Masala pasta – Delicious, spicy, and flavor packed – This Indian style pasta recipe ticks all the boxes for an extraordinary meal and will have you coming back for more! The quick and easy feature makes it the ultimate weeknight family dinner!
Which is the most-loved, highly addictive savory food in the world? My answer is ‘pasta’. Truth to be told, I’m always fascinated with the versatility of this simple ingredient.
This Indian version of pasta, also known as masala pasta, came about on a super busy day when the last thing I wanted to do was cooking an elaborate meal. So, that evening, as soon as I came back home, I placed two pots on the stove and filled them with plenty of water. And a bit of salt, just for seasoning. One for pasta, and the other one for poaching the chicken.
While I was waiting for the water to come to a rolling boil, I started prepping all the other ingredients. When the water boiled, I added in pasta and waited for it to cook ‘al dente’. Once in a while, I gave it a stir just to ensure even cooking.
Whenever I cook pasta, I boil the pasta and make the sauce at the same time. Yes, it’s a huge time saver. Plus, I don’t need to worry about the strands sticking to each other. As soon as the pasta is cooked, it goes straight into the sauce ready to soak in all the great flavors.
And don’t forget the chicken. Cut into small pieces, so it’ll cook really quick. When chicken is ready, drain and shred into bite-sized pieces.
Now, let’s go back to the sauce of our masala pasta. This sauce is all about the lip-smacking combo of spices and your favorite veggies. It starts with a quick spluttering of cumin seeds followed by sautéing of onions, garlic and green chilies. The ground spices – turmeric, coriander and garam masala – adds an immense amount of flavor to the sauce.
I choose mushrooms to go with my pasta, but you can add any veggies you like including carrots, broccoli, green peas and bell peppers (capsicums). Again, this is a tomato-based sauce, so you’ll need to add canned tomatoes or fresh chopped tomatoes.
Now, remember to reserve a cup of pasta water. I mean, the water in which you cooked your pasta. Add this water to your pasta. Trust me, it makes a huge difference in the final outcome. Lastly, for me, no pasta would be perfect without a generous dose of fresh herbs. In this Indian style pasta recipe, I used basil, but mint makes a great addition, too!
And that’s it! Super easy, right? In short, this masala pasta is always a winner in my house. Why not make this for your loved ones?
- 350g pasta of your choice
- 400g boneless chicken, cut into cubes
- 1 tbsp oil (olive oil preferred)
- ½ tsp cumin seeds
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 green chilies, chopped
- ¼ tsp ground turmeric (turmeric powder)
- 2 tsp ground coriander (coriander powder)
- 1 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp red chili powder
- 2 tbsp tomato paste (tomato puree)
- 250g button mushrooms, chopped
- ¾ cup canned tomatoes (see notes)
- ½ cup water
- 1 tbsp chopped basil leaves (see notes)
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Grated parmesan, to garnish (optional)
- Basil leaves, to garnish (optional)
- Place a large pot of salted water over high flame. When it comes to the boil, add pasta. Cook, for 8-10 minutes or al dente. Drain. Set aside. Reserve 1 cup pasta water.
- Place a large pan of water over high heat. Add chicken. Season with salt. When water comes to the boil, reduce to medium heat, and simmer for 5-6 minutes or until chicken pieces are cooked through. Drain. Shred the chicken. Set aside.
- Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add cumin seeds, and allow to splutter. Add onions. Saute for 2-3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Add garlic and green chilies. Saute until aromatic. Add ground turmeric, coriander, garam masala and chili powder. Saute for a minute.
- Add tomato paste. Fry for a few seconds. Add mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until tender. Stir in canned tomatoes. Season with salt. Simmer for 1-2 minutes. Add shredded chicken. Add enough pasta water to make a thick sauce. Stir in cooked pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
- Add basil. Season with salt and pepper. Transfer to serving bowls. Garnish with basil leaves and grated parmesan, if you like.
- If fresh basil leaves are not available, use dried basil or substitute with mint.
- To make this as a vegetarian meal, add more veggies like carrots, broccoli and green peas.
- To make this recipe gluten free, use gluten free pasta