Nothing beats homemade taco chips. There are all sorts of techniques out there for making them, but I think this is the best, even if it means that they’re fried and less healthy than an oven baked. Some things in life just don’t need to be healthy. Nachos is one of those things. I mean, if you want healthy stuff, nachos with taco chips is not something that should be on your “okay to eat” list. However, for those of us that don’t mind indulging – and I’m not talking about to excess – a serving of fresh fried taco chips once in awhile will not kill us. It just means you should probably seek out healthier alternatives like 93% fat free turkey or shredded chicken as your meat of choice instead of fatty, greasy ground beef.
Mom has been making nachos from scratch for years. As with anything she makes, I don’t know where she got the idea from. Was it a family member that told her how to do it? Something she randomly came up with and tried because she’s far more fearless than her daughter? Did a magazine tell her to do it? There’s far too many recipes to ask her about, so we’ll just leave this as a family recipe, with props and kudos to anyone else who does this, too.
As of late, when I make nachos, I get to use my wonderful little fryer. Before then, it was a pot filled with oil. Which, let me tell you, if you’ve never tried it, don’t. Save yourself the random sputtering oil all over the place and possibly burned limbs. It is not fun and the clean up is not worth the food. Yes. I said it. No amount of delicious food is worth cleaning up awful oil splats from all over the kitchen, including places you didn’t think shooting oil could reach. At least with the fryer, it’s all self contained and the only clean up is when I accidentally dribble oil moving the chips to their final resting place. That’s far easier to wipe up with some hot soapy water and call a day.
Below is a variety of images from the entire nachos making process, including pre-frying, post-frying, and the finished product.
Cutting up the corn tortillas in to 6 even (more or less) triangles.
Stacks of cut corn tortillas.
The T-Fal fryer and my paper towel lined pan waiting for the tortillas. Using paper towels or paper bags is a great way to soak up lingering oil from the chips, and also collect salt that gets sprinkled on the finished chips but doesn’t stick. Half way through the drying process, you can scoop up the remnant salt and reuse it.
A whole pile of fried taco chips lightly dusted with coarse kosher salt.
Getting one step closer to a finished product. Beef, corn, black beans, red bell peppers, and a mix of pepperjack and sharp white cheddar cheeses.
The finished product, ready for consumption. Added lettuce and homemade hot sauce.
source: family recipe
30 small corn tortillas (makes 180 chips)
1 pound ground beef
1) To fry the taco chips, cut each round in to 6 fairly uniform triangles. Refer to photograph 1. Cut the tortillas in a large stack to expedite the process!
2) In a fry-daddy, heat oil to approximately 375°. Add about 12-15 tortillas to the fry basket and submerge in the oil. It takes my deep fryer about 8 minutes to get to the right crispness without any chewy centers. Stir the tortillas slightly in the beginning to make sure none are sticking together, and flip half way through. Despite being submerged in the oil, they do float, and they do end up only being fried on one side without a flip. The chips will continue to cook once removed from the hot oil, but only for a minute or so. They should be the color of beach sand [or like this, hex code F2D79B].
3) Set out the taco chips on a paper towel or brown paper bag lined surface (baking sheets or cake pans are great) and sprinkle salt on top of the hot chips. Repeat for each batch of chips until you reach your frying baking point.
4) Assemble nachos as you see fit using whatever meat (if any), cheese, veggies, etc. The rest is a no-brainer.
To make some wicked hot sauce, blend one can of whole/diced tomatoes in to a puree, adding jalapeno slices, salt, and pepper to taste. It’s plain, it’s simple, it’s delicious, and has the ability to knock your socks off when paired with these nachos.