Us Pakistani people just make our own version of every darn dish. That’s just what we do. Keema macaroni or “Minced meat macaroni” is our very own fusion pasta recipe. And i mean of course, sure, you can eat this with spaghetti too. But elbow pasta just callssss to us cz that’s how ours Moms made it!
It’s usually made with mixing some left over Keema (minced beef), boiled macaroni and some sauces together. Basically our way of re-purposing leftovers. But the cravings are real! And when you need a big batch of Keema macaroni, you gotta make it from scratch. Its so frikkin simple, and quick, and kid friendly, and yum and comforting…..that I….lost my train of thought…ok so ..here goes
How to make Keema Macaroni
Preparing the Keema base
So you can of course make this with any kinda minced meat you have at hand. Lamb, beef, mutton, chicken. Chicken will take less time to cook and the other 3 will take longer. That’s the only difference, all other ingredients stay the same. I’m making my version with beef.
Start by browning some onions in oil. It doesn’t have to be a perfect brown. Just brown enough.
Add in your beef, and garlic ginger paste. Saute the mince at high flame till all the water from the beef evaporates. This step is IMPORTANT!
Note: Always dry out water from beef at high heat in the beginning. This ensure that all bacteria etc are killed. Secondly, beef can have a certain smell that will not linger if you make sure all the water evaporates before adding spices.
When all the water from the beef evaporates, it’ll look the picture above. And you will see oil separated on the sides.
Add in your spices and chopped tomatoes. You can also add canned tomatoes instead. Saute the spices, tomatoes, and beef for about 2 to 3 mins at medium flame. Then add water and cover the lid. This meat will cook roughly for 30 mins in a normal pot. You can also use a pressure cooker or instant pot instead.
After 30 mins of cooking at medium flame, the water will have reduced and you will see oil separating on the sides again. If you don’t, increase the flame and saute till you see a mild oil separation. Your beef base is ready.
If you already have some left over Keema, this is where you can start to follow the recipe.
Disclaimer: IF you are using some of your own left over Mince for this recipe, make sure it was made WITHOUT yogurt. The yogurt based mince doesn’t sit well with the flavors of this recipe.
I’ve also followed the following steps with some left-over Chicken tikka, so that’s always an option too!
I add about 2 cups of any veggies that I have at hand for this recipe. Just make sure your veggies are finely chopped/shredded. I used chopped bell peppers and shredded carrots for my recipe.
Saute for another 2 to 3 mins.
Making the sauce.
So the sauce is pretty basic with tomato paste, soy sauce etc. No vinegar because the tomatoes are acidic enough. I add half of the sauces in my veggie meat mix and reserve half for later. Then I add in all of my par-boiled pasta.
TIP: For any kind of minced meat pasta, chose pasta that has a small size, like macaroni or Conchiglie (sea shell pasta) or rigatoni. Even spaghetti because its thin. Chunkier larger pasta varieties don’t work well with meat. So I’d definitely recommend to avoid Fettuccine or Penne pasta with this recipe.
Once all the pasta is added and mixed well. I cover the pot and let it rest for 10 mins. THEN I add the remaining half of my sauce. This just ensures my pasta is saucy and not dried out. You can of course add more sauce if you want, or a whole bottle of ketchup. (ya know…whatever works for you)
Serve this hot, with some coriander for garnish, or maybe not. And dig right in.
Can we freeze it?
You can definitely freeze the meat mix. Bring it out whenever you are ready to make more macaroni. Thaw it in a microwave and add to macaroni directly. The fully assembled dish however, can only be refrigerated. Lasts for 5 days easy in the fridge.
Alternates, Fixes, and Remixes
Substitutions and Remixes
- Like I said earlier, you can make this recipe with any mince meat or poultry available to you. Use half quantity of water for chicken/turkey mince.
- You can use canned tomatoes instead of fresh ones.
- Use Chicken tikka instead of the meat.
How to make this dish more Nutritious for your health.
- Use whole wheat organic pasta.
- Utilize fresh tomatoes and tomato paste.
- Use organic meat.
- For sauces, go for the low sodium Soy sauce.
- Use olive oil/ coconut oil or ghee for cooking the meat.
- Increase the levels of veggies in there.
- For a vegetarian version, substitute with meat with finely chopped cauliflower.
Dried out pasta.
- The pasta tends to dry out in the fridge and as it cools down. You can add a splash of water or sauce to bring it back.
- If reheating the pasta in the microwave the next day, keep a small cup of water in the microwave WITH the pasta. This will keep pasta moist and fresh.