Indian-ish Nachos With Cheddar, Black Beans and Chutney
These vegetarian nachos take their cues from paapdi or papri chaat, the spicy, tangy and sweet Indian snack of fried dough wafers piled with chickpeas, tomatoes, onions, yogurt and various chutneys. This take starts with standard nacho elements: tortilla chips, black beans and a healthy amount of bubbly, melted cheese. But the classic chaat pairing of spicy and verdant cilantro chutney with sweet and sour tamarind sauce provides another level of brightness and complexity. Don’t skip the chhonk, a sauce made of melted ghee, cumin seeds and red chile powder that is drizzled over the top of the nachos. It provides a rich finish and even more crunch.
- Serves: 6 persons
- 1large bunch fresh cilantro, leaves and tender stems roughly chopped (about 4 cups)
- 1small Indian green chile or serrano chile, stem removed and roughly chopped
- 2tablespoons fresh lime juice (from about 1 lime), plus more as needed
- ¼teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¾teaspoon kosher salt, plus more as needed
- 1(15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
- Kosher salt
- 1(8-ounce) bag white corn tortilla chips, preferably unsalted
- 1medium red onion, finely chopped
- 2medium Roma tomatoes, cored and finely chopped
- 4cups shredded sharp Cheddar cheese (about 1 pound)
- ¼cup store-bought tamarind sauce (or 1/4 cup date syrup or maple syrup whisked with 1 tablespoon lime juice)
- ¼cup ghee or olive oil
- 2tablespoons cumin seeds
- Pinch of red chile powder, such as ground cayenne
- Greek yogurt, for serving (optional)
Step 1Heat the oven to 425 degrees. Make the chutney: In a blender, combine the cilantro, green chile, lime juice, sugar and salt and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick to blend, add up to 3 tablespoons water, a tablespoon at a time, to get it going. Taste and adjust the salt and lime juice, if needed. Set aside.
Step 2In a medium bowl, lightly mash the beans with a fork (this is so they won’t roll off the chips), and season them with salt. On a foil-lined 13-by-18-inch sheet pan, arrange half the chips, followed by half the beans, onions, tomatoes and cheese (in that order). Repeat to make a second layer. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes on the highest rack of the oven, until the cheese is melted and bubbling.
Step 3While the nachos are in the oven, make the chhonk: In a small pan or a butter warmer over medium-high, heat the ghee. Once the ghee melts (or the oil begins to shimmer), add the cumin seeds and cook until they start to sputter and brown, about 15 seconds. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and stir in the red chile powder. Set aside.
Step 4Evenly drizzle the cilantro chutney and the tamarind sauce on top of the nachos, followed by the chhonk. Add a few dollops of the Greek yogurt, if using.