Sometimes I try and see what I can get away with in mixing up different ethnic foods. This dish however, is a recipe from my husband which I thought would be nice to feature. So we first look at Nachos. I haven’t yet met anyone in the United States or Canada, that hasn’t enjoyed a plate of hot nachos. It’s a Mexican dish that originally included tortilla chips topped with melted cheddar cheese and some type of pepper, usually jalapeño.
The story is that some wives of US military servicemen ventured into Mexico while on a leisurely shopping trip one day. They came upon a restaurant after it had closed, but the host, Ignacio “Nacho” Anaya, threw together something from the scant ingredients accessible at that time. He sliced up tortillas, melted some cheese on top of them. Mr. Ayana finished with the addition of pickled jalapeño’s – still a popular topping throughout Mexico, US, Canada, and I imagine maybe many other parts of the world. It’s Mr. Ignacio Anaya that foodies, happy hour venues and NFL party participants, have to thank. It’s a perfect meal that can be modified to the Nth degree with a variety of toppings! The twist brought to this dish consists of some classic Indian spices, each with distinct characteristics.
Garam masala, for example, is a mixture that contains a number of other spices: black/white peppercorns, nutmeg, mace, black and green cardamom shells, bay leaves and cloves. What adds a truly unique aspect to the masala is that these spices are roasted, just prior to being ground into the masala. Roasting seeds and husks prior to grinding them for use changes the flavor of the spice. It’s a practice I incorporate with cumin seeds regularly. Indian spices are well-known to create a delectable product when incorporated with lamb. Cilantro brings in a fresh angle from the garden, and the garlic adds a soft edge to the flavor.
Instead of cutting tortillas, we lightly toasted some corn tortilla chips. This is a great meal to prep and have ready in a cast-iron skillet, with shredded cheese drizzled on top. Just throw it in the oven about 20-25 minutes before needed. The skillet keeps the nachos warm and crispy, and the cheese soft and stringy! If you prefer to use a homemade cheese sauce, try the Spicy Swiss-Gruyere cheese sauce we always use!
- 2 serrano peppers (finely chopped)
- 2 cloves garlic (freshly crushed)
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1½ teaspoons garam masala
- 1¼ teaspoons black pepper
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground coriander
- ¼ teaspoon curry powder
- 2 teaspoons red pepper
- 1 teaspoon chili paste
- ¾ cups chopped cilantro (lightly packed)
- 1 pound of ground lamb (or your choice of ground meat)
- Mix together the peppers, garlic, chili paste and spices in a large mixing bowl.
- Add the lamb and mix in the spices thoroughly (about 5 minutes).
- Place the lamb into a hot skillet or pan and break apart into small pieces with a spatula.
- Cook the lamb until completely brown, and place the meat onto a tray covered with paper towels to absorb excess oils.
- Distribute the lamb evenly onto a lightly toasted bed of tortilla chips.
- Top the tortilla chips with a cheese sauce of your choice. If you use shredded cheese, a couple extra minutes in the oven after adding the cheese will help with melting.