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Demystifying the Brown Bottle: Maggi Seasoning Sauce Posted by on Feb 16, 2012 in Culture

I think that if every kitchen in the Netherlands was searched, eight out of ten of them would contain a bottle of Maggi seasoning. The first time I came across Maggi was at a Dutch birthday party. Vegetable soup had just been served and all around me the party guests were eagerly dumping loads of the brown seasoned liquid into their soup, curiosity got the better of me.

The following day, I decided to buy myself a small bottle of this strange item, of which nothing on the front gave me any idea of what it actually was. I got the treasured item home promptly opened it and poured a small drop onto my finger for a taste.

So, what is Maggi seasoning? Maggi is a dark, hydrolysed vegetable protein-based seasoning sauce, which is very similar to East Asian soy sauce without actually containing soy. It is used most often in soups and sauces.

The name is a bit confusing as Maggi is actually a Nestlé brand of instant soups, stocks, bouillon cubes, ketchups, sauces, seasonings and instant noodles. The full name of the seasoning sauce is in fact “Maggi-Würze”, however, in many countries “Maggi” is still used as the seasoning sauce’s name. Consider it a nick-name.

Introduced in 1886, as a cheap substitute for meat extract, it has become popular in countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. As to its taste, if you like soy sauce then you probably aren’t going to mind Maggi. I personally find you need to add quite a bit to really notice a distinctive “Maggi” taste but that might just be me.

So far, I have never seen a recipe that has an ingredient list that includes Maggi seasoning sauce on it and apart from adding it to vegetable soup, I can’t say I have really used the brown bottle much. So, I am curious. Do you have a bottle of Maggi in your kitchen cupboards and what do you use it for?

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Comments:

  1. Sandy:

    Here is actually a recipe by one of Australia’s well known celebritychefs and the show is not sponsored by Nestle It features Maggi! http://www.abc.net.au/kyliekwong/recipes/s952410.htm

  2. NYC Girl:

    Can you use Maggi seasoning instead of soy sauce, I want to make chicken satay and the recipe calls for fish sauce, which I cant use due to severe fish allergies. I was told I could substitute soy for the fish sauce and was wondering if Maggi would also be a substitute. Anyone?

    Thanks

  3. Madeline:

    Just used it in a Salisbury steak recipe.

  4. Dwayne:

    My Mom’s family came to Canada when she was young. I remember my grandmother making us toast covered with Maggi in the morning. I just introduced it to my wife

  5. MattNOVA:

    I just discovered Maggi in a michelada recipe (also new to me), and I’ve been using it on whatever strikes my fancy. It’s delicious on fried eggs with hot sauce, and I just replaced some soysauce in an adobo recipe with Maggi. Good stuff!

  6. Linda:

    I am making this recipe and it called for Maggi Seasoning. Came across your site on Google while researching what Maggi is. Hope you can try this easy recipe!!

    This Polish-American sausage-cabbage-potato casserole recipe is a one-pot dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for tailgating, Super Bowl parties and informal entertaining. It’s even better reheated, so it’s perfect for school night dinners. If push came to shove, I suppose you could call it zapiekanka z kielbasa, kapusty, ziemniaków, but it’s really something I came up with on the fly. This can be as rugged as you like — leave the potatoes and apples unpeeled — or soignée. Either way, it’s a winner.

    Polish-American Sausage-Cabbage-Potato Casserole.
    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Total Time: 50 minutes

    Yield: 4 servings Polish Casserole

    Ingredients:

    1 tablespoon butter
    2 large coarsely chopped onions
    1 medium head coarsely chopped or shredded cabbage
    2 red-skinned apples, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick (peels can be left on, if desired)
    2 large russet potatoes (peels can be left on, if desired), parboiled for 5 minutes (save the cooking water) and coarsely chopped
    1 tablespoon Vegeta or Maggi seasoning
    Pepper
    1 tablespoon caraway seeds (or to taste)
    1 pound smoked Polish sausage (skin removed, if desired), cut into 6 pieces and scored diagonally 3 times
    1 cup reserved potato-cooking water
    Preparation:

    In a large, Dutch oven or skillet with a lid, sauté onion in butter over medium heat until translucent. Then, without stirring, add cabbage and sprinkle evenly with Vegeta or Maggi seasoning. Add apples, caraway and pepper without stirring. Top with sausage and 1 cup of the cooking water from potatoes. Cover. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

    Uncover and mix all ingredients together. Replace cover and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove the cover and test for doneness of the cabbage. If there are too many juices, cook over low heat until reduced. But the pan juices are delicious when sopped up with rye bread.

  7. Michelle T:

    My momma’s recipe for this was gravy; make your gravy traditionally by browning some flour in hot oil, then add your water and add some Maggie sauce for some extra flavor, and color! :). Happy cooking!

  8. Chris:

    One of our local NPR stations has a food program called the Food Schmooze. Their topic one week was about Vietnamese sandwiches called Baang Moi (?) which uses the Maggi seasoning on the bread. I have been going nuts trying to find this stuff. Your article will now help me narrow my search. Thank you.

  9. Kelly:

    I mix Maggi sauce with mayonnaise and use it as a dip for cucumbers, so yummy.

  10. Tonya:

    I use Maggie all the time, I used it to make fried rice, marinades, cook chicken with it it it soo good. Better that soy sauce to me!

  11. Cathy:

    I don’t know how old this post is… but if you read this again… you can put some Maggi on eggs.

    doesn’t matter which way they are cooked.

    fried is the best tho- with a dash of Maggi and buttered toast.

  12. Renate Bob:

    I was born in the former Danzig ,now Gdansk, and my mother always used Maggie for seasoning. It’s interesting to me that people are now rediscovering it. It does taste very similar to sot sauce.

  13. tye:

    Very good on all beef, in marinades or when cooking. I just reduce my salt and Worchester. Ground beef and all cuts, roasts.

  14. Chrissy:

    I grew up with Maggi Seasoning and I absolutely love it so much I couldn’t live without a bottle of it in my cupboard at all times! I use it in cooking, have added mayo to it to make a salad dressing. But my most favourite way of having it is sprinkled straight onto salad by itself. I will gorge myself purely on a bowl of chopped up tomatoes, cucumbers or lettuce practically drenched in Maggi. I am addicted to the stuff!!

  15. Adrian:

    I love spinach salads. I mean LOVE LOVE LOVE. Very basic: baby spinach, chopped cucumbers, and halved cherry tomatoes with high-quality balsamic vinager and extra virgin olive oil. In the military, stationed in Germany, came across Maggi, and added a few dashes to my standard spinach salad. The depth of flavor it added was UH-MAZE-ING!!! Getting ready to leave Germany and move back to the States. On the interweb right now trying to see if I can find a local grocer or web store where I can order it. Can’t wait to experiment with it in other recipes as well (standard addition to vegetable soup as well as my own homemade Micheladas, eggs, gravies, and everything else I can think of)!

  16. Linda:

    I recently bought my first bottle of Maggi sauce, and I would like to know if it needs to be refrigerated after opening.

    • Christian Gessner:

      @Linda The salt content in Maggi is so high that refrigeration is not required. I have a bottle in the kitchen an

  17. Stephanie:

    I use it in almost everything. I use it in rice, meat, in every veggi, I use it instead of salt.

  18. bobby:

    I m searching for soy sauce and I purchased it as soy sauce through as kept with other soy sauce brand, is that both same or different ?

  19. Autumn:

    What’s the shelf life of Maggi?
    I always thought it would last indefinitely but just noticed a best before date on the bottle I’ve had for ages.
    Thanks for your input 🙂

    • Sten:

      @Autumn There are best before dates on many things, but as it says, it is a BEST before date. That does not mean it just expires. I think you can keep that stuff for decades. Nothing wrong with that.
      Maybe the taste alters a bit, gets less strong or so, but I think it should be fine!

  20. San juana Turner:

    I had a beer in Texas which is called michelada. I found a recipe which called for maggi. Didn’t find it anywhere but I will use soy sauce.

  21. Abby Safer:

    We use in with steak! It’s good. Try it with London broil, skirt steak… Yum

  22. SquatPCalveson:

    The main ingredient in liquid seasoning is lovage, which is a plant that gives it the aroma, if you add the leaves into meals you can get the flavor without the sodium content.

  23. irene leeuwenkamp:

    I couldn’t live without maggi my oma used it on spaghetti, rice and fries my English friends hadn’t a clue what it was but I love it as I do the dubbel zout dropjes

  24. Swedish chef:

    Excellent in salads or just chop some cucumber and tomatoes and put some Würze on there. Live in Sweden but buy it in Germany every time I visit. I got hauled in to Swedish customs on the airport and they explained that they was used to people smuggling vodka but they have never ever seen so many bottles of Maggi

  25. Jennifer:

    I recently had sautéed green beans and Maggi seasoning was added to the pan…they were the best green beans I’ve ever had! I tried making them with soy sauce and they did not have the same flavor. I’ll be adding Maggi sauce to my regular seasoning list.

  26. Steve:

    I live in the US and recently heard of Maggi’s umami effect while listening to Lynn Rossetto Kapsers radio show “The Splendid Table” (from American Public Media) on my local NPR station.

    I most recently used it in a very satisfying attempt to create a turkey/tofu bratwurst recipe. Just a few drops.

  27. Alfred:

    I was raised in Maggi sauce. It was relatively expensive 60+ years ago. So my mom would refill empty Maggi sauce bottle with cheap soya sauce for me. But Maggi sauce has such heavenly flavour that even a 4 year old can tell. I just didn’t complain to my mom that she was trying to fool me.

    I use Maggic sauce on everything like I am a Maggic-holic. I even deliberately cook meals a touch less tasteful so I can add Maggi sauce to my food. If my food turns out good already, I still put a bottle of Maggi sauce in front of me, just to be near it.

    I am so glad that there is Maggi sauce in my life ’cause I may consider killing myself if Nescafe doesn’t manufacture Maggi sauce one day. That is how much I love it, every single day in the last 64 years. But I think nowadays, they may not be made in Switzerland.

  28. helena:

    I just recently bought my first bottle of maggi , yay now I can join my dutch relatives, I just have. To know what to do with it.

  29. Anders Svensson:

    Recently I bought the maggi sauce. I already used it in almost everything. And I would like to know if it needs to be refrigerated after opening. I am waiting for your response. Thanks

  30. Malin Andersson:

    Hello Heather! Recently I bought the maggi sauce. I already used it in almost everything. And I would like to know if it needs to be refrigerated after opening. I am waiting for your response. Thanks

  31. Samuel:

    Maggi sauce is fairly common in Mexico, unlike its neighbor to the north. It’s used in a variety of ways, including on potato chips.

  32. mia:

    Maggi is nothing but bogus garbage that gives me an msg headache. Its soy sauce, plain and simple, and is not to be confused as a substitute for Kitchen Bouquet, which I miss dearly for all my cooking needs. I live in Australia now (big mistake) but none the less, there are many things that are not out here as there are in America. They don’t even have solid shortening here, as in Crisco in their supermarkets. You can actually buy a small can of it in the ‘gourmet’ section of one of their better department stores for about $15-US. Ridiculous.

    • Oskar:

      @mia You can buy the genuine Maggi Seasoning, in Australia, just go to any Continental Delicatessen is about $25 for a litre bottle, don’t buy the one in the supermarkets labelled Maggi Original it’s made in China and tastes disgusting

  33. Gezina ponsen:

    I could not live without the real Maggi, “de enige echte” Maggi with I get in the Dutch shop, but there is also an Asian Maggi which tastes a more like Soy Sauce. Sprinkle on meats and in soups and over fried rice etc.

  34. Deb:

    I always have a bottle of maggi in my cupboard, I use it for two things:-
    1) bowl of mixed salad, tiny drizzle of oil, drizzle of vinegar & a good lashing of maggi, mid it through minutes before serving.
    2) pressure cooker full of potatoes half filled with water, cook for 20-30 mins until
    Potatoes are cooked but still firm, drain and allow to cool a bit before peeling. Dice an onion or two and soak in shallow vinegar. Slice potatoes and layer in a bowl every so often adding onions in vinegar a drizzle of oil and splashes of maggi, keep layering potato and repeat until all ingredients are in the bowl. I normally leave overnight, mixing occasionally. The it’s ready to serve with salads and sandwiches etc. Excellent buffet food, filling and low fat.

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