Without a doubt, each family has got one, or two of those dishes that are done a little differently, whether it is one of those family recipes that has been passed down through the generations, or adding that ‘secret’ ingredient to sauces and pot roasts. This baked ‘Indische macaroni’ is a favorite in my family both with kids and big kids alike and it’s basically made with pantry ingredients only! Now, using only pantry ingredients is not strange in itself – and perhaps a necessity now that the measurements against the Covid-19 pandemic are getting stricter – but what if I told you that my grandmother would not use regular milk, nor a carton of whipped cream to make that ‘creamy’ sauce? My grandmother’s ‘secret ingredient’, if you could call it that, was about half a tin of sweetened condensed milk (Yes. You did read that title right). Now… that’s a little strange. Perhaps a little retro. It kind of works, though.
This dish definitely belongs in the category ‘odd things my family eats’. From having a look around the web, most people (let’s say all) seem to make ‘macaroni schotel’ with a combination of milk, eggs and some kind of ham. My grandmother did not only use sweet condensed milk, but cut up hot dogs instead of ham as well – but we all love those, don’t we?
I am really not sure why she chose to use these ingredients, but oma was prone to use random ingredients in many different dishes and this is definitely not the only dish with cut up hot dogs inside. I guess she just used whatever she had lying around – she did have to feed 5 kids after all – and the food always turned out great! As it turns out, the condensed milk and generous amount of very thinly sliced onions create a lovely sweet flavor which goes surprisingly well with the salty cheese (use an aged cheese) and pieces of processed meat.
Another ‘odd’ aspect of this dish is the ‘Indische’ (referring to a connection with colonial culture of the former Dutch East Indies) in the title. Macaroni, or any of the other ingredients are neither Indonesian, nor are they particularly Dutch, but this is a dish that undoubtedly came to Indonesia by way of the Dutch colonizers and their descendants. Nowadays, recipes for this dish have been passed down through the generations and despite the potentially problematic history of the dish, it has become a real classic in many Indo (mixed Dutch and Indonesian descent) families… The one passed down in my family is just a little odd!
My Grandmother’s ‘Indische Macaroni’ (Baked Macaroni with Condensed Milk and Hot Dogs
- 500g elbow macaroni
- 200g full cream sweetened condensed milk
- 250g hot dogs, thinly sliced
- 2 medium size yellow onion, very very thinly sliced
- 200g grated aged Gouda cheese, or aged Cheddar
- ¼ teaspoon salt, or more to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Needed: Large oven dish
- Prepare: Preheat the oven to 180°C. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.
- Prepare the ingredients: cut the hotdogs into thin slices and cut the onions in half and then into very very thin slices (See photograph in post for reference). Set aside.
- Cook the macaroni al dente in the boiling salted water according to the instructions on the package. When the macaroni is done, drain well and return to the pot, or your oven dish.
- While the macaroni is still hot, pour in 200g of the sweetened condensed milk and stir. Check if the macaroni is well coated with the cream and if it looks glossy and moist. You can add a bit more of the cream if you like, but be aware that adding more cream will increase the sweetness of the dish – I would not add more than two-thirds (max!) of the tin.
- Add the other ingredients: Stir the sliced hotdogs, onions, salt and a generous amount of black pepper through the pan of macaroni. Now pour, or scoop all the ingredients into a large oven dish.
- Add cheese: Mix about half of the grated cheese (100g) through the macaroni-mixture in the oven dish, but don’t stir it all too well; it’s nice to discover little puddles, or chunks of melted cheese throughout the dish. Sprinkle the remaining half of grated cheese over the top to create the crust.
- Bake: Place the oven dish into the pre-heated oven for 25 - 30 minutes, or until the cheese has formed a nice golden crust and the macaroni has started to stick together slightly.