Switch Up Your Chips With Loaded Naan Nachos

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Forget everything you thought you knew about nachos and open your mind (and your mouth) to this Indian-inspired version. Crispy naan flatbread pieces serve as a sturdy and delicious stand-in for the standard tortilla chip base, and they're loaded up with generously spiced toppings that are at least as flavorful (if not more!) than their traditionally Tex-Mex counterparts.

There's no melted cheese in this recipe, which seems like nacho sacrilege, until you realize that mint chutney, mango salsa, crunchy roasted chickpeas, cool yogurt, and spiced ground lamb more than make up for it. Together, the toppings are bright, tangy, fragrant, and spicy, leaving nothing to be desired.

To start, I make the mint chutney by processing fresh bunches of cilantro and mint with jalapeño, cumin, salt, and lime juice until smooth, and then thin it with water. The jalapeño and lime juice aren't traditional, but I prefer the combination over the typical tamarind juice and green bird's eye chili here. It helps to bridge the gap between the Naan Nachos and the nachos we're accustomed to. Plus the lime and jalapeño are easier to find.

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Because the chutney relies on fresh herbs, it's best eaten relatively soon after preparing. I make it first to allow it just enough time for the tastes to meld without losing the freshness of the mint and cilantro.

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The naan chips are next, which require only a brush of oil, a sprinkle of salt, and a quick bake to golden brown. I like to use garlic naan for mine, but you can't find it, you can brush plain naan with olive oil mixed with chopped garlic instead. Make sure to use large-crystalled salt to prevent it from entirely dissolving onto the chips as its baked, and keep an eye on them to make sure they don't burn. You want the chips to be golden-brown, crispy, and sturdy enough to support a ton of toppings without breaking apart or getting soggy, but you don't want to scorch them.

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I usually picture creamy refried pintos when I'm thinking of beans on nachos, but for these Loaded Naan Nachos, I decided to add some extra crunch instead with spiced and roasted garbanzo beans. Immediately after baking the naan, I pop a can's worth of chickpeas in the oven that have been tossed in garam masala, paprika, salt, and olive oil. When they're crunchy and browned, they're ready. I find that they crisp up slightly better when the skins have been removed (which typically happens to most naturally when you dry them after their rinse) but it's not a necessary step if you're in a rush.

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To add in some fruitiness, I dice up some mango and mix it with more jalapeño, onion, garlic, and ginger. Half of it goes into an oiled frying pan to saute with ground lamb meat and spices. While you can switch out the lamb for beef or turkey, lamb is more common in Indian cooking and pairs better with the bold mango, strong spices, and mint chutney due to its hearty and mildly gamey flavor. Still, you may swap if you insist.

Because a nacho isn't complete without salsa, I use the remaining raw mango mixture as a salsa base. A bit of cilantro, lime juice, and rice wine vinegar finishes it off.

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Lastly, instead of sour cream, I opt for yogurt to better fit the Indian vibe. The best kind for this recipe is a thick strained Greek yogurt that won't sog up the chips once they're stacked.

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The aroma as the naan chips and toppings come together is more than enough to get your mouth watering. But the second you sink your teeth in, there will be no denying that there's a real contender in Indian ingredients for the best type of nacho. Don't just take my word for it, though. Make them yourself and you be the judge.