them- Maggi instant noodles (cousins of Ramen) stir fried with tons of vegetables.

Nestle launched Maggi noodles in India sometime in the 80s, and they were marketing geniuses- they launched their campaign by giving away trial packs of these noodles to schoolchildren right in their classrooms! Marketing to kids- the same tactic that the tobacco people know and love and have honed to perfection, although perhaps it is slightly less morally reprehensible when it comes to instant noodles. One day, I remember going home with a bright yellow pack of Maggi and for better or for worse, these slippery spicy noodles are an undeniable part of my childhood memories.

This recipe is something my mother would make as a treat for us once in a while. We would come home famished after an hour at the public swimming pool and warm stir-fried Maggi would be waiting on the stove even though my mother had already left for work by then. This is a good example of how potential nutritional disasters such as instant noodles can be averted by the addition of enough wholesome vegetables.

Nearly Instant Vegetable Noodles

(serves 2-3)
2 packs Maggi noodles with Masala seasoning
1-2 t oil
3-4 spring onions/scallions/greens onions cut into 1-inch pieces (keep white and green parts separate)
1-2 C cabbage, shredded thinly
1 large carrot, cut into thin slices (a mandoline works well for this)
1 poblano pepper (tastier choice) or green pepper (milder choice), cut into thin strips
1 T soy sauce
Black pepper, freshly ground

1. Boil 3 cups of water and add the noodles (set the seasoning packs aside) for a minute. Drain the noodles and set them aside. Save a bit of the cooking water.
2. Heat the oil. Saute all the vegetables (except the green parts of the spring onions) on medium-high heat until crisp-tender.
3. Stir in the seasoning mix, soy sauce and a few grinds of black pepper. Between the soy sauce and the seasoning mix, you should not need any more salt.
4. Toss with the cooked noodles and some of the cooking water if the mixture is too dry. Garnish with the green parts of the spring onions and serve.

Before you all start rolling your eyes at this low-brow dish I have posted today, let me tell you that this blog has been given the Yummy Blog award by Shubha and Jamie. I want to thank you both for thinking of me!

*** *** ***
Shiny Happy Puppy

Dale is just back from Wolfgang's, after being spotlessly groomed. They use some ridiculously floral shampoo at that place, and Dale comes home smelling of roses! Quite literally. The first day he reeks incongruously of roses, the second day it is a bizarre mixture of rose and dog, and the third day he has the doggy aroma we know and love :D

Enjoy your weekend!


  1. Nupur, take care. Those allergies are no fun.
    My childhood memories are interwined with enjoying them Maggi noodles and an Enid Blyton book :) You made them healthy, will they be a child's favorite anymore ;) just kidding.

  2. Nupur,
    This post brought back a lot of nostalgic memories - for some reason or other, I haven't made instant noodles in ages. I should look for the Maggi brand when I go to the Indian grocery store.

    Every time I see Dale's picture, I long to have a puppy myself. LOL@ Dale smeeling like roses.


  3. You may call it "low brow" but that looks pretty healthy and delicious for an "after school snack!" It is amazing the affinity that children have for seasoned noodles (the photo reminds me of my childhood cravings) and it's so good that your mother enhanced the dish with vegetables! I'm going to look for Maggi noodles.

  4. "Dale comes home smelling of roses! "

    somehow that line made me smile early in the morning itself :)

    U take care and eat well....have lots of soupy food....


  5. can i thank you once more for introducing me to the joys of the maggi?? they're more difficult to find without the indian grocery store across the street - but the search is always worth it. i generally make up the soup as stated, but then throw in some frozen broccoli to cool down the hot soup - and add a little veggie.

    "bizarre mixture of rose and dog" - that sounds hilarious. What does Dalu think of his aroma? what about his friends at the dog-run? Anyways, last point, If Dale ever gets a myspace profile.. this should definitely be his user pic. :>

    love 'ya! -l

  6. What kind of dog is Dale? He looks just like my black greyhound/lab mix and is absolutely adorable! =)

  7. i know marketing to kids is the best..i remem when we got free samples of chips at our was nuts!! and dale smelling of roses on day 1..ooh! how cute!

  8. I love Maggi with veggies & soy! Doggie aroma?! :) You're a dog-mom, N! :) Dale looks handsome as ever!

  9. I love comfort food dishes like this one. Usually the "unhealthy" part of packaged noodles is in the seasoning packet, so I tend to either skip the seasoning entirely, or use just a small bit instead of the full amount. Wouldn't mind a bowl of these noodles for lunch today!

  10. you know I used to so loudly boast that i never suffered from allergies - but last year i started to get allergy symptoms and this year i can oh so relate to all of the allergy cries. a look at this dish though makes me forget it all. i love the way you've used maggi convenience here!!

  11. Hope you feel better soon Nupur. I love Maggi and you're so right, it is indeed a childhood snack that still continues to be a fav of mine! My mom used to serve it with dotted all over the bowl and even now, eberytime I make maggi, I love to drown it in ketchup!

  12. For me, the first experience with Magi was YUCK! slippery, slimy and tasteless ! Can u believe that! I tasted it at a friends who was an expert at burning water (and that is putting it very kindly!) But now I do like it, taste and convenience both!
    Take care of the allergy! It must be so annoying!

    Awww! Dale looks so sweet.. and smells that way too! roses!! LOL!
    Warm Hugs!!!

  13. Maggi noodles are cousins of ramen noodles? Makes sense. What a great simple recipe. And allergies...blech. I started using a neti pot a few years ago which has made a huge difference.

  14. Have Tagged u for a MeMe, if u'd like to play along!

  15. A neat way to eat this maggi noodle, love the recipe.

  16. Hope you are feeling better now.

    As for Maggi, i practically lived on Maggi while in 11th and 12th grades :-D, early '90s :). Maggi Zindabad was my mantra ;). I especially love the Maggi with vegetables like you made. Want to get something off the screen-old memories and good food :). And the guy with blue scarf looks really charming :).

    (But i recall that when Maggi was first launched way back when i was in 7th grade or so it was not good, they improved with time.)

  17. ahh.. allergies... that is not fun, hope you feel better soon Nupur!

    That bowl of maggi looks delicious, I have thought of blogging my way of preparing maggi a lot of times, but I was too ashamed ;) Now you have given me the courage :D

  18. Is there some particular reason you have turned off full feed for your blog? Please turn on as I am using google reader to access u r blog for lazy souls like me


  19. ooh.. I love maggi noodles and cheese.. my brother used to make the best maggi noodles ever.. masala flavor with green peppers, onions and amul cheese.. it was soo good..brings back childhood memories..

    Thanks for a lovely post,

  20. Maggi triggers back so many fond memories. That was the only thing that I could cook without burning anything and my Mom would let me do it lest I chug her brain.
    I love the color of the veggie noodles and take care, girl!

  21. In the last few years Maggi has been in an ongoing effort to churn out 'healthier' maggi :D
    I recently caught this funny (if wierd) ad on youtube for Maggi Dal-atta noodles :


    So sorry I haven't got around to the arusuvai post yet - been crazy busy :(

  22. Indosungod, Maggi and Enid Blyton :D definitely the stuff of my childhood too! You know what, I was a terrible horrible eater but I simply loved the crunchy juicy veggies in this dish...try a little experiment on your kids and see if they like it ;)

    Mamatha, Having a puppy is a lot of work but so rewarding. If you can't bring home a dog, consider volunteering to walk/play with dogs in your local shelter. Or perhaps fostering a dog for the short-term while it finds a permanent home. Puppy lovers are always in demand to take care of rescued pets!

    T. W. Barritt, Oh, it certainly was the most divine after-school/after-play snack :) You are so right, there is something about noodles that makes them just really fun to eat. Do try Maggi noodles and you will be tasting something that a generation of Indian kids grew up enjoying...but they can be addictive (which is bad because they are not particularly good for you), so don't say I didn't warn you :D

    Shn, thank you, my dear :) I am trying to eat healthy although I confess I can hardly taste anything with my congestion.

    l, Oh no, I was like the drug pusher who got you hooked on to Maggi and now you will do anything to get your fix :D but stores on 28th street stock them, and of course, Patel bros. in Jackson Heights.
    Dalu hates getting groomed. He works so hard to cultivate his aroma and then we go and ruin it! I'll e-mail you tomorrow...write me back, will ya?!

    Gelseigh, We don't know for sure what breed he is...he is a mixed breed/mutt but we always thought he is a hound-lab mix. I jumped up when you said that he looks like yours and that yours is a greyhound lab mix!!! Thanks :)

    Rajitha, got chip samples at school...I never did. Not fair :D what is the point of school if not to be a captive advertising audience, right? :D

    Vani, I sure am! Dale says thanks :)

    Lydia, the seasoning packet here is salty as can be but sooo good :D yes, you could get away with using less seasoning. Here the seasoning goes towards salting the veggies as well so I add the whole amount.

    Meeta, yes, seasonal allergies can be utterly miserable. Since I moved to St. Louis, spring has become a nightmare for me. It is very place and time dependent for me.

    Ruchika, ketchup! Yes, there are 2 Maggi camps I think- one camp likes it with ketchup and one without. I am in the latter camp :D although I will admit that I love ketchup dearly and drown many other things in it!

    Manasi, oh really? For me, it was love at first bite :) Dale says hello. Thanks for tagging me but usually I am too lazy to do memes :D

    Mari, the neti pot, you say?! My mom tried very hard to convince me about using it many years ago for my recurrent sinus infections, but I was too squeamish and never did. Now maybe it is a good time for me to give it another try. I am so utterly miserable with these allergies that I am willing to try it :) Thank you so much for sharing this tip, Mari!

    Cham, glad you like it :)

    Musical, back then, it was chicken- flavor Maggi that I would eat and you are right, we did not like the Masala flavor much. I do like the Masala flavor now :) Glad to know you are another old-time Maggi fan!

    Sig, Ashamed? Why, my dear? Just be yourself, that's what I say :) Thanks for the wishes...the allergies will plague me until summer arrives :D

    K, it is a personal preference and I'm afraid it is going to stay that way.

    Priya, now cheese with Maggi is very new to me :) Your brother's creation sounds downright gourmet!!

    Red Chillies, You are so right- Maggi was probably the first thing that so many of us learned to cook- I guess parents were convinced that even we could manage the "bus do-minute" process :)

    AA, that really is weird! Now I think it is just plain silly (and such a clever gimmick) to market Maggi as "healthy". It is junk food, but it is tasty and as far as I am concerned, it is just fine to enjoy it in all its unhealthy glory every once in a blue moon :)

  23. This is just the way I make maggi noodles with veggies. My all time fav. Love the picture. Looks so mouth-watering.

  24. Maggi noodles are the first thing even i was allowed to make on my own, with chopped onions and tomatoes...i wasn't much of a fan of the pain boiled and 'masalaed' maggi is on some top cafes' menus in bombay served Chinese style, arabitta and much more and at a big if they can dress up Maggi so can we :)
    Take care of your allergies dear :)
    BTW i don't remember receiving it in school, how come they missed out ours? ;)

  25. Oh sneeze allergies, Nupur, take care...Loved to read of Dale-Rose! :D
    Hey made me nostalgic wt free maggi sample as I remember clearly, receiving a pack at school, excitedly waiting to eat it cooked, when on my table was put off by the smell, yet had one mouthfull, which came out wt as much speed as it had gone it..yukky it was and went straight to bin..but over the years developed taste for it! Maggi n noodles cos.has to prosper! :D (Why hv u swabbed profile snap wt Dale's?)

  26. Maggi is still a favorite snack ( or sometimes, even Sunday dinner) in my family. My kids love it.
    We love them with some peanuts sprinkled on them :)

    Hope you feel better soon.
    Looks like Dale turned into a Gulab Bhu-Bhu for a while :)

  27. I never did get that ramen noodle craze, but I'll have to watch out for those Maggi noodles - I love the looks of your veggie-enhanced noodles!

    Just talked to Bob and he is suffering from the pollen as well - hope you find relief soon Nupur!!

  28. The 2 minute Maggi noodles sure brings childhood memories. In fact this is the first 'dish' I learnt to cook! And now my six yr old loves this as an after school snack. He loves peas and carrots in it as it looks more colorful.

    Dale sure looks rested,lounging on his favourite rug after a trip to the spa. Love those brown puppy eyes!

    Hope you find relief soon, Nupur. Sending good wishes your way!

  29. As a kid I did not like Maggi. I remember bringing them the trial pack from school and my dad ended up eating them all. But in the present day it is a savior on dreary weekday nights. Thanks for bringing old memories back.

  30. hey Nupur! this post brought back a flood of memories: school where it was maggi + veggies, IIT with its hideous maggi pakoras (which I ate copious amounts of, nevertheless) and UCSD where maggi was elevated to an egg-cheese-noodle casserole! loved your post and am looking forward to giving Dale a belly rub on day 3 :)

    Love, shoots:)

  31. Maggi noodles! This is what I ate when I was living in Bangladesh, on days that I couldn't stand to look at another curry.

    Also, I've tagged you for an award! It's on my site, on the white bean salad post.

  32. That is one colorful treat! :)

  33. Held me over through the lean student years. Dale as usual looks thoroughly delighted at you snapping away the camera in his know that indulgent..if you must...look black labs give.

  34. Oh, yes, those dreaded Spring allergies. My dad paid me a visit a few weeks back and I planned a more elaborate meal. My allergies just happened to flare up that very day. What fun cooking when you have to dash for the kleenex box, wash your hands, attend to your dinner, rush to the tissues, then to the sink and back to your dinner ...

    I might add there is nothing low brow about your noodle dish. Very enjoyable I am sure!

  35. I feel for you, Nupur. My husband had horrible allergies his whole life on the East Coast. Like a miracle, they disappeared when we moved to the West Coast. Maybe a relocation to CA is in order? ;) I love those wiggly maggi noodles too; they look so fun and delicious.

  36. Uma, the picture was taken quite late, after daylight was no more :)

    Nandita, Arabiatta Maggi noodles LOL that is too much! I've never made it with tomatoes and onions...maybe next time :)

    Purnima, oh I loved Maggi right from the was love at first bite ;)

    Anjali, peanuts sprinkled on it...that would give it such a nice crunch! I'm getting new ideas thanks to the comments :) I just hope Dale does not turn "gulabi" one of these days!

    Cathy, I think the ramen noodle craze has everything to do with the fact that you can buy 10 packs for a dollar :D I like Maggi better but really if one is sensible, both are quite avoidable!! Pollen seems to be making everyone crazy these days. I am miserable as can be :)

    Namita, peas and carrots is how they would often feature it on the packs if I remember really is a bright and tasty snack!
    Thanks for the wishes...I hope I feel a little better soon and can get back to blogging more regularly :)

    Cooks, you are right- it is just some dreary nights when Maggi comes to the rescue.

    Shoots, I had completely forgotten about coffee shack as I wrote this post! How could I forget those Maggi pakodas and bondas??? Someday I will make them at home for old times sake :D Thanks for reminding me!!

    Lauren, Thanks for leaving a comment (you have a nice blog!) and for the award :) You lived in Bangladesh?!

    Kalai, yes, it was fun to eat :)

    Bulbul, LOL yes I know "the look" that models always wear. Bored of having people always praising their looks and snapping away at them :D
    Hope you are doing well!

    Lisa, oh dear :( yes, allergies can really ruin a good day. In St. Louis, they ruin a few weeks of the year for me. Must move someplace with less pollen! Hope you are feeling better now.

    Susan, Oh, I wish I could relocate to CA...I'm packing my bags and knocking on your door so you better watch out ;) I had no allergies (or very minimal) on the East coast but here in the midwest they are absolutely killing me.

  37. My comment is missing!! :-(

    I remember the day I got the Maggi packet... I was in Class 2 :-) and my affair began that very day!
    Get well soon

  38. This is my favorite way to prepare maggi. When she brings this to college, we would lick the box clean within the first hour :D. I add garam masala instead of red chilli powder and omit maggi masala.

  39. Oh, Maggi, it makes me think of college. Nice way to make it a little more healthy.

  40. Love Maggie Noodles, had switched to Top Ramen for the last few years. Now I like the new packs.
    This minus the soy sauce & pepper is anither of my kiddos fav lunch :)

    ha, ha Dogs & Roses :-)

  41. Yes, I was in Peace Corps there for a few months before things got to be too unstable. Now I'm finishing up service in Bulgaria, but bdesh (and India, too) are in my bones - I can't wait to go back. One of my Bangla language teachers was named Nupur. :) Where in India is your family from?

  42. I can't wait to try them....ramen noodles can be a comfort food..I get the feeling maggi noodles are more glassy and less porous than ramen? I'm lucky that we have a good Indian grocery store close-by!

  43. Nupur hope you feel better. I also suffered from seasonal alleriges when i moved to florida from NY. Maggie noodles are a constant companian and ever favorite with everyone.

  44. Hi Nupur,

    I hope your hay fever gets better soon -- I know how you feel! Of course we knew these as "top ramen" when we were kids, and I loved them dearly too. Thanks to your version with all the goodness of veggies, I might have to give in and get some maggi brand now. Campbell's used to make a baked version of these noodles and I wish they still did -- I would be having them more often!

    Dale looks beeeautiful as always :)

  45. Hi Nupoor! I'm a student here in the US. Although I cook regularly, it's Bachelor's cooking, so pretty much everything tastes alike :P. I'm so glad that I've stumbled upon your blog. Your recipes remind me of my home and I love the personal touch that you put. Will try to follow your recipes from now on. Keep'm coming.

  46. Aswin has a bad case of allergies Nupur, so I see it from close quaerters! I still enjoy good, hot plate of maggi ever so often.

  47. This seems to be an all time favourite. My daughter loves them so I put in as much vegetable as I can and we are both happy! I have an "all year long" allergy as I'm allergic to dust and smoke and keep sneezing on and off. Commiserations and take care.

  48. Maggie noodles! Man, this is definitely a blast from the past!

  49. Ah, that's so very my kida maggi noodles with loads of veggies in it! And I couldn't help smiling at the thought of your dog smelling of roses!! :)

  50. Nupur - I think this is a great story about product placement - you were hooked for life! I love instant noodles too for the same reasons...
    We will try this out at home.
    Charlotte and Freddie

  51. Ooh! I too remember coming back home with Maggi noodles from school and thus started the craze with noodles which became an obsession during grad school due to lack of both time and money!!!! I still prefer the original Maggi and not the crazy Dal Atta and Sambhar versions they have come up with!


Thanks for leaving a comment- I try to respond to every single one.