Deep fried mac 'n' cheese with spiced ketchup

Hip to be square: It's a bit hard to go past deep-fried mac and cheese.
Hip to be square: It's a bit hard to go past deep-fried mac and cheese. Photo: David Reist

I suspect hipsters may put pressure on our shrinking health care system in the not too distant future, if foods like deep-fried mac 'n' cheese, bacon-wrapped hot dogs and tater tots are a major part of their food intake. Granted, these all sound like pretty good snacks to have with a glass of coconut curry hefeweizen. So having just taken into my possession a benchtop deep-fryer, let's give it a go. Note: Prepare mac squares in advance as they need to freeze ahead of frying.


For macaroni and cheese

300g macaroni

50g butter

50g plain flour

2 cup milk

100g grated gruyere

150g grated cheddar

50g parmesan

1/2 tsp salt

Good grind black pepper

Pinch of cayenne pepper

1tbsp Dijon mustard


2 eggs, well beaten

Panko bread crumbs

Peanut, grapeseed or sunflower oil for deep frying

Extra grated parmesan for garnish.

Some bacon (optional)

For spiced tomato and herb ketchup

1kg ripe tomatoes

Olive oil

1 red onion, diced

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 tsp dried chilli

90ml red wine vinegar

50ml sugar

Oregano, parsley, basil, all or any chopped fine



For ketchup

Saute onion and garlic in oil until soft, add chilli, vinegar and sugar, then cook down until the sauce is reduced by two thirds. Stir in tomatoes, cook over a very low heat until it is thick and stir in the herbs. Pulse with a blender to a chunky sauce.

For mac and cheese

1. Line and grease a loaf tin or casserole dish. Cook the pasta as directed. Meanwhile, melt butter and add flour after a minute or so, stirring quickly so no lumps form, and cook for another minute.

2. Add milk and bring to simmer squashing out anything lumpy. Lower the heat and cook for 20 minutes, stirring regularly. This bechamel sauce should be pretty thick but still flowing.

3. Add salt, pepper and mustard along with the cooked and still hot pasta.

4. Then add the cheese, slowly so that it melts but mindful that heat is the key to continuing the melt.

5. Have the lined, greased loaf tin ready. Pour in the pasta so that it is about an old-fashioned inch thick. Cover and chill completely.

6. Turn out and cut into cubes. Arrange separately on a tray, cover with cling film and freeze for an hour or two.

7. Place the flour, then eggs and finally the breadcrumbs, in three separate bowls.

8. Dust the cubes of mac and cheese in flour, shake. Dip them into the beaten eggs. Drain and dredge in breadcrumbs.

9. Heat the oil to 175C. Cook the mac and cheese cubes in batches that won’t crowd the fryer. Fry until they are crispy and have that golden brown look.

10. Serve sprinkled with parmesan and home-made tomato ketchup.

Optional: add some crispy fried bacon, finely chopped to the mixture with the cheese. This will be a powerful pheromone to any hipsters ironically hanging out nearby, so be very careful, you’ve been warned!