Navi Kitchen Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese


An instant classic at chef Preeti Mistry's latest Oakland restaurant, Navi Kitchen, this tikka masala mac & cheese is the embodiment of the chef's style: Cali-cool mashed up with traditional Indian flavors. To really capture the chef's super fresh results, toast and grind whole spices with a mortar and pestle or in a coffee grinder.

Navi Kitchen Tikka Masala Macaroni and Cheese
Photo: Greg Dupree, Food Styling: Mary Claire Britton, Prop Styling: Kathleen Varner
Active Time:
25 mins
Total Time:
25 mins
8 serves


  • 8 green cardamom pods

  • 2 black cardamom pods

  • 1 (3-in.) cinnamon stick

  • 8 whole cloves

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fenugreek seeds

  • 1 tablespoon Indian red chile powder (Kashmiri chile powder)

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger

  • 6 garlic cloves, minced (about 2 Tbsp.)

  • 1 (6-oz.) can tomato paste

  • 2 cups heavy cream

  • 1/4 cup water

  • 1 cup sour cream

  • 4 ounces Cheddar cheese, coarsely grated (about 1½ cups)

  • 6 ounces Gouda cheese, coarsely grated (about 1 3/4 cups), divided

  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tsp. kosher salt, divided

  • 1 pound uncooked elbow macaroni


  1. Place cardamom, cinnamon stick, cloves, and fenugreek in a small skillet over medium. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  2. Transfer toasted spices to a clean coffee grinder, and pulse until finely ground (or use a mortar and pestle). Stir in the chile powder; set aside.

  3. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium. Add ginger and garlic; cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add reserved spice mixture, tomato paste, cream, and water to saucepan, and cook, whisking constantly, until tomato paste dissolves. Simmer until bubbles form around the edge, about 5 minutes. Whisk in sour cream, Cheddar, and 4 ounces of the Gouda. Cook, stirring often, until cheeses melt and sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes. Stir in 2 teaspoons of the salt. Reduce heat to low, and keep warm.

  5. Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil, and season with remaining 1/4 cup salt. Add macaroni; cook according to package directions. Drain pasta and return to pot. Add the cheese sauce, and stir well to combine. Transfer mixture to a broiler-safe baking dish.

  6. Preheat broiler. Top pasta mixture with remaining 2 ounces Gouda; broil 3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve immediately.


Tikka Masala Macaroni & Cheese recipe reprinted with permission from The Juhu Beach Club Cookbook © 2017 by Preeti Mistry with Sarah Henry, Running Press

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