Just Noodling

Nissin’s Pani Puri Flavour Cup Noodles

11:09 AM

Nissin is the apparently the original brand of Ramen noodle and has been founded in Japan in 1958 by Dr Momofuku Ando if what is written on the pack of noodle is right.
I knew the Nissin Cup Noodle from back home, my dad used to store some of these on our sailboat, because they have a long shelf life, and when you are on rough water (and the lake of Geneva can be VERY rough at times) you might not want to go into cooking something too fancy should you be stuck in a harbour, or in the middle of a regatta during which hunger pangs strike. For that cup noodles come very handy, because all you need is to boil water, pour it in the cup and close the lid, wait for 3 minutes and enjoy. The one we had the most often on the boat was the Shrimp variety and till date every time I see a pack of Cup Noodles it reminds me of rainy boat weekends being stuck in the cabin and slurping warm noodles…the ultimate boat comfort food!
Now I suspect that Shrimp might be one of the variant that are part of the original Japanese range, but this one below sure isn’t:

DSC02285
Yes you are reading right, it’s PANI PURI noodles! Now for the non initiated Pani Puri is a classic Indian street snack, which in it’s original form is a golf ball size fried crunchy puffed ball of dough that has been filled with a mix of chickpea and water flavoured essentially with coriander and cumin, it is prepared fresh at the stall, and the vendor prepare one ball at a time which you put whole in your mouth and crush releasing the sour tangy water stored in it. This is by far my favourite street snack (and I’ll have to do a blog post on snacks or  chaat as we call them).
So back to our noodle, according to the pack they are to be pani puri flavoured, minus the fried dough balls which obviously are substituted by noodles. And it is a purely desi variant of the ramen noodles of course, probably made for the Indian market, and yup made in India as the label on the cup mentions (the manufacturing plant is in Bangalore apparently). The price of a cup containing 50g of noodle is 18 rupees, again not something to break the bank as it is the case with most noodles (imported ones included).

So I decided to try after having a noodle craving at 10pm last Monday (had a busy day hosting a kitty party at home, and cleaning up afterward) Ishita was in bed, and I just about needed a soothing treat, and as mentioned before, cup noodles have that effect on me.
When I opened the pack, there was no surprise, in true blue Nissin Cup Noodle style the noodles in there are mixed with the taste maker and have a lot of dehydrated full veggies and stuff bit (in the Shrimp version back home you even find full dehydrated shrimps), in this version the dried up thingies are bits of coriander leaves and chickpeas quite obviously. When I stuck my nose into it it had practically no smell, which left me highly skeptical about the quality of the finished product. I went ahead, boiled my water and poured it in.
What happened when the water hit the noodles was an explosion of scent hitting my nostril…the pani puri aroma was indeed there, full blast and multiplied. So much so that waiting the 3 minutes it takes for the noodles and tid-bits to rehydrate themselves seemed like an eternity.

Taste wise, the noodles are far exceeding my expectations, I wasn’t expecting much to begin with, because frankly a lot of the international products that have been somehow desified to appeal to the local market seem to fall short, either because the company has not much idea of what the local spice palette taste like, or they make disastrous combination of taste and textures.
But this one doesn’t disappoint, far from it. The taste is a bit spicier than your average pani puri, but doesn’t miss the tang and sour that makes this street chaat so distinctive. What’s more, the taste is good from the moment the noodles hit your tongue, until much much much after you gulped down the last drop of soup. There is no odd after taste that will urge you to just get another fork full in your mouth, and because the taste remains a pleasant constant in your mouth the whole time, this is one serving of noodle you eat slowly and savour.
And savouring noodles is definitely something I look for in ramen noodles. Because let’s not forget that they are essentially starchy carb and fat with little nutritional value. What I like in Cup Noodles soups is that first the weight is 50g of dried material, which is almost half what all the other packs have. And when you look at the calorie count written on the pack which as a standard list the nutritional value for 100g you just half all the numbers which now brings you to this nutritional value per cup:

- Calories 214
- Protein 4.2g
- Carbohydrates 32.5g
of which sugar: 3.4g
- Fat 7.5g

Which makes a whole lot of difference when you consider that a pack of Maggi noodle is nearly 500 calories to begin with. The thing being that what is sold as an individual serving of Maggi actually makes two that should be part of a balanced meal, but end up looking ridiculously tiny on your plate if you do so. Cup Noodles is packaged in a way that fools you into thinking you are getting more than you are actually getting, has a lot of water content because it is a soup, and if you decided to call one of these a lunch when served with a freshly tossed green leaf and tomato salad, you end up with a meal that isn’t too catastrophic in the end. And because the taste is so good and lingers in the mouth intact so long, I actually felt satisfied eating just one serving too.
Ishita didn’t get to taste that one, I indulged while she was fast asleep, but DH did take a fork full and said it was better than he thought that would be too. That is one variety of noodles I am likely to buy again, because I just love the taste.

And here is a small bit of info I forgot to write about before hitting send: Thes noodles contains NO MSG so they are safe for those sensitive to ot and small children.

6 comments

  1. Navya1:05 PM

    I have never particularly enjoyed the taste of cup noodles. But your rave review makes me want to try !

    Good Going with this series !!! Before you started your "just noodling" series, I assumed that all the different brands had more or less the same kind of ingredients to suit the indian taste palate, I now realize that there can be such a huge difference in taste from brand-to-brand : like your hubby I have always faithfully bought maggi - it is what I grew up with and usually it is just the atta noodles variety because I can trick my mind into believing it is slightly healthier for me and DH to eat atta noodles ( completely made of wheat? I have not bothered to check the fine print) than the normal one plus the taste maker has some dried veggies making it easier to prepare :D

    As a traditional indian, who falls back on noodles on a tired night or a quick snack say once in two weeks - I have never felt the urge to replace maggi with any of the other options available at the local department store. Why bother to change something that has worked for generations? Thank you for exposing complacent people like me to other brands!! It is about time!

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  2. You know before coming to India I didn't even know there was so many types of Noodles available, because the answer to a tired night in Europe is cook real pasta and open a jar of redy made pasta sauce and reheat in a pan LOL
    Ramen type noodles are an occasional thing to break the boredom of the great pasta cycle back home.
    Not all Cup Noodles variants are good though, I remember tasting a Manchurian Noodle last year when we were moving that left me unsatisfied, but then I have no idea if it was also partly due to the fact last year's relocation was the most draining and I was tired with it all. In order to be objective I'll have to try it again.

    In the Maggi range my favourite is the "Guess the taste" one they had last year, I have no idea if they still do it, I haven't seen it in a while. And yes I think the atta noodles is just a trick to make people think they are eating something healthier, I doubt it's all whole wheat, there might be some atta in it, but that might not be the main ingredient.

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  3. Emma Butler-Dey3:11 PM

    Sounds really good. I will have to try it when I arrive. Just wanted to tell you I read about the Pet Vacations site here on your blog so went to check it out. I saw they have another site called furryflyers which handles import of animals into India and customs etc. We are bringing our two cats with us and I neede to find this exact service. Thankyou again.

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  4. You are welcome :)
    Yes the first time I mentionned petvaccation in 2010 they were still covering everything, and in 2011 when we moved again they created the furryflyers site and moved all the air travel infos they had on their first site there, this is a very good informative website, I'm glad you've been able to find my old entries to get the infos :)

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  5. Emma Butler-Dey8:14 PM

    Yes I have read your whole blog now, took me about 3 days, reading when I had spare time.

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  6.  Wow that is a lot of reading, I am impressed :) There are about 450 entries and nearly 8 years of writting there. Some of the old ones are full of typos that makes me shudder re-reading them.

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