Spicy Spaghetti with Indian Spices

Throughout the past, spices sacrificed India. Spice routes were formed, land was looted, blood was shed and a lot was lost due to others’ search of Indian spices. After all that sacrifice, you would think that adding spices would receive approval and appreciation. It seems not. Particularly adding spices to “pasta” group. Some sneer at any effort to spice up the spaghetti sauce. Sprinkle Indian spices, the severe sermons start. “Do not violate the sanctity of spaghetti with garam masala, it’s sacrilegious to spaghetti sauce”, they lament and ridicule the efforts.

If you disagree with this thought process, then this recipe is for you. The bland spaghetti mingles with moderately Indian-spiced tomato-garlic sauce. And the end result is delightful tummy filler, worthy of India’s spice sacrifice. Spices are no small matter. Long live spices. May they always enliven our food and guard our health!

Spicy Spaghetti with Steamed Vegetables
Spicy Spaghetti with Steamed Vegetables on the Side

Spicy Spaghetti with Indian Spices
(for 4 generous servings)

1 tablespoon, olive oil
1/4 teaspoon, cumin seeds
1/4 cup, Kasuri methi
1 small red onion or shallot, finely chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 cup of diced carrots and fresh peas mix
4 cups, homemade or store-bought, organic tomato sauce
1 tablespoon, garam masala powder
1/2 teaspoon each – chilli powder and turmeric powder
Salt to taste

In a skillet, heat the olive oil and add to it the cumin seeds and kasuri methi. Toast on low heat to fragrance. Add onion and garlic. Saute on moderate heat. When garlic and the onion are transparent, add the vegetables and tomato sauce. Season with garam masala powder, chilli powder, turmeric and salt. Mix well and partially cover the pan. Simmer on moderate heat for about 15 minutes.

Serve the sauce hot over freshly cooked whole-wheat spaghetti for tasty, spicy spaghetti.


29 Responses to “Spicy Spaghetti with Indian Spices”

  1. Sonia@7spice says:

    Good to see you back with bowl of spaghetti! πŸ™‚ It look spicy and delicious.

  2. Lakshmi says:

    1/4 cup kasuri methi? will it not be too much? Bowl of Spaghetti with brocolli looks yummy!

  3. harini-jaya says:

    I thought so too ..1/4 cup of kasoori methi would be too much, don’t you think? spaghetti looks so yumm!

  4. Cilantro says:

    I wonder what the Italians would think of this recipe. I not a big fan of cheese so when I make them at home it is usually with an addition of some Indian spice. Looks delicious and ofcourse spicy.

  5. notyet100 says:

    platter looks delicious,..luved the writeup

  6. Padma says:

    Hi Indira – the recipe looks yummy…wouldn’t 1 tablespoon garam masala powder be too much? We love recipes with Indian touch and definitely going to try this!

  7. Lakshmi says:

    Love these Indianised versions for pasta and spaghetti. That looks so delish!

  8. Swapna says:

    That looks like an interesting recipe. Have to try this. Can you please tell me the brand of tomato sauce you use? Does it have any herb additions? Thank you..!!

  9. Claire says:

    This looks right up my alley! I’m addicted to the pizza at Bombay Pizza Company in downtown Houston and I love Chinese food with Indian spices in it too.

  10. Madhavi says:

    Indira,totally agree with you on adding spices to a pasta dish.I love to eat pasta but the storebought pasta has that bland flavour and so tangy that you’ll have to add loads of cheese to balance the tanginess.
    I always make my pasta like how we make chole only difference is I use pasta instead of chickpeas and it tastes so yummy with a slice of ciabatta bread.

  11. Malini says:

    Love your posts and recipes. This may seem a bit out of the blue but is there an OTG (Oven/Toaster/Grill, that is) you would recommend to buy in India? I’ve been inspired by your recipes to try my hand at some of your recipes!

  12. Aparna says:

    Hi Indira,

    Lovely dish and I totally agree with you that spices are important and invaluable.

    BUT why garam masala? Why not fresh basil? why not other spices and herbs that are there? why not a single spice or two? It “sounds” like spices means only that are “Indian” and that too “garam masala”. I beg to differ.

    I would have agreed with you heartily if you just presented this as a new dish, and left it there. I am somehow lamenting the argument that you gave πŸ™ I thought it was all about “simplicity” combined with authenticity? Pasta is something so religious to Italy just like how we have ceratin rice dishes. I hope you agree with the view that certain spices belong to certain cuisine based on weather, climate etc., Remember this is not a sermon. Just a view point.

    Again, I am not condemning the dish presenting a counter point to the argument you presented. and I am surprised that it came from you!!


  13. Padmaja says:

    Indira, recently, I discovered the similarity between polenta and upma, and have been serving up Indian spiced polenta to my family. I love all of our Indian American fusion recipes.

  14. Suma says:

    Aparna: By the same argument of yours, why not Garam masala? Why not a spice blend and why not something Indian? And, what is wrong with garam masala?

    Pasta/Noodles is an export from China to Italy if you go by history. Italians, like all other foodie things made pasta their own β€˜religion’. The opinion on desi food columns is always how we, Indians must preserve the spaghetti sauce integrity. They make it sound like it’s our obligation. Italian seasoning, whatever that is A-OK, experiment by adding some Indian spice blend like garam masala, forks become pitchforks. So, it’s actually refreshing to read that it’s OK to experiment, even with “Holy” pasta. You go Indira!

  15. jamie and shawn says:

    I will definitely try this! a little while ago i tried a green curry sauce over thick, short ribbons of pasta. It was marvelous, with cilantro and tofu to boot. The unorthodox can frequently present us some beautiful things. My family is Italian-American and so this was a minor departure, even I noticed it in my own initial hesitation to “daringly” combine the two, but what a fun and rewarding departure. I enjoyed the spirit of this post as well as the tasty suggestion. Look forward to trying. Thank you, as always!

  16. Aparna says:

    Suma and Indira (if you feel the same way about my post) :

    Nothing is wrong with garam masala; I like it and use it. You can add it eat it. You totally misunderstood my post. Indira’s comments always reflected and resounded simplicity and sometimes authenticity as well.(I have been a fan of her for a long time, I love her Artisan food, her mother’s recipes, her book reviews and everything from nandyala.org). She does encourage experimenting and “respects” the ingredients. Pasta is supposed to be and rightfully that kind of food where every ingredient is respected and tasted as well. Too much sauce, it is not pasta. Too much cheese it is not pasta. If anyone have seen Top Chef on Bravo (Rao’s episode)you will note there are many people who resound this.

    Simply put some items like mudda pappu, avakaya, guthi vankaya kura etc., have variations but cannot be touched for their authenticity. So I felt when I read the above post from Indira “Yet too Indira…”

    Indira specifically also said “If you disagree with this thought process, then this recipe is for you”. So,yes this recipe won’t be for me.

    I expressed my thoughts to Indira because I felt she was contradicting her previous thoughts. I hope she understands where I am coming from.


  17. Narayan says:

    This is a nice twist to the spaghetti. My mother used to make a Biryani tyle spaghetti, which we loved!!!

    She also tried to make it like Puliyogare, pulihora. That was very nice too.

  18. Cumin says:

    Now that’s something i cook often.. Great recipe.

  19. Indira says:

    Thanks all for your comments.

    Lakshmi, Harini-Jaya, Padma: kasuri methi and garam masala measurements were for 4 cups of tomato sauce. The end result tasted good.

    Swapna: The tomato sauce is homemade with my autumn tomato harvest. It’s plain sauce with no herb additions. I rarely buy tomato sauce, but some of my friends use Hunt’s brand and they say it’s good.

    Malini: I’m not familiar with current brands in India. Sorry.

    Aparna: Hope you welcome this recipe in your kitchen, try and enjoy it.

  20. Jyotsna says:

    Hi Indira ji,

    I tried out this intersting recipe of blending with Indian spices. It turned out heavenly… Thanks fro sharing such a wonderful recipe.

  21. Lakshmi says:

    Thanks Indira for clarification. How do you make tomato sauce at home? Have you blogged it before. It would be good to learn as I do not want to buy tomato sauce from stores.

  22. Janani says:

    Bit late into the party, but I love spicy spaghetti. At restaurants I always empty out their pepper flakes shaker for lack of enough spice. Perhaps next time, I’ll carry a secret box of garam masala in my purse πŸ™‚

  23. That Looks like a SUPERB bowl of Pasta with our fav side of Broccoli – this is our usual Thursday night meal – and I am totally into fusion and love your recipe!


  24. Agda says:

    I have to say that resistance is a natural reaction to any culture. The same sort of mentality applies in reverse. Try adding something that doesn’t belong in the Indian spice rack to any Indian dish and you will be subject to the criticism of any Indian cook nearby. I’ve seen arguments on “cooking violations” even among Indian people coming from different states. In the end, it’s all about taste. If it tastes good, and suits you that what matters. Conventions are just too limiting, and for the narrow-minded. Life is all about experimenting.

  25. smitha says:

    I am not a big Pasta eater but your version makes my mouth water. I will definitely try this one. Check out my creations

  26. Chaitanya says:

    Hi, My mom used to make macaroni this way with Indian spices and tomatoes- no concept of sauce back then and we used to lick it off the plates. This is comfort food anyday.

  27. Nikitha says:

    I made your version of spaghetti y’day , it was very simple to make and very delicious. Thanks a lot πŸ™‚

  28. mary says:

    I will eat a dish if it flatters my taste buds. Couldn’t care less about what is considered blasphemy in the eyes of a particular cuisines conventional approach to cooking. People who complain about the fusion between different cuisines are just being pretentious. If you like it, GREAT. if you don’t, stick to your bland dish.

  29. geet says:

    This is super amazing! i am so gonna try it.
    Will share the feedback

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