Posted by: Rachael | March 9, 2010


While we like to eat nachos, and the kids like cooking them coz it’s such an easy-pie dinner, they do not yet fit into the category of “we cook this from scratch”. To achieve that goal, we need to learn how to make corn chips. Any ideas anyone? We’re good with cornmeal now…..maybe we could slice it thinly and bake or fry? Methinks a recipe might be better than sheer experimentation.

Nacons turn up in one of two varieties round here – with meat or without.
The without version has just red lentils for bulk, the meat sort has a bit of mince added (as well as the lentils). Rarely is there mince only.

For a dozen people we use 5C of lentils or 750g mince and 2C lentils.
A couple of onions, chopped
Lots of garlic, crushed
2 or 3 carrots, grated finely
Chillies for Africa, sliced finely
2T chilli powder
2t cumin seeds, ground
1t coriander seeds, ground
Small tin of tomato paste (120g?)
3 tins chopped tomatoes (or a couple of kilos fresh)
A couple of cups of beef or chicken stock if we have any – otherwise, water

When we can be bothered we fry up the spices first, then add the onions and garlic, then the mince, before adding everything else.
If we are in a hurry everything goes into the pot at once. 
We bring it to the boil and boil for about ten minutes before transferring it to our old faithful cooking bag and leaving it for at least an hour, but as long as all day if necessary.

Arrange corn chips on the plate
Spoon over sauce
Sprinkle on grated cheese
Dollop on sour cream
Throw around some nasturtium leave or shredded lettuce

Of course, you CAN bake it in the oven before adding the sour cream, or pop the chips covered with cheese in the oven before adding the sauce, but we tend not to, because quite simply, we are lazy cooks. And we try to conserve power.

Last week we ate nachos.
It was one of those busy nights when we were racing out to various meetings and so we did not stop to take a photo.
You’ll just have to imagine.

vego option



  1. Those are not really nachos, but you are Kiwis so I will forgive you. 😉 (No really, add in some black or refried beans instead of lentils and some guacamole and/or corn and I might change my mind! Will have to trust you on the legitimacy of your salsa as no idea how yours turns out.)

    As for how to make the chips, you can try to be healthy and bake them but usually they’re fried. Haven’t done it in an age though.

  2. mmm yum… we usually have them with chilli beans & salsa, or a quinoa mix (search for quinoa in my posts on tnn if you’re interested!) but we must try your lentil version too!!

  3. You can get a tortilla press to make tortillas. There are lots of youtube videos on how to make tortillas- I know of a couple of lovely Mexican grandmothers who make them by hand and they are perfect, but they’ve been making 30-100 tortillas a day for 50 years. People with smaller families seem to use a press.

    I use the press and then get a gigantic mess, but about every year or so I try again. 🙂 The nice thing is that even if you just end up with a lump of tortilla flour and water that got fried, it’s still tasty.

    Oh, and tortilla flour has lime in it, so it’s not strait cornmeal. I don’t know what effect that has on it, but it took me ages to find corn meal without lime for magmala out here.

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