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Macaroni + Keema = Keemaroni!

Nice? © Cookaroo
I am not sure what you make of the above picture. Does it excite you, does it repulse you? Truth is, I can't make up my mind about the picture, but the fact that it tastes soooo good, is leaving me with no choice. This is one of my favourite meals eh-ver. So I have no choice but subject you guys to this too.

I love macaroni and I love keema, and combining the two, gives me Keemaroni - layers of creamy pasta with a minced lamb, made the Indian way, just so that it hits the right spots.

Look, the thing is, as a child I never liked mutton. I couldn't stand the smell, I didn't like the texture. But something happened to me when I moved to Delhi about 5 years ago. Something in me changed.

I couldn't keep my hands off Galouti kebabs in the winter or the killer Kakori Rolls that Aap Ki Khatir made. A simple mutton curry could have me dreaming about it for days. And a keema naan? I would be in seventh heaven. At people's houses, I would be the first to dip into that rogan josh and the first to pick out those amazing lamb chops which would just melt in the mouth.

I don't know what it was about the meat in Delhi that made is so succulent, so amazing and so flavourful. But it changed my mind about eating mutton.

So when I started cooking mutton at home, it was a slow process. I started off with keema or minced meat just so that I didn't have to deal with the cleaning the meat. And I made something I have always loved - Shepherd's Pie (I'd make it with minced chicken but this time was bold enough to change the meat around). Then I progressed to making roast mutton. To meatloaves. And then to curries to chops and finally to kebabs.

The whole experience was gradual, spreading across four years. But now I'm confident enough to cook the meat as I want it and when I want it. A lot of it has to do with this Kashmiri cookbook that I had stumbled across. Anyhow, the fact that I could finally mix and match with mutton, gave birth to this delicious recipe.

Elbow me © Cookaroo
It's pretty straightforward this recipe is. Make a keema-matar with Indian spices. Boil your pasta. Whisk a bechamel sauce and grate your cheese. Layer. Bake. Eat.

The macaroni adds this awesome texture to the keema, making it a one-pot meal that can be made in the morning and popped into the oven once you're back from work. And then, if you're like my husband, pour a bit of ketchup on your plate, lace the Keemaroni with a bit of Tabasco and dig in. Seriously don't go by these strange pictures, truly make this.

Fasta Pasta © Cookaroo
Keemaroni (Minced lamb in Indian spices with macaroni in a bechamel sauce)


For the Keema
500 gms minced lamb/keema
100 gms peas (I used frozen)
2 tblsp oil
2 medium onions, finely chopped
1 tomato, finely chopped
2 green chillies split in the middle
1 bay leaf
2 large black cardamoms
2 small green cardamoms
1 tsp cumin seeds
4 cloves
1 tsp coriander powder
1 tsp cumin powder
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 to 1 tsp red chilli powder (depending how hot you like it)
1 cup water
Salt to taste
A handful of coriander leaves chopped

For the Macaroni
1 packet Elbow macaroni
2 tblsps butter
1 tblsp all purpose flour
4 cups milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp tobasco
Salt and pepper to taste

And any cheese lying in your fridge is fine for the topping.


For the keema

1. Wash your minced meat and set aside to dry. Heat a large pan and add the oil to it. Add the bayleaf, cardamom pods and cloves to it. Stir for 30 seconds. Add the cumin seeds and let it splutter. Add the green chillies which have been split from the center.

2. Add the onion and saute until they begin to caramelise a bit, add tomatoes. Saute for 4 to 5 minutes, until the tomatoes lose it's acidity. Add the turmeric powder, cumin powder, coriander powder, chilli powder and a little salt, saute for another minute and add the keema.

3. When the keema starts to change colour add the peas and the water. Cover and let it cook for atleast 30 minutes or until done. Check for seasoning. Add the coriander leaves.

For the macaroni

1. Bring a pot of water to the boil. Add salt and a couple of drops of oil. Throw in the pasta. Let it cook for 10-12 minutes, or until done.

2. Meanwhile, make the bechamel sauce. In a large saucepan, melt the butter and add the flour, stir around low flame, till the roux thickens, but does not change colour. Add half the milk and whisk with a balloon whisk till smooth.

3. Increase the flame to medium, stir in the remaining milk and add the Worcestershire and Tabasco and salt and pepper, let it cook until the desired consistency.

For assembly

1. Take out one cup of the bechamel sauce and keep aside. Mix the macaroni into the bechamel and stir till all  elbows are coated well.

2. In a baking dish, put one layer of the pasta in bechamel sauce and put all the keema-matar (minced meat) on top. Top with the remaining layer. At this point this dish can go into the fridge for upto 24 hours.

3. When you're ready to bake, pour the reserved cup of bechamel on top of the layered keemaroni and top with cheese. Bake at 200 degrees for 30 minutes. Serve hot!

Now what do you think? © Cookaroo

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  1. This is such a cool idea - loved it!! The pics excite me :) Wonderful one dish meal


  2. Even though I do not eat lamb, the photographs are super inviting :-)

  3. Great Idea..looks really appetizing!
    I make a lasagna which is quite similar to this- almost the same recipe..except that its a lasagna...you must try it out someday...

    1. Oh Lasagna is an awesome Idea, do post quickly so I can chepofy the recipe :)

  4. I can imagine n feel the taste of Macaroni combined with Kheema, must be justtt awesomely delicious. ryt?? Loved the clicks
    On Going Event EP Series Basil or Cardamom @Cook-Ezee

    1. Oh I cannot tell you how much I love this. I make it in the morning and come back, pop it in the oven and by the time I've showered and changed it's ready to eat!