Dried soups became an essential part of store-cupboard cookery in the 1950s. Unilever’s Continental brand was Maggi’s principal competitor. Their French Onion Soup was most famously used to make the ubiquitous French Onion Dip, while the chicken noodle variety contributed to quasi-Chinese dishes. French Onion Dip was popular for ’50s drinks parties as it only had two essential ingredients (both of which were likely to be on hand) and took just a few minutes to make. The recipe was as follows:
1/2 lb pack of Philadelphia cream cheese (250g in today’s metric world)
Packet of French Onion Soup mix
Have the cheese at room temperature for easy mixing.
Put both ingredients in a bowl and mix.
Thin with a little milk if required to desired consistency (optional)
Serve surrounded by your choice of dry biscuits
My mother was fond of using dried soups to make what she called “Chop Suey”. You can still find recipes for this dubious dish, such as the following”
500 g beef mince
1 onion chopped
50 g chicken noodle instant soup
1/2 cabbage shredded
1 carrot large julienned
1/2 green capsicum diced
1/2 cup frozen green beans
2 tbs curry powder
2 tbs olive oil
1 tbs soy sauce *to taste
Brown mince and onion in oil, in large pan on medium heat.
Add chicken noodle soup and curry powder and stir well.
Add carrot, capsicum, cabbage and beans and stir.
Cover and cook on low-medium heat for 30-45 minutes or until cabbage has softened, stirring often.
Add soy sauce.
There seems to be little differentiation between Australian Chop Suey and Australian “Chow Mein“. Recipes for the latter are almost identical to those for the former, with both relying on the MSG content of dried chicken noodle soup and a hint of heat from curry powder to produce an oriental flavour. Minced beef, cabbage, sliced green beans and onion are the other essential ingredients.