Desi Mac (Macaroni and Cheese)

Now give us a good reason why the grown-ups should be left out when the kids eat that yummy Mac ‘n’ Cheese! Here is a recipe for ‘Desi’ Mac (macaroni and cheese) and as the name suggests, it is full of flavor and other goodies that you will be proud to eat as well as serve your family!


Elbow Macaroni – 2 cups
Oil – 1 tbsp
Mustard Seeds – 1/2 tsp
Curry Leaves – few
Garlic – 1 tbsp, finely chopped
Mushrooms – 8 oz, sliced thick
Onion – 1 med., chopped
Red & Green Bell Pepper – 1/2 each, chopped
Salt – to taste
Black Pepper – to taste
Red Chili Flakes – to taste
Soy Sauce – 3 tbsp
White Vinegar – 1 tbsp
Tomato Ketchup – 3 tbsp
Spinach – 1 cup, chopped
Cilantro – 10 sprigs, finely chopped
Shredded Cheese – 1.5 cups
Bread Crumbs – as needed
Butter – for topping
Cooking spray


1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Cook the Macaroni as per package instructions for al dente with a little salt. Drain and keep aside.
3. Heat a medium size pan on medium heat.
4. Add in the Oil. Allow it to heat up.
5. Add in the Mustard Seeds and allow them to pop.
6. Add in the Curry Leaves and the chopped Garlic. Cook for 30 seconds.
7. Add in the Mushrooms and a little salt (to speedup the cooking process) and turn up the heat/flame for this step.
8. The Mushrooms will let water go and then the water needs to evaporate.
9. Once that is done, add in the Onions and the bellpeppers.
10. Sprinkle some Black Pepper and red Chili Flakes and saute fr 3 minutes.
11. Add in the sauces – White Vinegar, Soy Sauce and Ketchup, saute for 1-2 minutes.
12. Add in Cilantro/Coriander Leaves and Spinach and give it a quick toss.
13. Lightly grease the casserole dish that is to be used for baking with Cooking Spray and keep aside.
14. Add the Macaroni to the vegetables and give it a good mix.
15. Turn the stove off and add in the Shredded Cheese.
16. Mix well and mix very fast and pour the macaroni into the casserole.
17. Level the mixture and sprinkle some Bread Crumbs on top with a few blobs of Butter.
18. Bake for 8 minutes at 350 degrees F and then broil for 2 minutes to give it a golden color on top.
19. Serve hot with some garlic bread and/or some soup. Serves 8.


1. If Elbow Macaroni is not available, use any pasta.
2. Add in chopped Green Chilies for an additional kick.
3. Drizzle a little oil on the Macaroni after boiling and draining it. It will prevent it from sticking and clumping together.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

0 thoughts on “Desi Mac (Macaroni and Cheese)

    1. Hi Payal,

      Hmmm…we have never tried it, but it sounds interesting. The only concern would be that the texture may get too mushy.

  1. Hi ladies!
    Thank you so much for posting this recipe… My inlaws are quite traditional but loved this! You guys saved me!

  2. Can I replace elbow mac for Panne or Rotini?? I’ve read other blogs and some have replaced it so just wanted to know if it would taste great.


    1. Hi Pinal,

      Yes, you could substitute different types of pasta. Elbow mac is smaller so it incorporates into the sauce more easily. With larger pasta, you may or may not have to adjust other seasonings.

      1. It was a SMTC Weekend at home. I made this for dinner and it turned out great. We loved the taste and my husband requested that I make it again. I substituted with penne as I didn’t have elbow mac and didn’t use mushroom as the store I went to actually ran out of it. Would you believe my luck?!?

        I think I will also add broccoli as well and use more of the same veggies next time. Very creative recipe. Kudos to the person(s) who have thought of it.

  3. great recipe!i replaced the elbow macoroni with whole wheat rotini.and added a few more veggis like zuchini and asparagus.the kids loved it and so did the adults.

  4. i tried this recipe , it turned out awesome awesome!! i din’t add any curry leaves or the tadka. I added onions and peppers, spinach , corriander. Thank you 🙂

  5. hi anuja and hetel

    by seeing your desi mac video i really wanted to give a try, but my concern is can i prepare this dish without using there any substitute for this.
    my daughter asked for this dish to prepare.

    1. Hi Asha,

      I once tried this dish without an oven. My recipe was very much similar to this, except for the bread crumbs which I omitted. After adding in the cheese, I wrapped the lid of the casserole with a damp cloth, and left the flame on low for about 5 mins. The cheese melted and the end result was brilliant! You might want to make a small batch first to see if this method works for you. Either way, let me know how it went!

  6. I’m a big big fan of this recipe and make it a point to prepare it atleast every month!! Love it! I’ve added in brocolli,etc, the good thing is you can also add in other veggies as you like !

  7. wonderful recipe… just one question… it turns out little too dry… would u recommend adding homemade tomato sauce or just chopped tomatoes to make it lesser dry??? thanks!!!

  8. hi dear,
    first of all thanks for wonderful recipe’s…both of you have made my life so easy .. i am indian married to a spanish guy .. and in my indian kitchen there were very limited options for my spanish guy .. but i learnt alot from your site and now i rock.. thanks .

    lods of love
    keep roacking

  9. Hi Ladies,

    I call your website the “life saver” I have cooked so many easy and quick dishes from your website and desi mac is one of them..Tastes awesome..Just that with the breadcrumbs my dish dint turn out too well..Dont know why…it was rubbery..was it less butter or less breadcrumbs??
    Nevertheless the dish in itself tasted awesome…

  10. Hi Gals,

    Made this dish today and it was simply superb. Amazing alternative to restaurant pizza or pasta. Surprisingly, this dish uses pasta, but tastes more like pizza 🙂

    I added corn flakes and bread scrums for extra crunch. Needless to say, it was amazing idea.


  11. Hi Ladies

    This recipe looks wonderful. Can I use frozen spinich straight into the saucepan instead of the fresh as an alternative?

    Thank you


  12. just a little tip. if you take the breadcrumbs and microwave them with butter and then bake them it will be sooo much crunchier! also crushed cornflakes is also a great subsitute when you want something extra crunchy 🙂

  13. hey guys you r doing a wonderful job.I learn a lot 4m ur show.Hey can I serve it without baking since i dont have bread crumbs?


    1. Hi Rizna,

      Yes, you can because everything in the dish is cooked!

      On a separate note, the bread crumbs are easy to make at home…dry some bread in the microwave or outside (air dry) or toaster and then crush it!

  14. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    I love your idea of a spicy mac and cheese and I can’t wait to make it. Unfortunately I can’t eat dishes with soy sauce/vinegar or even tomato ketchup as it contains vinegar. For me they all trigger migraines. Can you please suggest substitutes to spice up the recipe.


    1. Hi Nandu,

      You can substitute soy sauce with plain salt, tomato ketchup with tomato paste mixed with a bit of sugar and vinegar with plain lime or lemon juice.

  15. Hi Anuja & Hetal,
    What an YUMMY dish.since my family likes non-veg food,I substituted mushroom with i# of chicken breast cut into bite size pieces.The cooking procedure remains the same as mushroom.
    You gals are doing a great job.
    Keep it up!!!
    Your sincere fan

  16. Hi Hetal and Anuja,

    Love your show! Was wondering if this could be made ahead and frozen? At what point would you freeze it…I am assuming right before adding the bread crumbs and baking it. right?


    1. Hi Latha,

      This is probably a dish that will not freeze well. There is very little moisture in the dish and what is there will be absorbed by the pasta. So, when you pull it out of the freezer and bake it, it will be very dry.

      1. Hi there

        I’m having people over for dinner tomorrow night and wanted to make it tonight and refrigerate it (right after adding bread crumbs before baking)- covered with ceran wrap or foil to keep in the moisture- would that work or will the pasta still be really dry?

  17. Hi Ladies

    I plan to make this tonight. How many adults does this recipe (with the measurements/quantities you used) serve?

  18. This video doesn’t play. It says “Invalid Parameters”. Couldn’t be my computer cuz I’ve been watching your other videos today without any problem. Would like to see it. I know, I could read it too, but watching it is so much easier! 🙂 Thanks in advance. 🙂

  19. My 3 year old daughter loves you both and calls your website “aunties”. She asks to see the desi mac recipe everyday and also the molten lava cake – and she learned the double boiler method from that video. She does the recipe with her toys and uses puzzle pieces for the chocolate chunks.

    Regards, Vandana

    1. Hi Vandana,

      We’re so glad you daughter likes to watch our show — a budding chef! Please say hello to her from her “Curry Aunties” :).

  20. Another 5-star hit! I just made this for my family & they love it. I didn’t have mushrooms or curry leaves on hand so I did without & the pasta still came out great! I also didn’t have elbow macaroni on hand so I used bow-tie pasta. The colors & flavors of this dish are wonderful and tasty. This recipe will definately be made time & time again in my home. Thank you again ladies! =)

  21. Yo Girls, you rock. I tried this desi mac today and it was yummmmmm! Thanks so much for sharing your gr8 recipes. I also tried Vegetable Quesadillas the other day and even that was a hit in my family.


  22. Hello Ladies
    Just wanted to tell you that I made this quick,easy yet yummy dish couple of nights ago. It was very desi indeed.I used penne pasta and the results were awesome. I served with french bread and salad. Thanks for the yummy recipe.

  23. Hi Chefs,
    WOW is the word. When I made it for the first time, my husband said he won’t go for pizzas again. So, I have started making it a weekly staple now since it seems to be quite healthy with all those veggies. NEVER have I tasted such spicy and tangy PASTA before……THANK YOU….

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.