Indulge in a comforting classic with a bold new twist – Masala Mac and Cheese! Made in an
The good old classic mac and cheese with an Indian twist, masala macaroni is creamy, comforting, and oh-so-delicious. This Indian-Italian fusion pasta uses basic Indian spices and traditional mac and cheese ingredients to create a lip-smacking dish.
It is also popularly called tikka masala macaroni or desi mac & cheese (desi generally means 'of Indian origin' and mostly refers to Indians living outside India). Indians love to add their own twist and create fusion recipes to suit Indian taste buds. Spices like cumin powder, coriander powder, turmeric powder, chaat masala, etc., are used to get an Indianized taste. In saying that, I have not used them in this recipe, and this Indian-style pasta calls for just some basic desi spices.
Why you will love this recipe?
- Quick and easy: This one-pot dish requires minimal prep work and cooking time. It can be made in under 30 minutes, which makes it a great option for busy weeknights.
- A nice twist from your regular mac and cheese: The addition of Indian spices and flavors gives a fun and exciting twist to the classic mac and cheese dish.
- Creamy and comforting: This recipe uses a blend of cheese, milk, and sour cream to create a creamy and indulgent sauce that pairs perfectly with the Indian spices and macaroni noodles.
Pasta: I have used elbow macaroni for this recipe. You can use any other variety of pasta.
Cheese: I have used cheddar cheese and gouda cheese.
Veggies: I have used bell peppers in this recipe (a mix of green and red bell pepper). You may use other veggies of your choice, like carrots, sweet corn, green peas, green beans, etc. to make vegetable macaroni.
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Step 1: Put the
Step 2: Add bell peppers, spice powders (red chilli powder and garam masala powder), kasuri methi, oregano, and salt. Mix well and saute for one more minute (images 3 and 4).
Step 3: Add 2½ cups of water and give it a good stir (step 5). Add pasta, tomato puree, and tomato ketchup. Spread the tomato puree all over the pasta. Do not stir after adding the pasta. Push the dry pasta slightly to cover it in liquid (images 6 and 7).
Step 4: Close the lid of the
Step 5: Do a quick release of the pressure and open the lid. Put the
Step 6: Keep stirring until the cheese melts and is fully incorporated - about 2-3 minutes (images 11 and 12). Cancel saute mode and immediately take the inner pot out of the
I have used cheddar and gouda cheese here. You can use other types of cheese in this recipe. Pepper jack, Colby jack, mild cheddar, gruyere, parmesan cheese, etc., works well.
Do not stir after adding the pasta. Add tomato puree on top and just spread it using a spatula. If any dry pasta is on top, just push it into the liquid without stirring.
When you start cooking the pasta, take the milk, cream, and cheese out of the fridge and let it sit on the counter. This way, they will be at room temperature when you add them to the cooked pasta.
Keep stirring the pasta after adding cheese to avoid the cheese from sticking to the bottom of the pan and burning. Also, once the cheese melts, take the inner pot out of the
The mac & cheese will absorb the moisture and become dry after storing. To reheat, add some milk (or water) and simmer to get the right consistency.
To cook pasta in the
To make it vegan, replace milk with plant-based milk, replace sour cream with vegan thickened cream, and use vegan cheese.
To store masala mac and cheese, place any leftover portions in an airtight container. Store it in the refrigerator for up to three days. Mac and cheese can be stored in the freezer for up to one month. Reheat thawed mac and cheese in the oven or microwave before serving.
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Masala Mac and Cheese / Indian Macaroni Pasta
- 3 cups elbow macaroni (12 oz)
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon garlic paste
- 1 teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- ¾ cup bell pepper chopped
- ½ cups tomato puree
- 1 tablespoon tomato ketchup
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon garam masala (use store-bought or homemade garam masala)
- 1 teaspoon Kasoori methi
- 1 teaspoon oregano
- ½-¾ teaspoon salt
- 3 cups water see note 1
Pressure cook pasta:
- Put the Instant Pot in saute mode and add olive oil.
- Once it heats, add onion, and saute for 3 minutes.
- Add ginger paste and garlic paste. Saute for one minute.
- Add bell peppers, red chili powder, garam masala, kasuri methi, oregano, and salt. Mix well and saute for one more minute.
- Add 3 cups of water and stir everything well (see note 1).
- Add pasta, tomato puree, and tomato ketchup. Spread the tomato puree all over the pasta.
- Do not stir after adding the pasta. Push the dry pasta slightly so that it is covered in liquid.
- Close the lid of the Instant pot and set it to pressure cook and cook for 4 minutes (see note 2).
- Do a quick release of the pressure and open the lid.
- Put the Instant Pot on saute mode (Low).
- Add milk, sour cream, cheddar cheese, and gouda cheese.
- Keep stirring until the cheese melts and is fully incorporated (about 2-3 minutes).
- Cancel saute mode and immediately take the inner pot out of the Instant Pot to avoid the pasta from cooking any further.
- Top with cilantro and serve warm.