09 August 2012

Thai Chicken Nachos

You know what they say about great minds thinking alike?  Even more true when you're married.  This dish absolutely the best disparate yet tag-team cooking act that has come out of our kitchen.  One brings the idea, the other executes.  That's what marriage is all about for a couple of foodies.

Everyone knows Thai chicken pizza.  And to know this dish is to love it.  Creamy peanut sauce, tender chicken, fresh veggies and crunchy peanuts are all so very lovable.  Just throw it all together on a crust, bind it with a bit of cheese and voila, delicious Thai flavors served up Italian style.  But why stop at Italy?  Why not sail away to South America and mix it up with Mexico?  Hence, the Thai Chicken Nacho was born.

Why did we never think of this before?  Not only do you have the bangarang flavors of Thai cuisine, but you have the extra crunch of a tortilla chip, far crunchier than than even the crispiest of crusts can provide.  Even if you're a thick crust kinda person, you have to give a nod this portable, popable bite that bow down to the topping.  No muddying this flavor up with chewy dough or lots of noodles....this quick and healthy dinner is all about that glorious peanut chicken.

Now a regular tortilla chip will do excellently for this dish.  But I must state for the record that the falafel chip is far superior.  In my slightly biased, chickpea-loving opinion, of course.  Trader Joe's carries an awesome brand that you can pick up for cheap.  They have a distinctly hummus-y flavor that really works well with the Thai flavor profile.  If you can find them, definitely give them a try.

No nacho is complete without cheese.  It's the necessarily delicious glue that holds all the flavors together.  But these are healthy weekday nachos, not those guilty Saturday bar nachos.  Minimal cheese helps to bind all the good-for-you chicken, vegetables and peanuts together while avoiding a dip in the shallow end of the grease pool.  Sure, you could toss an extra half cup or so on top if you're a huge cheese fan, but the flavor here is so good it would seem sad to override that with too much dairy.  

As I'm sure you've noted, we prepare our nachos Alton Brown style - loading each individual chip with topping rather than the popular dump and sprinkle method.  Less bread, more toppings (a universally good rule when it comes to food).  And for the easiest side dish ever, simply throw the extra bits of toppings on top of a bowl of spinach and voila, Thai side salad.  Gotta love a quick and easy salad!

Thai Chicken Nachos (2 servings)
  • 25-30 falafel or tortilla chips
  • 4 chicken tenders (about 1 1/2 chicken breasts)
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1/4 bunch cilantro
  • 2 green onions
  • 1 jalapeno
  • 1/2 c unsalted peanuts
  • 1/2 c Peanut Sauce
  • 1 c reduced fat monterey jack or Mexican blend cheese
Grill your chicken tenders until just done over medium high heat.  Remove to a cutting board and let cool slightly.  While the chicken cools, prepare your vegetables on a second cutting board.  Grate the carrot, chop the cilantro and green onions and finely dice the jalapeno (remove the membrane and seeds prior to dicing the jalapeno for a milder flavor).  Break the peanuts into small pieces using a mortar and pestle, or the side of a large knife.

When the chicken in cool enough to handle, dice into small pieces.  Place in a small bowl and add the peanut sauce.  Stir together until chicken is well coated.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  To assemble nachos, lay the chips on a baking sheet, lining with parchment paper if you have it.  Top each chip with carrots, then place a small amount of the peanut chicken on the carrots.  Garnish each chip with diced jalapeno, cilantro and peanuts, then sprinkle with cheese.  Bake for 5 minutes, then remove and serve.  Garnish with green onions and a smile.

Bake nachos for 

No comments:

Post a Comment