Thursday, July 11, 2013

New Maggi Magic Meals, didn't quite provide the magic I expected.

This post is probably apt for those seeking a more convenient alternative to cooking this Ramadhan. But before you pick it up, I would like to share my thoughts on it.

I was intrigued by the attractive packaging of Maggi Magic Meals and how easy it is to prepare food by putting everything into the rice cooker while rice is cooked. I thought that is a brilliant way of killing two birds with one stone. And after considering it for awhile I've decided to give it a go, just for fun. After all, this blog wasn't supposed to be all about beauty products...

At the back of the package, the instruction clearly indicates how easy it is to prepare this particular Ayam Masak Merah. I purposely chose this variant because I haven't the slightest idea of how to properly cook it except for that occasional tomato ketchup-chilli sauce combo cheat. I've tried a Brahim's variant and would now like to put this to the test.

Once you open up the package, you'll get these two magic tools - on the left is the so-called magic mixture and on the right is the plastic, neatly folded with its tie-band inside its folding.

Once I'm done with mixing the chicken, onion rings and magic mix, I placed it in the rice cooker on top of the rice that will be cooked together. The instruction says to let your rice cook and to leave it be for a total of 45 minutes from the start of cooking so that the chicken is cooked thoroughly.

And, this is how it looked... Pretty appetising, no?

Ok, my take on it? It's really so-so down to "I ain't buying this again". To be totally blunt, it's worse than the instant Brahim's gravy I tried. For my eldest son who eats everything except wood, rubber and metal, he could take a couple of the chicken parts but he didn't lick his plate clean neither did he help himself with an additional serving. So, nope. This one's totally failed me.

But but but... Since I don't want to judge too early and tell you the Maggi Magic Meal is blahh... I got another variant just so I can be all objective about it :)

So I chose chicken curry.

Same thing, you have the instruction clearly indicated at the back of the package. Unlike the first one where I just mixed the instant powder, this time I had to add 75grams of diced potato, 2 tablespoons of coconut milk and 100ml of water. And for an extra oomph, I added slices of cili padi into the entire mix. For this variant, I have to cook it for 60 minutes.

This was how it looked like. The smell was good and I was all set for my first day of buka puasa.

I must say that it was a risk I took in case the taste doesn't sit well with my husband and I. But since I had cut some preparation time for this, I managed to cook another simple recipe.

So, okay... The chicken curry was probably better than the tomato chicken because we could swallow and our buka puasa was bearable. But I think the curry was a little too salty for my taste and I decided that the Maggi Magic Meals isn't for me.

I believe that even for the tomato chicken, my cheat recipe of using just tomato ketchup and chilli sauce tastes so much better than that. As for the chicken curry, 60 minutes of manual preparation & cooking that involves observing the fire on the stove or constantly stirring are still worth the effort for a more tasty meal. 45 - 60 minutes is a long time.. It can even be almost similar to the time you'd take to cook the same meal manually.

I am also not quite convinced of its nutritional properties. The mix comes in powder form which means it must have been heavily processed and there are tonnes of ingredients which you may want to totally avoid - monosodium glutamate and starch and preservatives and colouring... Heck, the fact that I even tried them boggles me, just so I could write this review? Well, at least I can tell you I've tried them and I don't think you should. And if you think you can use this to impress your future mom-in-law, please don't.

Note the precaution on the lower part of the package.

I went to google it up just so I get a full info on this and I read some interesting reviews from those in the Philippines. I guess they have better variants there... not so sure.

This is the list of ingredients for the tomato chicken.

And the list of ingredients for the chicken curry.

Perhaps this was made to cater to the busy career woman whose husband prefers a wife who cooks. Still, there could be better alternatives out there like ready mix you can buy in a pack. I don't think they come in powder form and perhaps that is a tastier and healthier alternative?

Of course, if I were to ask my mom she would say that I should learn up the recipe and prepare everything manually. But if there is a better way to make our lives easier, I don't see anything wrong with that. And while I improve my cooking skills and the variety of food I cook, I constantly look for these alternatives. After all, we women are not built as robots. At times, we want to cook, while other times, we wish we just don't have to. Yet, most of us are bound by that feeling of responsibility to cook for the family.

But really, if you ask me, I don't see much convenience in the Maggi Magic Meals because I still had to dice the chicken parts into smaller portions when I could just plonk in chunks when I cook them normally, and I don't think the cooking time equates to convenience. For me, when we are pressed for time, I'm tired and I need to prepare something fast as everyone's already hungry, I would want to just be able to mix, put everything in the microwave, like those frozen stuff. Now that, is magic, at least to me. But of course, the real deal is in its taste... perhaps Maggi can go back to testing this out to more people before coming up with the final formula.

Have you come across this product? What do you think of instant stuff like this?


Paris B said...

I tried one from Brahims or one of those brands. Wasn't bad for the masak merah, but I did pre-fry the chicken to brown it as they usually do for masak merah. I've been wanting to learn and my mom used to do a mean masak merah but now she tells me she's forgotten. Ish! >.< Lets go cooking lessons! :D

toughcookie said...

Paris B,
Brahim's one is not bad, right. Aiya been wanting to go cooking lessons for years kan but I didn't really look for alternatives other than Rohani Jelani. Time to look into this then.

Paris B said...

Jom, lets do this! Even if its just 2 of us haha! Post Raya perhaps ;)

toughcookie said...

great! will get on it :)