I grew up with Maggi; my father added the dark brown soy sauce-like seasoning to various Chinese and Vietnamese dishes from noodles to tofu. (Meanwhile, my mother blanched at the thought of all that MSG and sodium.) Maggi sauce is often associated with Asian cooking, but it was actually developed in Switzerland in the late 19th century. It is still popular in German-speaking countries, where it is known as Maggi-Würze.
Interestingly, the recipe for Maggi seasoning sauce varies around the world. Versions produced or marketed in the United States, Mexico, and various European and Asian countries differ in pungency and concentration. Some Maggi aficionados swear by the German or French versions. (A note to those with MSG sensitivities: some Maggi labels actively list monosodium glutamate, while others only list hydrolyzed wheat or soy protein, which contain natural MSG.)
In all cases, a little Maggi usually goes a long way. The sauce is full of umami-rich flavor and just a few drops can add depth to noodles, stir-fries, soups, and other dishes. We don't use it often, but when we do, it's a treat. We like to mix a little with mayonnaise to use as a spread for Vietnamese bánh mì sandwiches or dipping sauce for frites.
Do you use Maggi? How do you cook with it and which international version(s) do you like?
• Maggi Seasoning Sauce (a comparison of American and German Maggi) from Wandering Chopsticks
• My Love for Maggi Seasoning Sauce (Maggi versions from around the world) from Eat Drink & Be Merry
(Image: Emily Ho)