I had always wanted to try making Navajo Fry bread because I wanted to pay homage to the Native American tradition. I have a great respect for all tribal traditions as my great grandmother was Native (I was told Sioux, though I think if the location has an influence, she was probably Potawatomi or Miami). I have always been fascinated by what I have learned throughout the years about the practices of the Native American, from how they dressed to how they respected everything around them. For instance, when they made a kill, they would utilize everything from the carcass, from the entrails to the bones. There is a certain degree of spirituality to everything for them, cooking was not to be left out of this equation at all.
Fry Bread was borne out of pain and sorrow, and some people treat it as sacred. When I was cooking it earlier, I tried to keep that in mind and treat this with love and in the same respect. It isn't just a novelty experience for me, it really was a joy to me to do this and it really did affect me as a descendant of the Native American; I truly hope that I have done justice and given the proper respect to this. Here is an article I think would be beneficial for you to read if you are interested in the history of this food, it is far more eloquent than I can convey in my own words.
Right now, I feel like I am on my own spiritual journey... Food is a big part of it for me as I delve into the different parts of my heritage and family history. I have shared with you things that have directly influenced my life as a person. I have said time and time again that food is a universal language, that you can convey messages through the sharing and the fellowship. This is the reason I do these blog posts... I want to share this part of me with you.
As far as the recipe goes, I am not sure this one is the traditional recipe because the link above says there is yeast and sour milk included in the ingredients that were available at the time. I do recall being confused that there wasn't yeast involved in the recipe I did use, but it still turned out to taste really delicious and tender. I am sure the sour milk would have given it a flavor that it didn't have, however... But the recipe on that site is very close to the one I used, though mine had no milk involved at all.
Before I take this post any further with more food for thought, here is the recipe I used for my Fry Bread:
FRY BREAD RECIPE
Combine all of your dry ingredients into a mixing bowl...
You do not need to sift but it won't hurt any if you do.
Add your wet ingredients and mix well...
I used my floured hands because it's part of the experience, but you can use a utensil if you prefer... Mix well, but do not knead, to form a ball.
Cover the top of the bowl with a damp towel, the lid, cling film, or a plate...
and let it rest for two hours.
After it rests, prepare your area to roll the dough by dusting with flour...
dust your rolling pin as well. Pinch off golf ball sized sections and roll thinly.
Preheat your oil, you need enough to cover the top of the bread... I used an inch but recommended is two.
Fry your bread, flipping after about two or three minutes... Then let it drain on a cookie rack. Serve while still warm for the best experience.
You can put taco meat (pork or ground beef), tomatoes, and lettuce in the shell to make Indian Tacos. I can honestly say that this is now my favorite way to eat tacos as of yesterday. I do suggest that you eat the bread on it's own first because there is something really special about doing so.
FRIED BREAD: HOW IS IT DIFFERENT THAN FRY BREAD?
In searching for information about the history of the fried bread as opposed to fry bread, I ended up not finding very many links when I tried to Google. But I do know a few things about it from when I first made it, and I also asked some questions to my good friend, Becka, who helped me out with some of the information.
Fried Bread is a descendant of fry bread, yes, in tradition but not so much in method. While Fry bread is a flat bread that started from rations they were given during a time where they were being pushed from their lands, Fried Bread kind of evolved from this with a shared history but is more of a fried biscuit. Fried bread started, most likely, in the Appalachian mountains when the Natives took refuge with white settlers, so it is also based off of a rough history. We also know that fried bread was a staple during the Great Depression because of how easy it was to get the ingredients and how you can feed a lot of people with it.
The fried bread that I made several months ago was made with my drop biscuit recipe, but the traditional recipe is a lot simpler than that even. Here is a recipe I found today.
Fritters - Another Type of Fried Bread
Becka pointed out to me that I should not forget to talk about fritters, which is.... also a fried bread. Generally, a fritter has the same consistency as a drop biscuit with whatever chunks of leftover foods (corn, apples, zucchini, etc) they would eat and is served both sweet or savory. Corn fritters are made with maize or corn meal, while other fritters tend to be made with white or wheat flour, and they are either deep fried OR pan fried.
Corn is used a lot because it is indigenous to the Americas and the Natives had access exclusively to this plant before European explorers took it back to Europe with them. They would grind it up to make the corn meal (maize), and also use pieces of corn in their fritters. It is made with corn meal or flour these days, but the premise is still the same.
While I have not made fritters, I have eaten fritters plenty of times and I am happy to eat them occasionally (I try not to eat any of these foods often because of my blood sugar), and they are quite delicious. This is why we have an abundance of glazed apple fritters in bakeries across the United States.
Fritters are made throughout the world, of course, but I am not exactly sure where they first came from. However, the American Fritter is definitely laced with tradition as much as Fry Bread is and I think it should be respected in the same manner. Here is a recipe I found on Fritters, with some history about them, do check it out.
I had a lot of fun making this food, learning about the history of it and the other foods that stem from these. I hope that I have helped to bring some insight into this traditional food! Please do try making these and share them with your family and friends.
This is an ultimate food of love....
Enjoy, my foodie friends!
The Eccentric Foodie
Cooking bacon in the oven is the easiest way.
These are various recipes that either I created, or I found and adjusted to what I thought would be awesome or even healthier.