Mom had to go to the doctor on that day. And Dad HAD to make just enough food in the afternoon to last us for lunch. And I just HAD to be left alone in the evening with not a grain of cooked rice at sight! (They say I might worsen my mother's condition! *GASP* That's too cruel! Oh well... I might)
And so, after having stared at the ceiling for a good half an hour and having finished watching the First season of Bleach in another hour or so aaaaaaand having listened to the neighbour's grinder grind for yet another five minutes, I decided...I had had enough! I shall NOT starve anymore.
And so, mustering my spirits, I marched to the kitchen. There was nothing there except a lone onion and a pack of Maggie Instant Noodles. For the life in me, I cannot comprehend why they call it 'Instant' Noodles. It takes well nigh twenty minutes to make the darn thing edible! And NO! It takes more than the '2 minutes' that the adverts proclaim it takes!
And since I lacked the culinary expertise of the pretty and saree-clad 'mummies' in those advertisements, I had to improvise.
Now, this is not the first time I'm handling these things. There was once a time (read: summer vacation coupled with a working mom and a lazy grandmother) when I had lived on these things. So, though my cooking wouldn't exactly floor professional chefs, I'm sure I won't be sending anyone to their graves with my cooking!
Suddenly, as I open the container that contains these packs, I realize one thing. They're not the usual ones that I use.
Well... if you're curious, I use Top Ramen. And the ones that I had were Maggie. I thought there wouldn't be much of a difference in these brands. But I couldn't be farther from the fact.
By the time I had prepared the Maggie Noodles, I had burnt the lone onion, I had split enough oil to cause concern for the orthopedic departments in the city hospitals and I had also succeeded in turning my kitchen into some place that looks like those dream scenes from the movies of the late 1980s.
And the reason?
I had opened the taste maker that comes with the noodles and there was enough 'flavour' in it to send me into a coughing fit for a whole five minutes!
Now, any person who's never seen these taste makers will wonder... what in the holy name of Renji Abarai's Zabimaru's baboon hiney is she talking about?
Well... as you'll know, Indians aren't a very adjusting lot. They wish to bring a little bit of their 'thing' into everything they do... everywhere they go. And since the authentic noodles of the Far East will probably cause any Indian worth his curries reach out for the salt and pepper shakers by the dozen at one go, the manufacturers spike the taste of these food items to suit the Indian Palette.
This is one reason why 'Chinese' in India is not exactly 'Chinese' in China. (And just to get things right... I love Japanese food... the bland saltiness some of their dishes have really keep me going!)
And all of this brings me to the point in contention. Maggie or Top Ramen?
These are a few reasons why I prefer Top Ramen...
- The Noodles that come in the Top Ramen packs are a bit stronger. If I were to put them in hot water, they will not break at the slightest nudge and so... by the time the preparation's complete, I can slurp all I want!
- The taste maker of Top Ramen is blander. (read: it does not make you worry cough for a very very long time) And furthermore... it tastes more like Ramen would! That bland saltiness with a hint of spices?
- The noodles of Top Ramen don't exactly absorb all the residual water in the pan on cooling. This means many things... one... there is a little amount of the broth with the noodles and that ensures greater flavour moderation. Two... I don't have to move Heaven and Earth to clean the dishes! Broth = lubrication = fewer leftovers stuck in the pan! And I'm averse to do house chores!
- The Maggie noodles when cooked, taste like Mom's Puli saadham (tamarind rice - a south Indian dish) with the rice replaced with longish strips of dough. And well... if I want Puli Saadam... I'll buy Puli Saadam. When I take a pack of Maggie Noodles, I want Noodles. *sigh* Not a hard thing to comprehend ne?
- I know this isn't exactly legitimate enough... but Top Ramen belongs to Nissin which is a Japanese company. (yeah! yeah! I know... not fair... blah! blah! blah! Done complaining? Go fish now!)
So, as I sit in front of the computer, my badly 'Indianised' Noodles at hand, and Bleach Season 2 running in full speed, I can only sniffle a little... Why can't I have proper ramen for once?