Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Navajo Fry Bread: TACOS

My love of Navajo tacos started some 25 years ago when a Navajo taco stand showed up at the Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds. Every year since then I would save up my change to buy their wonderful tacos and fry bread smothered in honey. On my trip to Moab, UT, I was able to order a Navajo taco. It did not meet my high expectations but that just motivated me to finally learn how to make fry bread. I think it takes a lot of practice to get the dough just right. The recipe below worked well on the first try, which says a lot, and I learned more about the history of Indian fry bread.

Navajo Fry Bread Recipe
by Cynthia Detterick-Pineda on What's Cooking America

Mix in medium sized bowl:
1 cup all purpose flour (go with the standard white stuff)
1/4 tsp salt
1 tbsp powdered milk (seriously, don't leave this out)
1 tsp baking powder

Pour 1/2 cup water over the dry ingredients. Mix with a fork until it forms a large ball that is well floured on the outside and sticky on the inside. I ended up adding a lot of extra flour and my dough was really sticky. Cut dough into 4 equal portions.

Heat 1 inch of vegetable oil in a large cast iron skillet. Flatten dough into round-ish 5 inch diameter cakes. This was the hardest part for me. I could not get the dough an even thickness and it was so sticky that the cooked fry bread had pointy peaks on it instead of being flat. It tasted perfect so I just need to work on how it looks.

As I remember you can eat this fry bread as a dessert or as a main course when you pile on beans, lettuce, tomato, and cheese. The other day I replaced the beans with spanish-style rice. The next recipe I will post is for vegetarian chili which freezes well and would be another good replacement for the beans.

The more traditional, in my opinion, way of eating dessert fry bread is to drizzle honey over the top and just tear pieces off with your fingers. Lately, I have seen it covered with powdered sugar.

photo credit: Navajo Taco with spanish-style rice by TEB

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