Just Noodling

10:34 AM

Ramen noodles! We all know them, chances are we all had them at least once in our life, mostly likely during our students day, because these individual packs of instant noodles are cheap and easy to fix.
Back home they were the stuff from the Asian products aisle in the supermarket, they were imported from China or Hong Kong and they tasted yummy, They were of course not a staple in the Swiss diet and definitely not part of my culture, so the choice was limited, but with 4-5 basic flavours I was fine.

What I found funny coming to India is how much these noodles are part of ones buying habit. You find a lot of brands and flavours, and for a country that I associated more with spicy food in gravy that was puzzling to say the least.
Ramen noodles are Japanese, and have version of them in China, where noodles are common, but India?
The one that started it all is Maggi with its 2 minutes noodles. Maggi which ironically is a Swiss based brand known for it’s instant soups and sauces in the homeland. I have never even seen Maggi Noodles in Switzerland, I didn’t even know they did them, they sure didn’t do pasta either.
But Maggi Noodles, or Maggi for short have invaded every corner of the subcontinent, you will find them everywhere, including on the snow slopes in Manali where locals will cook them on the spot for you on a mobile cooking cart. I don’t think I have been in a single home where there isn’t at least one pack of Maggi in the kitchen ready to use for a quick meal or snack.

This has prompted me to go and review all the different type of noodles you find on the market, not just the good ole Maggi in all its avatars, but other local brands, or international ones, if it is noodle I will test it at one point or another, I have a happy assistant would will be glad to help too, she calls them “Gaggi” regardless of the brand, and because most of these noodles have around 400 calories for a pack, it makes sense to split it in two (some brand actually tell people it makes for 2 servings).

So first thing first, let’s review the Original shall we?

Maggi Masala! The name could not scream India any louder, the taste is the perfect blend of spicy, not too hot to please those with sensitive taste buds, but still with enough tang to it to suit the Indian palate. It’s the one that started it all 25 years ago, the one you will find everywhere, the one food that is likely to unify all of India. From North to South and East to West, this is a household name. Some pimp it with veggies, other douse it in tomato ketchup, some like it plain…it’s vegetarian and it can be seasoned with just about anything.
Don’t be fooled by the tag line “Taste Bhi. Health Bhi” (tasty and healthy), it sure is tasty enough, but it is definitely NOT healthy, no matter the claim and the added calcium and protein, and indulgence? I’ll give you that, but better not to make it an everyday thing, plain old pasta pack less calories per 100g than the 80g pack of Noodle does.
Maggi Noodles are also the most starchy of all the brands out there, if you leave them out too long after cooking, or refrigerate the leftovers, they coagulate into a less than appetizing goo.
The masala version exist in individual packs, 4 packs, 6 packs, 8 packs and even “chota pack” (half the portion size of the individual pack).

Frankly over the years this grew to be my least favourite brand, if I am going to indulge in a guilty pleasure of junk food, I want the texture and taste to please me better, and now with all the choice there is in this department, I am more likely to sink my teeth in something else.
We still buy them, because DH loves them (he grew up with them), but even Ishita prefers other brands and flavours.

So with this first post a new label is born: Just Noodling, I will gradually post about what’s out there in the Ramen world in India.


  1. Ronda Classified2:08 PM

    Hi from the USA! I have been lurking and reading your blog a long time now...I LOVE the new layout. I am excited to see your reviews of noodles. I have a special love for ramen,  I can still remember the first time I ever had it!
     Your kiddo and fur baby (dog) are adorable. I am glad to see that some people there treat pets well. I am a pet lover, I have 3 cats and a grey squirrel.
     I love learning about the everyday life of other cultures, and with your blog I get Swiss and Indian.

  2. Apparently these instant 'ramen' noodles are 'flash fried' which adds all the calories. Then add about 2,400mgs to 3,000mgs of sodium in one of those little flavor packets and 'voila!' you have oily, salty empty calories!
    My favorite is the Korean 'Nong Shim' potato noodles- they have a 'chewy' texture. But the kids & I are only allowed to eat them when we are sick.
    Sprite + instant ramen noodles = instant rehydration + restoration of electrolyte balance
    (and they're easily digested too)

  3.  I'm not sure what is happening with the comments :( but for some reason on the new layout they are showing in white on a white background, I am doing everything I can to get that fixed. Bear with me.

  4.  Wew, I'm getting it fixed, so now I can reply to comments :)
    Yes Ramen noodles are full of oil and have a high sodium content, whcih definitely is the opposite of healthy. They do wonder when you feel crappy though.
    As my Grand ma says : "Everything in moderation...including moderation is the way to go" .

  5.  Thanks for the compliment Ronda, I'm glad you love reading my blog and love the new layout. I'm still working out a few glitches on it with the comment section, hoping to have Disqus look normal soon again.

    I grew up with 3 cats, I always wanted a dog, but my parents were against it, because they didn't want to end up being the ones walking the pet all the time. That was a wise decision from them I must say, we used to groan when asked to empty the cat's litter box, so I can only imagine how my sister and I would have felt being on doggy duty as teenagers.
    Our dog jasmine, is a spoiled rotten doggy who enjoy a life of coziness, she is almost 6 years old now, and finally gets how awsome it is to simply sleep in in the morning :)

  6. I spent 2 hours trying to fix this Disqus appearance thing, so far the tool bar at the end of a comment where you have the option to like, and reply is still appearing in white on white background.
    It is still there, you will need to highlight it with your mouse to see it. I am still trying to figure it out, if there are some friendly geeks out there reading this, please enlighten me in a layman language. I just want to find the CSS code to override this specific issue, not spruce up the whole way Disqus look, no width fixing, no hiding the toolbar, no nothing, just get the code for the links to show in the right color.

  7. Raami8:56 PM

    Cyn, here I buy 4 single small Maggie Noodles for just $1.  I couldn't believe when I saw this price last year!!!  Cheapest and fastest to make :)
    And yes Raami loves Maggie with veggies and so do I :-)

  8. Ishita like it plain, veggies are the enemy it seems, she will agree to tomato sauce and veggies in italian pasta, but not in maggi noodles.

  9. :) Here, Raami won't eat without veggies specially peas and carrot!! You need to search maggie noodle in the veggie forest :D 

  10.  you need to send Raami over there so he can give Ishita a lesson about how good vegetables are for you


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