One of the things I am bad at is cooking. While bachelors my age can probably cook a decent meal, all I can cook is instant noodles. 😀 (I shall expect my prospective wife to be good cook, or maybe just hunt down a good and affordable restaurant. I know girls probably expect their husbands to be a good cook these days and write the same in their blog. 😉 I am not visiting such blogs.) Maybe I can boil eggs or make an omelette’s. I can definitely toast bread in my toaster. What more do you need ?
But I must say that I cook noodles pretty decently. Not that there is anything to cook there. Just put it in boiling water add the seasoning, let it simmer for a while and then eat it. (Transferring it to a plate is optional. 😉 ). Some of the popular brands in India are:
Maggi Noodles. (Probably the oldest.) Instant 2 minute noodles.
Top Ramen Smoodles
There are other local brands available, but I don’t like them. I tried it once or twice and didn’t like it at all. (They don’t come with the masala or seasoning.)
Maggi has been a mainstay in Indian market for a long time now. Maggi and Noodles are synonymous. So much so that competing brands named their noodles something else. I know of people who will swear by Maggi. I used to love Maggi myself, but IMHO Top Ramen tastes better. There are many flavors available and “Atta” and “Rice” noodles are available too. I don’t remember how “Atta” noodles tased, but the “Rice” ones are definitely bad!! Stay away from them. They may even make you vomit.
When I was a kid, Maggi meant a lot more than noodles. They had a Maggi Club (Whatever happened of that) and I used to be a member. I even have the membership cards somewhere I guess. The funda is you sent them empty Maggi wrappers and got board games and stuff in return for free. Pretty cool concept eh ? Another thing was the “Maggi quiz“. Though I never won the Maggi quiz, it was always memorable. I still have the participation certificates form my 4th and 5th grade. I made it to the finals twice, but never won!! (The story of my life.)
Top Ramen is another of the major brands in India. I am sure that if someone did a market research they would find that they are second only to Maggi when it comes to market share in Noodles. (I am positive that Maggi is still the market leader.) Their range of smoodles taste pretty good. Actually if I were to compare the taste of Maggi and Top Ramen, it’d be a tough job. (I am a vegetarian and eat only vegetarian flavors. So I don’t know how the chicken noodles and stuff compare across brands.)
Top Ramen Curry Smoodles though, is in a different league of its own. It’s probably the best noodles I have had till date. It has a flat shape compared to the cylindrical noodles. The seasoning is simply amazing!! That coupled with the fact that you have it with gravy translates to “Fa Kin Supa” (Borrowed without permission from Marc’s blog)
The Cup-O-Noodles are equally popular. But crap, they are meant either for travel or when all you have in your house is a electrical kettle or something.
I didn’t know about Wai Wai until a year back when Garima told me about it. It’s slightly different from it’s other counterparts. It can be had either raw (it’s pre-cooked), or it can be made into a soup, or just made into normal noodles. It’s pretty nice. It’s a Nepali brand I guess and is more popular in North-East India and West Bengal (not to be confused with West of india. West Bengal funnily is East of India. That’s because Bangladesh has East Bengal I guess.)
Some tips with making noodles:
In most cases, the garnishing is never enough. So you can add a pinch of pepper and salt for taste.
Never add too little or too much water. It makes it bad. Never pour less water first and then pour some more later. It messes things up bad. (It tastes like….well it doesn’t taste of anything then really)
If you are a novice and think of adding the vegetables they show you on the cover, you better add very little quantity, boil them before you get started with the noodles (or the vegetables won’t get cooked) and add some more salt and pepper.
Best vegetables to add would be onion and carrot. (Easily cooked.) Beans and Peas take a longer time to get cooked. (Although cabbage is added in restaurants, I normally don’t use cabbage in my noodles.)
Make sure the water is boiling before the noodles is in it. Then follow instructions.
The seasoning powder is tricky. It’s supposed to be added at the end. What normally happens is when you put the powder in, it forms globules and gets attached to localised regions in the vessel. (I am an Engineer 😉 …what it means is that, its not uniformly mixed. So its always a better idea to put the powder in a glass, add a little water to it and mix it before pouring the same into the already cooking noodles.
Water makes a huge difference. I learnt this the hard way. Even if you get everything else right, unless the water is soft, the noodles will end up bad. (Don’t ask me why. I don’t know.) So I always use water from the water filter.
I guess that’s about it. Happy cooking….