MUMBAI [PUMPKIN] MAC N CHEESE! So excited to share this new recipe for your #Thanksgiving menu this year. This Mac n Cheese is inspired by my family’s roots in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India, as well as all of the classic pumpkin Mac n Cheese recipes!
In Maharashtra, we make an Indian spiced pumpkin dish (bhopla chi bhaji) that is simple yet flavorful. Fresh chunks of pumpkin are cooked and caramelized in fenugreek, tamarind, red chilies, salt, and sugar. It’s sweet, savory and spicy! I used these exact spices (used coconut sugar to keep it refined sugar free) to create a cheesy pumpkin roux (sauce) for the Mac n Cheese. I combined the Indian spiced pumpkin (puréed) with ghee, coconut cream, garlic, and sharp cheddar cheese (can also use nutritional yeast to keep it dairy free). It created a wonderfully rich and complex roux: cheesy, creamy, and with a garlicky and spicy kick! .
I tossed gluten free macaroni elbows (I used Jovial Foods grain free macaroni elbows) in this rich sauce, put it in a casserole dish, topped it with more cheese for a nice crust, and baked it in the oven at 400 for 10-20 minutes. I garnished everything with fresh cilantro and extra crushed red pepper. It was DIVINE! Indian/American comfort food at its best! This NEEDS to be a part of your thanksgiving dinner. Can’t wait for you to try it!
Mumbai [Pumpkin] Mac n Cheese
- 2 cups pureed pumpkin
- 2 tbsp arrowroot powder
- 1 cup coconut cream dairy-free milk, or regular milk
- 1 cup shredded cheese I used sharp cheddar or ¾ cup nutritional yeast
- 2 tsp grated garlic or 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp fenugreek methi leaves
- 1 tsp tamarind paste gluten-free – I use Pure Indian Foods
- 1-2 tbsp coconut sugar
- 1 tbsp unsalted butter or ghee
- ¼ tsp cayenne powder or red chili powder or more to taste
- ½ tsp salt or more to taste
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 1 box ~10 oz of gluten-free macaroni elbows (or pasta of choice)
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese for topping
- ¼ tsp red pepper flakes for topping optional
- Chopped cilantro or parsley for topping optional
- Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees F.
- In a high-speed blender, combine pumpkin puree, and arrowroot starch.
- Pour puree into a pot on medium heat. Add in coconut cream, garlic, fenugreek leaves, tamarind paste, coconut sugar, ghee, cayenne powder, salt, and pepper.
- Stir mixture frequently and let it all come together on medium-high heat. The sauce should thicken quite a bit over time.
- Once everything is combined, taste and adjust spices as needed (to taste). I added in more spice, for example.
- Add in shredded cheese and stir frequently until completely melted and combined with the sauce. Set sauce aside (remove from heat).
- Meanwhile, in a stockpot cook your macaroni. Drain when finished.
- Add cooked macaroni to the sauce and stir gently to combine (be careful not to break pasta while stirring).
- Pour mac n cheese into a casserole dish. Top with extra shredded cheese.
- Place casserole dish in the oven for 5-10 minutes or until cheese is melty and bubbling.
- Remove and garnish with cilantro or parsley, and crushed red pepper.
- Serve immediately and enjoy!