30 Nov Indian Fry Bread
Indian Fry Bread, also known as Navajo Fry Bread, originated when the United States forced Indians living in Arizona to make the 300-mile journey known as the ‘Long Walk’ or ‘The Trail of Tears’ to relocate to New Mexico. The land that they were designated couldn’t easily support their traditional staples of vegetables and beans. In order to prevent the indigenous populations from starving, they were given canned goods, white flour, processed sugar and lard. Some Native Americans consider fry bread as the story of their survival.
If you’ve been following me for a while, you’ll know how much I like history and the connection with food and traditions. I also love celebrating other cultures and their food and costumes. For this celebration I’ve chosen to share this special recipe with you.
November is the month of celebration and education of Native American Heritage, which originally began as a celebratory day in 1915. National Native American Heritage Month celebrates the culture and ancestry of Indigenous people, honouring their contributions and traditions to the American culture. President G.W. Bush reinstated the last Friday in November as Native American Heritage Day.
My first experience with Indian Fry Bread was in a summer cooking camp when we cook famous American street food. I had never tried it or heard of it, so tasting it with the children in the kitchen was a great experience! Fry or Navajo Bread appears to be nothing more than fried dough and it is revered by some as a symbol of Native American pride and unity.
Traditional Fry Bread is a flat dough bread, fried or deep-fried in oil, shortening, or lard. It’s made with simple ingredients, generally wheat flour, sugar, salt, and fat. This fry bread is so delicious! It’s crunchy on the outside, and soft and fluffy in the inside.
Let’s make it!
MAKES 8 – 10 BREADS
- 2 cups (300gr) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup (250ml) warm water
- 1 – 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- Light olive oil for frying
- Place flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl and mix well using a metal whisk.
- Add warm water slowly and stir using a wooden spoon just until the dough ingredients are combined. Over mixing can make the fry bread tough. This is a sticky dough, if it looks dry add 1 – 2 Tablespoons of water (one at a time).
- Pour 1 Tablespoon of olive oil over the dough and start kneading. Add the other Tablespoon of oil until you can grab the dough easily, do not overwork it.
- Let the dough rest for 30 minutes to 2 hours. You can also let it rest in the fridge overnight, taking it to room temperature before you’re ready to fry.
- Heat oil in a deep frying pan over medium heat until it shimmers. You’ll need at least 2cm (1”) of oil in the bottom of the pan.
- Divide the rested dough into 8 – 10 equal baseball size portions.
- Oil your hands and flatten the bread until you get discs of 1/4 inch thickness (aprox. 6cm). You can also roll the discs using a rolling pin.
- Using your fingers, poke a hole in the middle of each disc. This helps the dough to fry flat.
- Prepare a cooling rack over a tray covered with kitchen paper.
- Place dough disc in oil and cook until golden brown, for about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook opposite side for 1 to 2 extra minutes.
- Place fry bread on the prepared rack.
- Serve warm with powdered (Icing) sugar or honey. In my organic kitchen we like them with lemon and sugar, yum!
Indian Fry Bread can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Indian fry bread can also be made into ‘Navajo tacos’. Top with your favourite meat, fish, vegetables, pico de Gallo, shredded lettuce, cheese and use the bread instead of tortillas. The Navajo Taco was voted the State Dish of Arizona in a 1995.
Here is an idea for your next Tuesday Taco: try making your own Navajo Tacos with my ‘Chile con Carmen’ recipe from my cookbook ‘Traditionally Rustic Food’ (use the link below to order your copy) and topped them with ‘Simple Guacamole’ (page 72), pico de Gallo & grated cheese.
Is your mouth watering?
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Leave your comments and or questions, if you have any. I’m always happy to help ☺
EAT WELL AND BE HAPPY!