Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Navajo Fry Bread




Several years ago, I read a few of Tony Hillerman's mysteries, set on the vast Navajo Indian Reservation, featuring the legendary detective Joe Leaphorn and the younger and impetuous tribal police lieutenant Jim Chee. I loved reading the descriptions of the American Southwest landscape and about the customs of the Navajo.

Of course my interest is always piqued when novels contain passages about cooking, eating, and food. In the Hillerman books, Navajo Fry Bread was talked about frequently and almost became a character itself in my mind.

I tried my hand at making it but it was a terrible flop.

Currently, I am reading The Round House by Louise Erdrich, an author who chronicles life on the Objibwe Reservation in North Dakota. Once again fry bread is featured.

I decided to try again; this time with better results. This is probably not traditional at all, and I would welcome a recipe that is. I used baking powder for rise and a small amount of yeast for taste. A great boost in flavor, and probably more traditional, would come from frying in animal fat. I didn't have lard so I used peanut oil, which is quite flavorful.




Navajo Fry Bread
2 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. yeast
1 tsp. salt
3/4 cup warm milk
1 Tbsp. melted butter

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, yeast, and salt. Stir in the milk and butter until well blended and a stiff dough forms. Add a little more milk, if needed. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest for about 30 minutes.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Divide the dough into 12 balls. Roll each ball into a 6-inch diameter circle.

Heat about 1 inch of oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the flattened dough circles flipping with tongs until well browned on each side. Drain on paper towels.

Serve the breads with soups or salads. Great to use for tacos. I made breakfast tacos with spinach scrambled eggs topped with cheese, salsa, and sour cream.




8 comments:

  1. Oh my, that looks so good! I'll definitely be trying this recipe...I love the idea of having breakfast tacos, too.

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    1. Thank you Cheryl. These were very good; please let me know if you try the recipe. Thank you for your comment. --Rocquie

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  2. Your bread looks so crispy! I really like the idea of a "taco" made from the fry bread.

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    1. Melynda, these breads turned out light and crispy. We ate them with tacos and also ate some with jam. I know how you are about rolling things out but I'm sure they would be just fine patted out by hand. ;-) Thank you for your comment.

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  3. I've heard of fry bread but have never seen it, much less made it. It sounds delish! And yours is so nicely browned. Really fun recipe -- thanks.

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    1. Now that you mention it, John. . .I've never seen it either! Only in my mind from reading about it. It was a fun recipe to make, and tasty too. Thank you for the comment.

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  4. i live in the southwestern desert / hopi and navaho reservations all around / lots of fry bread / yours looks good / i like the crispiness of it / but i must say it is the whiteman's or woman's idea of fry bread / smile

    speakina Tony Hillerman i see his daughter is now writing the Chee.Leaphorn books

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    1. skaterina, I would love to experience authentic fry bread! I did see that Ann Hillerman is writing the books now. Thank you for your visit and for taking the time to comment. --Rocquie

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