More and more mayo is not the answer to a great classic Macaroni Salad. The secret is to salt the pasta cooking water VERY well. AND…. my Australian TV debut!!!!!!!!!!
Today started out like any other day, but ended up being unlike any other. At 5.30 am, Dozer was breathing his stinky breath 2 inches from my face, dancing around so he was tapping his nails on the wooden floors (oh, he wouldn’t dare bark) indicating breakfast time, breakfast time! I pulled on my favourite daggy jeans and comfortable top, fed Dozer, then popped out for my caffeine fix at my local little coffee shop that I can’t live without.
3 hours later, I was seated in hair and make up at the Channel 10 TV studio with a glam squad transforming me from ordinary to TV ready in a mere 20 minutes for Studio 10, one of Australia’s top morning talk shows.
!!!!!!!!!!!! Cooking live on TV!!!!!!!!!!!!
There can never be enough exclamation marks!!!
Backstory: A couple of months ago, I was asked by MAGGI Noodles to create some recipes to show people how they can use 2 minute noodles to make quick, wholesome meals for the family. It’s so easy to pass judgement and say 2 minute noodles are a cheat, but in all honesty, for those of us who are time pressed, having a few back-pocket ways to use MAGGI noodles to make veggie loaded meals really quickly is a life saver.
So in a nutshell, I created a few recipes for MAGGI (One Pan Baked Chicken and Veggie Noodles, Crunchy Noodle Salad and Mee Goreng Malaysian Stir Fried Noodles) and then woah…. I was asked to appear on Studio 10 to do a cooking demo for Mee Goreng!!!!!!!
I haven’t even seen the segment myself. But I’m told it will be uploaded online then I’ll share it. 🙂
Sorry for the detour from the regular foodie talk of today’s recipe. But……. excitement radar – off the charts!!!
OK – back to it. Macaroni Salad.
I think you’d be hard pressed to find an Aussie who hasn’t had Macaroni Salad in some form. Whether from the deli at the local supermarket, or posh version from gourmet stores, it’s a staple – especially in summer.
And if you’ve ever been unimpressed by the overly mayo-heavy, overly sour or overly sweet or overly oily store bought version, here’s a classic Macaroni Salad that I think you’ll really love!
From the asking around I did at the dog park (yes, that’s where I get alot of recipe ground work done), it sounds like there’s this misconception that you need ALOT of mayo to make a great Macaroni Salad, thinking that mayo is the key to flavour.
But actually, in my personal opinion, mayo is not the answer. Well, mayo is needed – for a classic Macaroni Salad dressing. But to get more flavour into your Macaroni Salad and therefore use less mayo, the key is to salt your pasta cooking water very well.
Honestly, it makes such a difference! I use 1.5 tablespoons for every 4 to 5 litres of water for 250g / 1/2 lb uncooked pasta. And 1/3 cup of mayonnaise + 1/3 cup sour cream. Using a combination of sour cream (or yoghurt) with the mayo goes a long way to lighten up that dressing, but you won’t miss the extra mayo when the macaroni has been cooked in salted water.
I’ve kept this Macaroni Salad classic (Australian classic!). That means, as much as I was tempted, no bacon, no egg, no pickles, no charred red peppers, no chicken, no olives etc etc. I like using grated carrot, capsicum / bell peppers, shallots / scallions for freshness (or red onion), and I really like using celery for a bit of fresh crunch.
The possibilities are endless when it comes to Macaroni Salad add-ins. So I opted to stick with the classic – for now. The classic that is almost mandatory to make an appearance at every Aussie summer BBQ. I haven’t included all those add ins that would make the flavour even more intense so it’s a great side dish, which is what this is intended to be. – Nagi x
PS In case you are wondering, no I didn’t burn anything or trip or spill anything, or otherwise make a fool of myself on TV (that I know if, but as I said, I haven’t seen it yet)!!!
This is just a great classic, Macaroni Salad. It's not too heavy or greasy - you get extra flavour from cooking the macaroni in salted water. I don't like mine too sour or too sweet. Feel free to go wild with add ins! This recipe is for a classic side because if you serve this with heavily flavoured mains, lighter sides pair better. Serves 4 as a meal, 8 as a side. Recipe VIDEO below.
- 250 g / 1/2 lb macaroni elbow pasta
- 1 1/2 tbsp salt
- 1 cup finely sliced celery
- 3/4 cup finely diced red capsicum / bell peppers
- ¾ cup finely sliced shallots / scallions / green onions
- 1 medium carrot , grated (using standard box grater)
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise , whole egg
- 1/3 cup sour cream (can sub full fat plain yoghurt)
- 1 tbsp cider vinegar
- 2 tsp Dijon mustard
- 2 tsp sugar
- 3/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1 1/4 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
Bring large pot of water to the boil - 4 to 5 litres / quarts. Add salt then add pasta. Cook per packet directions.
Drain pasta then cool.
Meanwhile, mix Dressing ingredients in a bowl.
Place pasta in a bowl. Add remaining Macaroni Salad ingredients. Pour over Dressing.
Toss. Adjust salt / sugar / sour (vinegar) / mayo to taste. I adjust mayo & sour cream in equal amounts right at the end if serving people who like extra creamy.
Set aside for at least 20 minutes. Then serve at room temperature (not cold). It's great the next day too!
1. Lots of add-in potential here. Bacon, ham, egg, grated cheese, chicken, olives, diced chillies - go wild! But if this is for a side dish with other strong flavoured mains, I'd urge you to consider sticking with the a fairly classic version. 🙂 I love KAPOW flavours, but there is such thing as too much in a meal!
2. NON MAYO DRESSING option: I really feel that Macaroni Salad's do require some mayo but if you are really mayo adverse or can't have it, then use more sour cream (instead of mayo, same qty), add 2 tbsp olive oil, and extra flavourings as follows: 1 tsp sugar, 1/4 tsp garlic powder, more salt & pepper (because mayo has more flavour than sour cream). Yoghurt is also a healthier option.
3. Nutrition per serving, assuming 8 servings as a side (about 3/4 cup, good amount!)
WATCH HOW TO MAKE IT
LIFE OF DOZER
When I leave Dozer indoors when I’m out all day and it’s been raining (damn that dog door!!!!).