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Thai Curry Mac and Cheese


Another idea for the name was "Bastard Curry Mac and Cheese" because this curry paste is all over the place. You could consider it derived from a Thai red or green curry, but no curry paste I know of contains beets or tomato paste! A lot of people ask me why I don't use packaged curry pastes when I cook. It seems to be a perfectly acceptable ingredient, even among some Thai people I have spoken to. The reason for me is because after you make the paste a few times, you can really begin to understand the flavor combinations. Instead of just a long list of pointless ingredients, you can actually see the purpose of each ingredient in the recipe and change things to suit your particular needs.

Last night, some friends gathered for the new season of The Office and Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Mandi and I came up with this wacky idea of a recipe (She is in town for a wedding) and cooked it as an experiment for the group. We both loved it, others thought it was good too, but a few didn't. I would say it had about a 50% success rate. Some said that the curry flavors were fighting with the cheese since cheese and curry normally don't go together.

We found this galangal at the store and were excited to try it. In the past, I have claimed that I have trouble discerning the difference between this ingredient and ginger, so I was pumped to try them side by side.

They had all sorts of ginger at the place we went. Most recipes would probably have only one of these 3 in them, but we were having fun tasting the differences and decided to add them all.

The first batch in the food processor. This also has cumin and coriander buried below.

The second batch

The second batch had beets, mostly to enhance the color.

Playing with our food.

The third batch was lemongrass, cilantro, and basil.

The forth thing in the bowl is tomato paste.

Hey Mandi!

Deep, dark, beautiful red curry.

The curry fries for a minute, then add the coconut milk.

We choose manchego for a sharp bite, Blanco for a bland/sour cheesyness, and jack for creamyness.

After I removed the chicken, I whisked in the cheese.

Why am I whisking chicken?

After the pasta cooked half way in the boiling water, I added the cauliflower so it would blanch for a minute.

Halved tomatoes finish it off.

Add breadcrumbs to the top.  We didn't need to add all this cheese up here, but Rich had the grater when I wasn't looking.

Bastard Curry Paste
1 beet
5 large red chiles
5 small red chiles
15 dried red chiles (arbol or thai bird)
7 shallots
5 garlic cloves
2 inches of ginger
1 inch galangal
3 lemongrass stalks
7 sprigs cilantro, stems and all
4 sprigs basil, stems and all
zest and juice 1 lime
half small can tomato paste
tablespoon cumin
tablespoon coriander

The Mac and Cheese
6 chicken legs
2 cans coconut milk
2 cups cheese-blend of manchego, blanco, and jack
2 cups breadcrumbs
cherry tomatoes chopped in half

After you make the paste by blending up all of the paste ingredients above, fry the paste for 4 to 5 minutes in 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add the coconut milk and bring to boil. Turn the heat low and add the chicken. Simmer for 45 minutes. Bring pasta water to a boil. Remove the chicken and reduce the sauce for 15 minutes. Pull apart the chicken and discard the skin and bones Remove 2 ladles of the sauce and reserve. Drop pasta. Slowly whisk in cheese to curry sauce. Drop chopped cauliflower into pasta water. When pasta still has bite, about 3 minutes less than it says on the box, strain it and the cauliflower. Mix with the curry sauce, pulled chicken pieces, and tomatoes. If it seems dry, add some of the reserved curry sauce. Cover with breadcrumbs and bake at 400 for 20 minutes until it is bubbly and crispy on top.


Your blog is such an inspiration!!!!
I love Indian, thai and mexican food and i have a long list of your recipies that i will try out in the near future.
I have already tried out your Timpano..(not the advanced one yet)It tasted great!!
Thank you so much.
I look forward to try out some more:)
Have a nice weekend

Anja from norway

This recipe looks AMAZING! I have to try this soon. Truly inspirational cooking :) Thank you.

Your originality is pretty amazing. You're so creative in the kitchen! It's really great.

I have tried many of your creations and they all are spot on, as a result I'm at your site daily. This recipe looks amazing and I have always been a fan of red curry. I wanted to ask you before I attempted to try the recipe, would pineapples have a chance to be added to the dish without utterly destroying the taste. If not I understand, but if so when do you think I should add them in the process?

i think this would have been better with beef and rice, or even elbows or shells. (more places to trap cheese!!)

thanks for cooking for us this week!!!! yum!

What beautiful colours! Chicken legs are my favorite part of the chicken. They are so delicious slow baked in the oven with onion, garlic & oregano. Of course with some olive oil, salt & pepper too. The fat that renders out just has so much flavour that if you throw in some potatoes they soak them all up :)


What a waste of space! Why on earth do you think all those photos are necessary? Just because digital "photography" is easy doesn't mean it should be done over and over again and over again.

THINK, does this picture make it easier to cook this recipe?

Less is more.


Just because any 5 year old can use a computer and type a nasty comment does not mean you should do it.

THINK, if you dont like the website, dont come. stop being a hater for no good reason!

I have been thinking of doing a beet curry for the last week or so, I'm inspired to go for it now!

Why not with thai cheese or at least Thai made cheese. A Thai cheese company in Bangkok that makes local cheese euro style and you try and find way to mix it with Thai food.

Like white cheese and bazil or cream cheese with chili etc...they natural and preimium locally made cheese for more info. I'll buy Thai flavor cheese if u make it

People are ignorant. Oh, wait....maybe I'm the ignorant one because I ENJOY all of your photos. There are people, like me, who aren't so culinary inclined and actually need the pics to make sure that I'm not f***ing up. Thank you for this recipe. I can't wait to try!

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