Ingredient Spotlight: Maggi Seasoning Sauce
In last week’s post about MSG, we mentioned one of our favorite monosodium glutamate-containing products: Maggi seasoning sauce. We don’t usually discuss specific brands of condiments on The Kitchn, but Maggi is a global phenomenon with some very impassioned fans. In fact, just writing about Maggi makes our mouths water. Do you use Maggi in your cooking?
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?
(Image: Emily Ho)