Jalapeno Mac and Cheese Bites

Yield: serves 4
Active time: 1 hour
Total time: 3 hours


For the mac & cheese
2 tablespoons plain flour
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whole milk
4 tablespoons pickled green jalapenos, diced
4 tablespoons pickled red jalapenos, diced
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup grated mozzarella/cheddar mix
250 grams macaroni
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon paprika
2 litres oil, for deep frying

For the habanero and tomato salsa
½ white onion, diced
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 Habanero pepper, whole
½ cup water
1 small garlic clove
1/4 teaspoon salt

To garnish
2 tablespoons pickled red jalapenos, sliced
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped


Make the mac & cheese
Line a large tray or plate that will fit in the fridge. Cook the macaroni al dente in a large saucepan, then drain and put to one side.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, then add the flour. Stir for a few minutes, then gradually add the milk, stirring it until smooth after each addition. Once all of the milk has been added, cook the sauce for a few minutes, stirring constantly, then add the diced jalapenos and shredded cheese. Cook until all of the cheese is melted, then take off the heat and tip in the drained pasta. Mix well.

Put the panko and paprika into a mixing bowl and stir together. Take bitesize spoonfuls of the macaroni mixture and place them into the breadcrumbs. Spoon a light dusting of breadcrumbs on top, then transfer the mac and cheese bite to the prepared tray. Repeat with the rest, then chill in the fridge for 2 hours.

Make the habanero and tomato salsa
Put the vegetable oil and onion into a small saucepan and cook for a few minutes over a gentle heat. Add the tomatoes, whole habanero and half a cup of water and bring to a boil. Simmer for 30 minutes then switch off the heat. Add the garlic and salt, then use a small food processor or stick blender to blitz the salsa into a smooth sauce

Cook the mac n cheese bites
Once the mac and cheese bites have chilled for 2 hours, put the cooking oil into a large saucepan and heat to 350F. Cook a few bites at a time, until golden brown, then drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the rest.

To serve
Arrange the mac and cheese bites on a serving platter and top with sliced red jalapenos, spring onions and chopped cilantro. Serve with the habanero sauce for dipping.